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Watsonmania @ Métropolis, Dec. 16

Posted by Gabby / December 17, 2009

patwat_121709.jpgLast night, I made my way through one of the thickest crowds I have ever found myself in. Why? Patrick Watson, Montreal's indie-rock darling, was performing at the Metropolis, in a sold-out show where over 2,000 people were waiting to witness the magic. Now performing as Patrick Watson & The Wooden Arms, the band was a smash hit at this summer's Jazz Fest. Their new album, "Wooden Arms" is still making waves.

The opening act was Basia Bulat, a Toronto siren whose powerful voice I had never heard before. Her folk-rock sound was decidedly fun and upbeat, and she had great energy.

When the time came for Watson and his Wooden Arms to take over, they teased the crowd with epic classical music (some of which I recognized from Disney's Fantasia) for about 15 minutes., Finally the lights went off, a curtain was drawn across the stage, and a video of a man in a suit on fire was projected onto it.

The show started with the first three songs of Watson's new album "Wooden Arms", and right away, I could tell why people love him so much. His soft yet rich voice is enchanting, but the real magic resides in the gorgeous atmospheres created on stage. When they started on songs from their 2006 album Close to Paradise, like "Great Escape" and the amazing "Drifters", it was like the entire audience was holding its breath.

Backed by a lovely string quartet and flanked by his band, Watson was excited and maybe a little drunk. He entertained the crowd like a hyperactive stand-up comedian. Heads up: the man speaks French. In fact, he kept translating everything he said from English to French. "I need subtitles on the screen, with bouncing balls," he stated.

Watson performed the encore in the middle of the crowd, saddled with a strange light machine that shone its beams right into people's faces, accompanied by an acoustic guitar and his string quartet. He begged the crowd to sing along with him, and so they did. Halfway through "Man Under Sea", he jumped back on the stage, performing the remainder of the song with the full band.

The last song was a new one, titled "Underneath my Sheets" if I heard correctly. It's dreamy with a touch of insanity and a lot of lovely melodies - definitely something to look forward to.

Picture taken from Patrick Watson & The Wooden Arms' MySpace page.

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