The Blue Stones + Mute Choir @ Petit Campus – 30 January 2020

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The last day of January was a really good day for live music in Montréal, as Windsor’s The Blue Stones were performing at Café Campus on Rue Prince Arthur. It was good not just for them but also because of their opening act Mute Choir, a Toronto-based group with a sound that was, to say the least, intriguing. 

Founded by Sam Arion and joined by Milan Sarkadi and Iris Waters, Mute Choir produce harmonies hard to be clustered but somehow at the crossroads of experimental sounds with a slight late 70s / 80s influence. Indeed, their performance on stage was truly captivating and I’ll explain why: first of all, it was aesthetically great. I know this could sound strange, but it can’t be ignored that any form of art has its aesthetic and while it is true that music runs its alchemy through the notes’ power we can’t deny that a live exhibition unleashes its ultimate potential also through its visual impact. Therefore, maybe because of the lighting (shout out to the staff), or maybe (and this is irrefutable) because of their stage presence, the fact is that the overall picture of their ensemble looked amazing. 

Mute Choir

Secondly, they gave birth to a “sexy haunting atmosphere” through their sensual sounds able to enrapture the crowd, after their second song the audience was completely in their hands. Sam Arion was a true charmer playing with his voice from more rocking melodies to soft ballads, reaching high peaks with his velvet seductive voice. These guys know what they are doing, and honestly, I can’t personally wait for the release of their album at the end of February. 

Therefore, it was an unexpected (at least for me) great intro for the duo from Ontario, and set the stage for another amazing performance. Out with their first studio album in 2018, Tarek Jafar and Justin Tessier, aka The Blue Stones, are “serious rock material.” I usually don’t like making parallelism, but for the ones that are yet not too familiar with their music, they remind me (and not only to me) of The Black Keys, not just because they too are a duo, but also due to the way they work on their music, the abrasive sound, the songs’ structure…

The Blue Stones

With Shakin’ Off The Rust they were off to a great start! They possessed the stage with the same energy of a 5-piece band, from the very beginning they provided a juicy taste of what was waiting ahead. The Drop led into Be My Fire, one of their well-known hits, sung by all of the bystanders, and which gave a clear idea of their fan-base extent. When Tarek asked, «how many are here with a special person tonight?», the perfect moment to get into Magic was set, with its charming guitar lines, and the beautiful, sad, warm, intense, heartfelt lyrics, so well interpreted by his unique voice. 

From The Hard Part to Grim, drums and guitar exploded! Seeing and listening to Justin Tessier hitting the drums was surely inspiring: he fired up the venue mixing an explosive charge with his skilful control of the instrument, always owning the rhythm. Successively, it was from the bottom of everybody’s heart that Lay, a bluesy / rock ballad, arose; the crowd was emotionally singing on this profound piece while the sound-waves languidly caressed our skin… Differently, Little Brother took life from a short anecdote rooted in their beginning, one in which they were “accused” of being too pop…from that moment on the route toward a great end was established. Tarek’s guitar and Justin’s drums embraced to conceive the apex of this lively performance. 

While Oceans gently touched our ears and melted the overall atmosphere, Black Holes (Solid Ground) drastically brought us back to the present time: a true rock awakening!

Tarek with his guitar was jumping all around the stage looking for Justin’s eyes and input, both chewing the notes, both charged by the crowd’s feedback and boost while squeezing out The Blue Stones’ unique sound. However, the true delight, index of such an authentic performance, came with Rolling With The Punches that momentarily closed the show, only to leave room for (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, a brilliantly executed cover. 

What else should be said? It was undeniably a great gig, The Blue Stones proved to be a great band, not only for their sound, the way they structured their performance but also for their maturity and awareness, clearly displayed on that Friday night. They owned the entire venue, transmitting their passion to the floor, the ceiling and bodies of the lucky ones who were present. 

SETLIST:

  • Shackin’ Off The Rust
  • The Drop
  • Be My Fire
  • Magic
  • The Hard Part
  • Midnight
  • Grim
  • Lay
  • Little Brother
  • Oceans
  • Black Holes (Solid Ground)
  • Rolling With The Punches 

Encore:

  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – cover 

Review & Live Photos – Francesca Sacerdoti

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