Dangereens + Barry Paquin Roberge @ Le Cactus

January 12, 2017

There is no doubt that 2016 was a hard year for music fans everywhere, but in Montreal the closing of L'escogriffe after their annual New Year's Eve show, for four months of renovations, was one final kick in the nuts to the local music scene from the year that tried to kill music. Luckily for us, the good people behind the music at L'esco have moved shop, one door over and one floor up, to Le Cactus, so the music doesn't have to stop. Le Cactus proved to be a perfect temporary replacement for the cozy confines of our beloved subterranean spot. With a couple of sofas framing the small dance floor and small makeshift stage, the room had the feel of a house venue and the perfect place to start 2017 off on the right foot with two of Montreal's newest bands.

First up was the premier of Dangereens, with the disco ball throwing light around the room, they launched into a full throttle, power pop rock and roll set that would have Alex Chilton and Marc Bolan dancing in their graves. The fact that this was their first live gig was incredible and made me wonder if they were playing cover songs, but speaking with frontman Hugo Chartrand afterwards, he confirmed that they were are all originals. Anyone who saw his previous band, Loose Pistons, will tell you that Chartrand always had star quality, and now he has formed the band that allows him to fully express it. It also seems that he has found his musical soulmate in Félix Brisson, an incredible guitar player who slipped in soulful yet virtuoso solos into every song without ever sounding indulgent or wanky. Throw in a thumping rhythm section of Dusty Myles (bass) and Yan Berthiaume (drm), and you have the makings of a band that is about to blow up on a much larger scale than the stage they graced tonight. With their first single about to drop, expect to hear from them very soon and often.

Next up was another relatively new band, Barry Paquin Roberge. Formed out of the ashes of Buddy McNeil & The Magic Mirrors and playing only their 10th gig, their blend of glammy-disco-jazz-rock-fusion quickly got the dance floor moving. If that description sounds odd it is because this is a band that has a sound that is hard to describe, if I had to put a different label on it would probably be better to simply call it sexy music. Fronted by the two-headed beast of Alexis Roberge (gtr/voc) and Etienne Barry (key/voc), they led the crowd through a list of songs that touched on many genres, from Steely Dan-esque jazz-rock to '60s bubble-gum pop to keyboard driven space-rock interludes, but it never sounded disjointed. BPR sounds like a band of musicians who love many styles of music and know how to honour them all. With one single out, Pawnshop Bargain, and a debut album on the way, this is another band set to make some big waves in the music scene, both locally and beyond, and I can't wait to go along for the ride. If you are lucky enough to get a chance to see them, do yourself a favour and go.

After the bands were done, the in-house DJ decided to play T.Rex's Electric Warrior in its entirety, which to me was the perfect way to end the night.

Next shows:

Dangereens w/ Monogamy and 3 Dead Gremmies, Jan 21, 2017 @ Brasserie Beaubien

Barry Paquin Roberge w/ Les Breastfeeders and Penny Diving, Feb 2, 2017 @ Matahari Loft



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