Hanorah @ Rialto Theatre – 24 September 2020

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Hanorah @ Rialto Theatre

A year ago this month I was at the Rialto Theatre witnessing the legendary Mavis Staples perform an unforgettable set for Pop Montreal.  It was the kind of show that I wished all my favourite people were able to witness because I knew it would never happen again. Not because I foreshadowed a pandemic but because Miss Mavis was 80 years old at the time.

This week I found myself back at that same place for a bittersweet reunion. The Rialto is where I heard Montreal’s very own Hanorah play live for the first time when she opened up for Miss Mavis.

There was no long lineup outside the theatre. Instead, a handful of us masked fans waited for the security guard to let us in where we proceeded to sanitize our hands and write down our contact info in a book in case anyone contracted COVID-19.  

The fact that the venue was operating below 25% didn’t seem to put a damper on Miss Hanorah who was genuinely happy to be performing in front of a live audience, exclaiming “this definitely feels like a dream doesn’t it?”

Cradling a gorgeous vintage 70s Les Paul, she flashed us a warm smile that illuminated the pitch dark and almost empty theatre.  Accompanied by fellow bandmate Christian Henegan-Comeau, she began her 30-minute set with Long Road.  

It took me longer to get there than the actual show itself but it was worth it.  Hanorah’s voice has a healing quality that helped me forget, for a short while, about being unemployed and worrying about the health and safety of my loved ones.

She debuted 3 new tracks which showcased some clever lyrics as well as some great guitar work. (Transgressions, Tragic Karma and Good Love) And ended her set with the crowd-pleasing “I’m In Love With Your Man.”  I was hoping for an encore, forgetting about the reality of our current situation but she was only allowed 30 minutes.

I spoke to Hanorah briefly after the concert to thank her for inviting me and purchased a really cool tote bag with her original artwork.  She told me that she’s been spending a lot of time playing guitar during the pandemic and it really showed.

These are some strange and difficult times and often we are seeing the worst in people. It’s comforting to know that there are artists out there that are still working hard and creating new music that they want to share and that Pop Montreal is still supporting these artists.

Set List 

  • Long Road
  • Saturn Return
  • Transgressions 
  • Tragic karma
  • Good love
  • New Orleans
  • I’m In Love With Your Man

Review & photos – Annette Aghazarian

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