Oh Wonder + Cleopold @ Corona Theatre October 22, 2016

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I love being exposed to new music from an opening band.  As per usual, I could listen to an entire concert of just the opening band. On this cold and rainy Saturday night, Cleopold warmed up the crowd with his new alternative EP Altitude & Oxygen. If you’re a fan of Chet Faker, you’re in luck; they’re friends. Nick Murphy a.k.a Chet Faker, signed Geordie Hewitt to his record label and released Altitude & Oxygen. Since then, Cleopold went on tour with Chet Faker and was even featured in the Rolling Stone Australia edition.

He opened with “Scarlet” and the crowd warmed up to him, and started to move. “Not Coming Down” (one of my favourites) got the crowd dancing. He played two of his new songs “Read My Mind” and “Can’t Get Away from You” and ended his set with “Down in Flames” which was the first song he ever wrote, and would be his last song on tour, as this was his final show with Oh Wonder.

And now, what the sold out Corona Theatre has been waiting for, Oh Wonder.

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I missed them at Osheaga this year, so I was glad I attended this intimate show in my favorite venue. The indie pop duo, Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West were greeted with delighted screams. They opened with “Livewire” and the crowd gave an enthusiastic cheer. They played one on the songs I wanted to hear, “Dazzle”, as everyone sang along. They paused, and thanked everyone for coming in a French better than my own. Josephine had a bottle of honey, perhaps for her laryngitis. She took a sip while Anthony encouraged people to sing along as they played “Lose It”. At this moment, I thought there would actually be a mosh pit because some girls in the front were in fact, losing it. “Shark” was played next, the lights turned blue and I felt as if I were underwater, which was appropriate, given the name of the song. This was followed by “Without You”. Afterward Josephine and Anthony expressed what a special project their next song was.

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For the “All We Do” official music video, they reached out to filmmakers around the world and asked them: What does it mean to be human? Josephine encouraged everyone to celebrate the importance of being themselves and following their dreams. It’s easy to not take risks and do the same thing every day but that’s not living. She says: “If there is even a seed of courage, take that. And take risks, do the impossible. Since the impossible was coming here and playing for you guys, every single one of you can do the impossible.” And with that the four recognizable piano notes began and enchanted the audience with every word as they sang along loudly. The song ended with intense applause. To re-ignite the mood Anthony added “We’re gonna be playing some songs from… the only album we have” – laughter began. With that, they played “Landslide” and “Plans”.

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Oh Wonder is different in that they took an unorthodox approach to making an album. Starting September 1st, they wrote, recorded and released one song per month. Their first song they released was played next: “Body Gold”. Between songs, there was another break for honey. She thanked the audience once again with her impressive French. For their last song they played “Drive”, reminding me of why I love their music so much, their voices combine and harmonize so perfectly. The crowd had trouble reaching the high notes in the chorus as well as Josephine did.

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The stage went dark as the band exited. Screams,cheers and whistles filled the theatre. The rumbling of feet stomping on the ground, demanding more. The commotion almost made me lose my hearing, but thankfully the band came back on. For the encore, Josephine once again thanked us in French for coming out to see them. Anthony began a familiar drum beat and “Midnight Moon” was played. I came out of the concert liking this song more than I did when I walked in. For their actual final song they played “Technicolour Beat” and the crowd was ecstatic. A roar of overjoyed applause and shouts welcomed them when it ended and Josephine and Anthony bowed with the widest smiles on their faces.

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I always have a list of songs I want my bands to play and unfortunately my favorite: White Blood, did not make the set list tonight.   All the more reason to see them next time they come to Montreal!

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Review – Breanna Wark
Photos – Arianne Bergeron

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