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Little Scream and The Dears @ St. James Church

Posted by Olivier / February 4, 2009

Saturday's fundraiser for the Every Kid Choir at St. James Church was one of those unique evenings where everything seems a little off, but in a good way. First, there was the fact that we were in a church, on a Saturday night, for a rock concert. I half-expected a social in the basement afterwards. Then there was the Every Kid Choir performing with The Dears for their opening song, as Dears frontman Murray Lightburn emerged from one of the middle pews where he had been sitting incognito.

This showmanship continued throughout the show, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the venue. The Dears came to play rock and roll, and any expectations that this would be a mellow show were put to rest for good when an apparently intoxicated concertgoer lit up a joint in the front pew and started to yell things about Pony Up at the band (Pony Up being the all-women Montreal band which Lightburn raided to replace his ever-revolving cast of supporting musicians). That man was promptly dragged yelling down the aisles of the church by security, interrupting what was supposed to be a heartwarming song about Lightburn and wife/keyboardist Nathalie Yanchak's young child.

littlescream1.jpgBut the most unexpected part of the evening was opener Little Scream's arresting set. Her vocals are mesmerizing and raw, performed with an intimacy that is almost embarrassing, as though you were eavesdropping on someone else's deeply personal conversation. Her sound is complex and difficult to pigeonhole, thought it has shades of both classic rock and something more melancholic. The church was a good venue for music that sometimes feels otherwordly, with Little Scream seemingly trying to exorcise the sound of a five-piece band through the sole guitar she carried onstage. With foot-banging against the stage, she occasionally managed to create the fuller sound she's looking for, but I wonder if in the near future she won't be accompanied by some supporting musicians. In any case, it is clear she has a gift for writing music, and Montrealers should look out for her next gig. On a night where nothing was ordinary, Little Scream was the nicest surprise.

Photo of The Dears from flickr user Sarah Sevenson; Photo of Little Scream from artist



Sarah / February 4, 2009 at 05:35 pm
I love that place as a concert venue.
It's a magical spot for musicians who know how to play with the peculiar acoustics.
Stephane / February 5, 2009 at 11:58 am
I was not convinced about Little Scream. It felt like it wasen't meant to be seen, like it was a private session with her in front of a mirror. It kind of got me uneasy at first, and then doubtful that I was liking any part of it.

The girl's talented, no doubt. But it was way too raw, in my opinion.

I didn't get what the 'dragged-out' guy was yelling, thanks for the queue, it makes a little bit sense, altough the smell of his joint plus the whole 'drag-out' part was kind of surreal in St-James.

Overall, great show ...
Sean / February 20, 2009 at 07:32 pm
This was one of the best shows I've been to, but to be honest it didn't look to good until the Dears got on stage. I didn't like Little Scream much. Others seemed to like her though, so that's good. I just couldn't look at her while she was singing because I would laugh.

Anyways, great show.
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