Guster & Henry Jamison @ Théâtre Fairmount – 21st January 2019

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Another cold night in Montreal. The winter did not spare us with -20 degrees on the thermometer, feeling like -32. “Why did I even leave my place?”, I asked myself as I was stuck in traffic and freezing on my way to the Fairmount Theatre. Then, I quickly remembered why as I was listening to “Backyard” on my phone.

Back in 2003, one of my brother’s friends brought us Guster’s 4th album titled Keep It Together. It was back in the day where you didn’t get directly the name of the songs on your computer when you’d put the CD in the drive and would have to type the name of the artist and the songs one by one. Back then, my dad miswrote the name of the band and I mistakenly thought their name was Gutser for a couple of years… Anyway, I fell in love with that album and after knowing that band for over 15 years, despite having only listened to that album, the following one and a few other songs here and here, I was overexcited when I heard that they were making their way to Montreal!

Opening for them was Henry Jamison, a talented singer-songwriter from Burlington, Vermont. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of him until I got inside that venue and I was pleasantly surprised with his performance. His guitar, his voice, and his awkward sense of humour were all he needed to gain new fans that night. Sure, there wasn’t that many people in the venue (or not enough when I compare it to my love for Guster) but I can tell you that this guy surely made quite an impression. “I’m not as sad as all my songs, just a little sad.”, he said before adding that he’d play another sad song, before performing one that’s slightly upbeat, followed by another sad one… Don’t let the sadness take a toll on you, Henry Jamison is highly skilled, and he knows how to share his emotions perfectly. His performance reminded me of George Ogilvie and Charlie Cunningham who both have their way with words and offer amazing acoustic performances. Keep an eye out for his new album Gloria Duplex coming out on February 8th and don’t hesitate to listen to his first album The Wilds with the great “Real Peach” that he played for us live.

Next was Guster. No crazy entrance on stage, they kept it quite simple and actually laughed about it right away. Their set was quite unique and honestly felt like I was in a venue with friends and family. They had this power to make the venue their own and to make us feel at ease in a few seconds. They started their set with “Ramona”, from my favourite record from them Keep It Together, before moving on to a song from their latest record Look Alive entitled “Terrified”. The band actually surprised me in the way they managed to make everyone happy, taking songs from so many of their different albums, from Evermotion (with “Doin’ It By Myself” & “Simple Machine” among others), Ganging Up on the Sun (with “Satellite” and “Ruby Falls”), Easy Wonderful (with “Do You Love Me” and “This Could All Be Yours”), but also Lost and Gone Forever (with “Barrel of a Gun” and “Happier”), Keep It Together (with “Ramona” and “Come Downstairs & Say Hello”), Goldfly (with “Demons”), and Hard Times / Don’t Go (with “Hard Times”) as well as their latest album Look Alive (with “Look Alive”, “Overexcited”, and “Terrified”). Their eclectic set was a perfect mix of what their career has offered their fanbase throughout the years (since 1991!): a unique sound (thanks to their percussionist Brian Rosenworcel), great vocal harmonies done by lead vocalists Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner, and such musical versatility with their members switching from the guitar, to the bass, keyboard, trumpet, piano, drums… they’re a really impressive bunch! Needless to say, the other fans and I felt right at home at the Fairmount Theatre, with a down-to-earth band that didn’t have anything to prove. They have the talent, charisma, charm and humour that would make anyone with good musical taste fall in love with them. No need for “bullshit applause” right before the encore, real applause will suffice. Thank you again for this great night boys, hoping to see you again sometime soon!

 

Guster Setlist

Ramona

Terrified

Doin’ It By Myself

Demons

Simple Machine

Look Alive

I Spy

Satellite

Come Downstairs and Say Hello

Do You Love e

Never Coming Down

Lightning Rod

Hard Times

On The Ocean

Manifest Destiny

Ruby Falls

Barrel of a Gun

This Could All Be Yours

 

Encore:

Long Night

Overexcited

Happier

 

Review – Maxime Lehuidoux

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