José Gonzalez & The String Theory Orchestra @ Place Des Arts – 25th March 2019

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José Gonzalez & The String Theory Orchestra @ Place Des Arts

Jose Gonzalez, the Swedish-Argentinian singer, stopped by the ecclesiastical Maison Symphonique this past Monday, March 25th, along with the String Theory, the European music and art collective that is one half of the most recent album “Live in Europe” and of the current tour.

José Gonzalez & The String Theory Orchestra in Montreal

The musician/collective ensemble first worked together in 2009 in Gothenburg, Sweden for the first phase of what was known as The Göteborg String Theory. In 2011 they collaborated again on a two-month European tour where Nackt (one of the founders of the String Theory and last night’s conductor) arranged 11 songs of the singer/songwriter.

José Gonzalez & The String Theory Orchestra on stage at Place Des Arts

Now this time around, 8 years later, with a deeper connection, a more extended tour, and an album together, the synergetic combo made those of us present as spectators gravitate around known songs from Jose, eclectically arranged and delivered with passion, beauty, and child-like playfulness.

The String Theory that is touring right now is composed of wind instruments, a percussion section, string musicians, a keyboard player, two backup singers, and a synth/noise part too.

An electric drill, 20+ plastic bags, a couple of wood boards, some chopsticks, metal plaques and guitar were all instruments of music and noise used during the evening.  

My mind and body navigated through several states of feeling, being and emotion through the night, sometimes having a tug of war between them due to my damned inclination of having to classify and grasp what is happening and what is being played instead of just enjoying it and letting myself experience novelty, beauty, and absurdity even if they come together or are only one and the same.

As time progressed through the dozen or so songs played that evening, I saw glimpses of other artists and realized how much modern music was shaped by those who came before. I can’t imagine what the concert would have been like without the influence of a generation raised on Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, Radiohead’s Kid A, Portishead’s Roseland NYC Live albums and tens of MTV’S Unplugged shows.

José Gonzalez at Place Des Arts

At the close of the show and after a well-deserved encore supplication and subsequent fulfillment, we were let go with a blessing of sorts. Like in a megachurch or, to be honest, most of the evangelical churches I have visited, a chorus made up of all the musicians on stage repeated the mantra “Let the light lead you out,” an invitation to take the time to think and let reason guide us. And to that I merely say Amen.

Review – Ricardo D Flores
Photos – Ashley MacPhee

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