Bonjour Brumaire at Les FrancoFolies
On Friday, July 31st, I hastily climbed a top a Bixi bike and feverishly sped my way down the St. Urbain slope towards Place-des-Arts, just in time to catch Montreal's own Bonjour Brumaire play their unique, whimsical brand of indie rock at Les FrancoFolies.
Turns out, Bonjour Brumaire were also slightly rushed, as they were only contacted Wednesday night to play the set. However, the band gladly welcomed the opportunity to participate in this year's festival.
"(Les FrancoFolies) sent an email to our booker because a band cancelled," said lead guitarist Nathan Howard. "We had not been originally booked to play Les FrancoFolies, partially because we are recording a new album, and partially because we played last year."
One of the things I enjoy most about these kinds of festivals is the extreme crowd diversity they offer, since many of the shows are free. During Bonjour Brumaire's set, people casually wove in and out of the audience, but I noticed that many of them, clearly unfamiliar with Bonjour Brumaire, inquisitively cranked their heads towards the stage and stopped to watch and listen.
The crowd was composed of young and old; veteran, devoted fans wearing Bonjour Brumaire t-shirts huddled at the front of the stage, and passersby scattered throughout, curiously finding themselves bobbing along to the tunes. It was particularly heartwarming to see a father smiling and swaying along with his young son to the music. So, despite the fact that Bonjour Brumaire was booked relatively last minute, they managed to secure an ample audience and more importantly, new, unexpected fans.
Bonjour Brumaire opened their set with a new song called "Atty," which Howard asserts is their best song to date, as well as his personal favorite. Along with "Atty," the audience was treated to several other new songs.
I was personally struck by "Faute de grives," which has a very rapid succession of guitar notes reminiscent of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee." This song feels fuller and more layered in comparison to Bonjour Brumaire's previous work, and is clearly challenging to execute due to its dynamic changes in pace and intricate melodies. In short, "Faute de grives" truly exhibits the band's creative and technical growth between albums.
Bonjour Brumaire's set also featured several fan-favorites, including "Brooklyn," their first single off De La Nature Des Foules. They also performed "Prunelle," and "L'insouciance ne s'improvise pas," two other hits off their debut album.
Bonjour Brumaire, overall, played a very tight set, despite their enegery level being a bit sub-par in comparison to some of their past performances I've seen. However, this could be due to their rushed insertion into the festival, as well as the fact that they had to closely follow their set with a performance at Foufounes Ã‰lectriques. Although the band had a jam-packed day (pun!), they graciously thanked the audience in attendance during their wrap-up.
"Since you've been so patient, you have a right to hear our last song," joked singer Youri Zaragoza. "Thank you for being here."
Bonjour Brumaire is currently working on their second studio album and will begin recording in September.
"This album is going to be more concise," said Howard. "We will try to discern a purpose for each song and follow it."
Image from Bonjour Brumaire's MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/bonjourbrumaire