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Music

Photo Recap: Sarah Slean at La Sala Rossa

Posted by Amie / December 9, 2011

Sarah Slean MontrealLast night Sarah Slean took over La Sala Rossa with the pop version of her back-up band. "J'adore Montreal," she cooed to the crowd in a theatrical French accent. Actually she cooed theatrically all evening, not just when expressing how much she loved the city. While the show was a pretty good representation of the pop side of her recently released double album Land & Sea (half pop tunes and half lush, orchestral numbers), it was worth seeing her live to hear her story-length imaginings/meanderings/introductions to each song. Over the course of the evening the audience traveled from cocktails parties, to highschool where girls bicker too much, to a Parisian balcony staring at the stars that decorated the sky as though "God had spilled the salt."

Slean apologized for not playing much off the Sea (orchestral) side of the new album, explaining that it's hard to travel with twenty or so string players. Forgiven. The whole evening was light and fun, a solo theatre show for Slean where she acted and joked, and directed the intrigue. I'll admit I kind of watched her with a mix of fascination and confusion as she tried to appeal to the mixed crowd of young and slightly older Montrealers made up of fans of her newer songs and those who just remembered her from previous popular albums.

Sarah Slean, Montreal, la sala rossaI remember seeing her music videos on MuchMusic back in the day and thinking they were so imaginative and wonderful and strange. Turns out it's not just in the videos. The strange part overflows into the show, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Slean started with "Life", my favourite track off the new album. There's something so addictive about how the chorus comes in from nothing and hits so hard. Slean is a master of dynamics, taking all that theatricality into the music where it works well. And the first thing you notice is how amazing five people on stage can sound. Shout out to the Sala Rossa sound guys. And Slean and her backing vocalist/multi-instrumentalist, Karen Kosowski, are so together that sometimes I didn't know who was who. Simple, pure harmonies above the instruments with none of the breathy singer/songwriter stereotype.

Sarah Slean, Montreal, la sala rossa"Set It Free" was toe-tapping, and so was "I am a Light". Actually, so was everything else. I don't think she played anything slow until near the end. "Amen" was a nice contrast, but not as strangely addictive as the carnival-esque style of her faster pop tunes.

Sarah Slean MontrealSo I'm glad that after hearing her music for so long I can finally put a personality to the albums. Now I'll listen and think of the sort of the sort of woman who spends a whole lot of time thinking, figuring things out, and then writing music about it, giving extremely long, bizarre, sort of helpful introductions based on her thought processes, using her long, expressive fingers to unwind the meaning of her words, and turning a serious love story into a childish, playful joke with her bright, look-straight-through-you eyes.

Photo credits: Sadly, me. In the future I will endeavor to take better photos. So sorry.

Discussion

10 Comments

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