High Five @ Vice & Versa, January 22nd 2017

I’m loving these Sunday evening 5 à 7 performances at Vice & Versa, a cute brick and wood-trim resto-brewery in Little Italy serving innumerable craft beers on keg and gourmet burgers, slaw, and the like. I enjoyed a wonderful pulled-pork poutine and a few exquisite white beers, surrounded by familiar smiling faces and good tunes.

High Five, Matt LeGroulx’s Balinese rhythm-inspired pop project, quietly took stage as the conversational bustle of the room hushed to a murmur. Throughout the show, Maestro LeGroulx would lay down the rhythm on any one of the many instruments, and in would come the band. Maintaining relatively simple pop structures, a bespectacled man on acoustic guitar picked and strummed expected chords while Michał Langiewicz (CJLO’s very own) kept the beat with his slick brush-style snare rattles and taps. To convey the Balinese-inspired rhythms, a bass duo plucked incredibly intricate arrangements, entirely filling each other’s empty spaces. The result is vividly lush melodic rumble bouncing around the room and in your head.

The band would get lost in trance maintaining these loops, and on this LeGroulx would layer all sorts of complementary voicings. His talk-singing vocals established catchy melodic theme, often lyrically observing the mundane and everyday, like “Taking Out the Trash,” or else finding footing in surreal poetics. LeGroulx would further explore these harmonic themes through a wailing saxophone, the knob-cranking bleeps and bloops of the synthesizer, and Zappa-esque guitar solos wet with chorus. He effortlessly hopped from one instrument to the next, and even played sax and synth simultaneously, leaving the crowd impressed, to say the least. The songs would roll along steadily like a locomotive while LeGroulx stoked the fire and let off steam (I don’t really know how trains work). A tilt of his instrument at hand acted as a visual cue, and on a dime, the band would stop, leaving a startlingly abrupt silence after such momentum.

After the show, I paid my tab and split well before any sane person’s bedtime. We need more places like this around town! Food and concerts mix ever so well as fas as I’m concerned. I guess they call it dinner and a show.