I didn’t know much about Conan Gray when I took the review for his show. The majority of my friends were going, and I trust their taste in music, so I thought; “why not?”
I do not regret my decision. The whole night was extremely enjoyable, and I was reminded of countless positive memories throughout the entire show.
GIRL IN RED
To start off on the best foot possible, young songwriter Marie Ulven from Norway, aka Girl in Red, unveiled the show with a song off her EP “Chapter 1” called “4 am.” The crowd instantly took it in, jumping along to her soft-spoken lyrics about struggling to sleep when there are too many thoughts in your head. She powered through sound issues with her guitar, and encouraged the crowd to dance along with her. There was an instant connection between Girl in Red and L’Astral.
While said sound issues were being handled, she spoke to the crowd, telling us how she thinks it’s so cool that we all speak French. It seemed like there were quite a number of people that were familiar with her. People were telling her they loved her and asked her to speak Norwegian, which she did for a little bit.
Her set continued on, the nostalgic energy that she offered to Montreal carrying us through wherever it takes you. The entire time I was thinking about summers where some of my close friends and I drove to the Hamptons. It’s a unique feeling. When live music takes you somewhere other than the venue you’re currently sweating in. And that’s exactly what Girl in Red’s EP will do to you. It’s so easy to melt into another place or thought while you’re listening to it.
Not long after a heart throbbing opener, Conan Gray’s band members took the stage, giving him a grand entrance with loud drums and a heavy bass line. Light as a feather, he skipped and jumped across the stage, his lovely singing voice encouraging the crowd to dance along with him. He introduced himself to L’Astral, saying; “Montreal! I’m Conan Gray and it’s cold as fuck here!”
Everyone sang along to every catchy lyric that was thrown their way, creating a new kind of nostalgic feeling. Similar to the one Girl in Red gave, but different. I guess it’s the mix of uplifting tunes paired with lyrics about loneliness and learning self-love, along with the screams from fans. It made me want to drive. I thought about driving pretty much the entire show.
Conan spoke to the crowd quite a bit. Explaining what songs are about, where he had written them, the mood he was in, and even complimenting our city. That’s what I love about catching brand new artists that don’t have much material out yet. They have a lot of time to speak their mind and let their personality crawl out to greet the venue, and they still play their entire EP and then some. It was like watching Billie Eilish at Corona. An up and coming artist that is bound to earn more recognition. It’s incredibly special to attend a show like the one Conan Gray gave to Montreal.
He continued the show with more songs off his EP “Sunset Season” like “Idle Town” and “Crush Culture.” He even performed a new unreleased track, and threw in an unexpected 40 second cover of Avril Lavinge’s “Sk8er Boi.”
The show was short, ending at 9:45, but everyone left humming with a skip in their step. It was a really fun show, enjoyable in every way possible. I woke up the morning after missing it. I just know I’m gonna be listening to “Sunset Season” on repeat for a while.