The Melting Pot @ Cabaret La Tulipe

By Katie S - Wrong Side of the Bed - 06/10/05

On what was most definitely the hottest night Montreal has seen in a long time,played a spectacular show at Cabaret La Tulipe while drenched in sweat and wearing what would quickly become a see-through dress. Returning to the city a little less than two months after her latest local show, Wainwright pulled off a strong set composed of almost every song she has ever recorded, in addition to many covers of classic folk and jazz songs.

This is the third or fourth time that I have seen Martha Wainwright live, whether performing solo or singing back-up for her brother Rufus Wainwright. Every time I see her, I am further blown away by her haunting voice, honest lyrics and eloquent music. She is the kind of artist that I have a great appreciation for and who is always incredible live, yet when she released her debut self-titled full-length album, it took me a while to get into it. I seem to commonly feel this way about both her and her brother. However, once I see them both perform the songs live, I tend to fall in love. The same was true for the show at La Tulipe. I haven’t taken the album out of my CD player since then. What I love the most about Martha is her ability to entertain the crowd both during and in between the songs. While tuning her guitar, she keeps everyone enthralled with witty banter in between requests for margaritas. Her sarcasm adds to her charm and I’m certain it made everyone fall even more in love with her. The applause only got louder and louder as the night progressed.

Perhaps the only disappointment of the evening came from the absence of her Mother, Kate McGarrigle. Both Martha and Rufus have a tradition of performing duets with their mother towards the end of the show. She plays the piano, accompanying them while they sing—usually the same song that I believe is by Edith Piaf. In any case, her plane was delayed coming home from Europe and she missed the show, which seemed to be a big disappointment equally for Martha and for the crowd that is familiar with this routine.

The highlight of the evening, by far, was the performance of “Bye Bye Black Bird” and Cole Porter’s “C’est Magnifique” accompanied only by piano, as well as her cover of “Tower of Song” by Leonard Cohen. While “Bye Bye Black Bird” comes off of her Factory EP, the other two covers were welcomed additions to her repertoire. All in all, the show was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it and judging by the crowd’s reaction, I believe that everyone else did as well.

[Tune in to Wrong Side of the Bed Sundays at noon only on CJLO]