Monday, February 22, 2010

Live Blogging Olympic Music : Coeur de Pirate & Great Lake Swimmers

February 21, 2010

La Maison du Quebec and Ontario Pavilion sure have stellar musical line-ups despite their horrible lack of getting the word out. Quebec House featured acts such as Malajube, Les Trois Accords and last night's Coeur de Pirate, while Ontario Pavilion rivaled with acts such as the Arkells, Broken Social Scene, and last night's Great Lake Swimmers. It's clear that whomever the artistic coordinators are deserves great kudos. The vast talent of central Canada is further displayed via the Ontario House soundtrack, which featured the likes of Jill Barber and Jason Collett.

Where they differed, however, were the line-ups out the doors. Ontario Pavilion always had at least hour-long trails of people out its doors, as well as a separate line-up for its 4D theatre. Quebec House, in contrast, saw a steady flow of people in and out of its white cube, save for during performances. This meant some finessing when going from show to show; thankfully, they were within 2 minutes walk from one another within the larger Concord Pacific Place, which worked out very well when I went from Coeur de Pirate's set to that of Great Lake Swimmers'.

I try to keep commenting of artists' appearances to a minimum unless it adds in some way to the performance, but it's safe to say that Beatrice Martin, aka. Coeur de Pirate, is a very worthy winner of the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award for Sexiest Musician. A petite blonde coming in at a similarly petite 20 years old, Montreal's CdP dazzled the forlorn Canadian hockey crowd after a 5-3 loss to the US hockey team.

It's tough coming on stage right after a deflating game, but the sweet piano melodies and charming voice of Martin soon had the audience rapt and grinning. She also encouraged spirits by bantering in both English and French, frequently commenting how she loved it when we clapped to her songs-- before, during and after. She wrapped up her lovely set with 3 gems-- a cover of fellow Montrealers Malajube, the big hit "Comme des enfants" and a cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella." Yes, you heard me right. The latter song got an energetic kick as a piano ballad, complete with an adorable french accent. Coeur de Pirate ended by informing us that she was doing another set at 8pm, which was a short 15 minutes later. Although I didn't stay for that set, I'm sure many others got to enjoy her once more.

A somewhat unrelated note: Martin seems to like writing in 3/4 time, which is good news for all you waltz dancers out there.

For the complete Coeur de Pirate photo set, visit my Flickr.

After waiting a short while in line for Ontario Pavilion, I was soon within its reddish-glow bounds waiting for Toronto's Great Lake Swimmers. The crowd was considerably more low key than for Broken Social Scene the night before. Unfortunately, I was standing in between two people who seemed to enjoy their self-proclaimed favourite band by talking loudly through the set. Of course, when security escorted them away from the front, there was a collective sigh of relief.

Outside of some problems with feedback during opening track "She Comes to Me in Dreams," Great Lake Swimmers was as usual-- wonderful, incredibly tight, with Tony Dekker's voice soaring quietly above the beautiful instrumentation of his bandmates. Miranda Mulholland once again joined the Swimmers and, decked in an "I <3 Parkdale" shirt, proved to be a favourite with the audience. Not only that, judging by the time that the spotlight person and cameramen graced her with their attention, the technical crew saw a star in the redhead as well.

After a set representing their entire discography, Great Lake Swimmers were cheered back on stage for an encore, which was not even granted to the rowdy Broken Social Scene crowd of the night before. They obliged by covering Neil Young's "Harvest," and closing off the night with a lullaby "Concrete Heart."

All in all, a great concert, although lacking somewhat in the intimacy that made the show a month ago at the Vogue Theatre so unforgettable.

Here's the set list for the show:

For the complete Great Lake Swimmers photo set, visit my Flickr.