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Elvis Perkins in Dearland @ Il Motore last night

Posted by Sarah / April 28, 2009

Elvis Perkins in Dreamland.jpgHave you guys noticed how there's no spring in Montreal? Just winter, then summer. This is a show review, but I take the opportunity to wish you all a happy summer! What's most fantastic about this time of year is without a doubt the fact that it's the high point for all you show lovers out there. Maybe you're a student like me and feel like you're coming out of a long social coma after all of the exams and papers. To celebrate the arrival of the season, I went to check out Elvis Perkins in Dearland at Il Motore last night. Unfortunately, I got there a little late. It's a real shame considering how great it was for what I actually saw.

Elvis Perkins.jpgA friend of mine told me about this artist a while back while I was in Moncton. I hadn't gotten the chance to really listen to his older record I had (Ash Wednesday) until yesterday. Honestly, I had to listen to it at least 5 times to truly understand how great it was. With that I figured it'd be a nice show, but I certainly didn't expect to walk into a festive packed venue last night. Clearly, I'm the only one who wasn't aware of this guy's greatness (if that's also the case for you, do yourself a favor and pick up his record).

Perkins has a lovely voice and a particular way to shape his vocals. It's a bit throaty but masterfully controlled and vibrating with a certain lightness that strays for any annoyance this may cause. Though the style certainly isn't the same, he sort of reminds me of Jeff Buckley, minus all of the defunct's heart tearing grace. Perkins' music is passionate, but definitely not shadowed by a deep sadness, hence the style difference between the two. His music is sometimes groovy, sometimes festive, sometimes softer. It's very original and interesting to hear. Overall, it's more on the side of Folk-Rock, but with many influences blending into the ordeal.

I'm always a bit uneasy about Folk-Rock shows. I mean it is the type of music I tend to like the most, but as far as live performances go, it usually translates to more stripped down versions of what you'll hear on the records. That being said, it's not necessarily a bad thing, but it takes one heck of a musician to satisfy a public under such circumstances. Since Ash Wednesday, Perkins has taken on the fellowship of Dearland, an excellent group of musicians as well, who spice up the great songwriting with a lot of musically intelligent additions. The result of this is a music that appears to be heavily influenced by the soulful tones of the southern states. While incorporating a variety of sounds and horn instruments as well as superb backup vocals, the show was festive and ended with a carnivalesque song where musicians spilled out of the stage and into the crowd of enthusiastic fans. It felt sort of like a Mardis Gras ending, which left me wanting more.

I'm still terribly sad that I didn't get to see the whole thing. Would it really be so hard for venues like Il Motore to clearly announce the starting time of their concerts on their website? Sometimes I get there at 9:30 and I'm there way too early, and others I get there at 10:30 and miss most of the show. Perhaps it was announced and I just missed it since a roomful of people clearly didn't make the same mistake I did.



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