Concert review of Haelos and UNDERHER at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. April 1, 2019
You can’t judge a book by its cover. Likewise, you can’t judge a band by the size of the venue.
I was clearly excited to catch Haelos in such a small venue as Bar Le Ritz. Why? Because I requested the show twice to review!
What I didn’t expect was to have UNDERHER open. From their Instagram feed, they are globetrotting the world, with only a two week break, back in their hometown.
Kalden Bess and Jessica Abruzzese are blowing up. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will. Both Kalden and Jessica told me about their hectic schedules and upcoming projects.
Scoring for some Netflix series, like The Rain, which debuts on May 4th, 2019 is just the beginning.
UNDERHER normally do the club circuit, but their style is adaptable to a regular musical gig as well. While Kalden is at the helm of the electronics, Jessica heats up the stage with vocals that might be responsible for Global Warming. Well…maybe not, but all the ice cubes melted and they sure got the fully packed Bar Le Ritz to dance.
UNDERHER are just as busy behind the scenes, collaborating on remixes for the likes of Moby, U2 and the band they admire, Haelos.
The extended applause at the end of their set conveyed a deep appreciation for their energy and upbeat musical experience.
Tonight was a glimpse into the future of Haelos. Six of the songs would be from the upcoming album “Any Random Kindness” starting with the first song “Kyoto.”
Bar Le Ritz felt like the buttons on dad’s shirt after a turkey dinner…it was full to bursting. With just enough wiggle room, the crowd danced and swayed to the songs performed.
“Earth Not Above” brought us back to the 2016 breakthrough release “Full Circle.” This album has been on heavy rotation at my house and hearing the complimentary voices of Arthur Delaney and Lotti Benardout live, was impressive, to say the least.
Lotti can unleash her voice on songs like “Dust” that can give you shivers. Her grandmother wrote jingles in the 50’s, so now we know why these songs are so catchy!
Daniel Vildosola, after the gig, showed me his slide guitar that he took out during rehearsal one day. The band loved the sound, and it has found its way in “ARK” and “Oracle”, which would close the set.
Having such a historic instrument, normally reserved for country music, helps to explain the Haelos sound. They are not afraid to break the mold of modern music. For “End of World Party”, earlier in the set, you could hear the Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock “It Takes Two” sample. They also sprinkled some cowbell for some songs, which always reminds me of Christopher Walken.
The highlight had to be “Pray” as the encore song. What a powerful ending to an amazing show.
To see this band in such a small venue is like finding a $100 bill on the street. It’s rare, but so good when it happens!
Most of the band stuck around to mingle with the fans and chat.
What I found most fascinating was that Tom Walder was interviewing fans for a future documentary. We discussed the interesting dynamic between fans and band, like the feature film 101, directed by D. A. Pennebaker, which feature half the film focusing on the live performances, and the other half with a tour bus comprised of fans following the tour.
Unfortunately, no one volunteered to be interviewed in Montreal!
At the end of the night, as I dodged treacherous potholes to make it home safe…the memories of tonight will be etched into a memory that left me mesmerized by both bands, and deeply satisfied to be a part of the experience.
Review – Randal Wark
Photos – Ramy Elhoufy