the highway. + Algorhythm @ Bar le Ritz – 18 January 2020

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the highway.

Predictions of a snowstorm and freezing cold temperatures were really putting a damper on my plans for checking out Algorhythm and “the highway.”  at Bar le Ritz last night. The roads were so bad, I thought I would surely miss the first act as I got to the venue an hour after I intended.  

Luckily the show hadn’t begun and I was pleasantly surprised by Montreal’s spellbinding prog/rock/jazz fusion,  electric carpet ride, known as Algorhythm. This 5 piece band is comprised of founder and songwriter Alexander  Lioubimenko on vocals and keyboard,  Marc-Gabriel on guitar, Marc Scott on bass guitar, Hugo Leclerc on woodwinds and Greg Kutska-Tsimbidis on drums.

Algorhythm

From the second they hit the stage, in their psychedelic tie-dye T-shirts and laid-back vibe, they had my full attention.  I didn’t know much about this band so I had no expectations and sometimes that really works out. I sat passively and allowed the music to push and pull me in a myriad of directions as did the rest of the crowd.  We were all completely captivated by the delightfully complex compositions which blended the best elements of jazz and rock.

They truly captured the essence of that progressive rock sound with the psychedelic keyboards, super funky bass and unexpected wind instruments.  When was the last time you heard someone play a really good flute?  

If you’re a fan of bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer, Genesis, King Crimson or innovators such as Herbie Hancock and Oscar Peterson then you really need to check out Algorhythm.  

They are competing in a European jazz Contest so please watch this music video on YouTube and click “like” to send them off to Italy to play at Jazzclub Ferrara.

Setlist 

  • Suit(e) Yourself 
  • He-The Guardian Earth 
  • Slipping 
  • Interlude 
  • Don’t Wanna Know Your Name 
  • Heat Of The Moment 

the highway. hit the stage at full throttle starting their high energy set with two original songs and then did a great bluesy cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together.”  Kevork Boyadjian on lead guitar really managed to put his own flavour on it which is quite difficult to do on a rock classic.

The band was on top of their game, performing with ease as lead vocalist and keyboard player Sevan Apanian addressed the audience with humour and honesty.  Expressing his gratitude and enthusiasm, he clearly couldn’t wait to sing “To Make Love On The Mountain Top” for the first time, in front of a live audience.

Saro Hartounian, wearing a sly smirk and a multi-coloured propeller hat, created a Red Hot Chili Pepper vibe on his bass on “How Long”.

Then Alex from Algorhythm joined them on stage for an intense cover of “All Along The Watch Tower.”  Alex and Kevork took turns working up the crowd with some very impressive solos on keyboard and guitar.

Next was “Nova” which will be on their upcoming EP.  It’s a jazzy/progressive piece that really showcases the skills and personalities of each band member perfectly.

They ended their set with another original track called “Uprooted” which is sung in their mother tongue.  The powerful lyrics describe the frustration of being displaced from their native land and the injustice of the Armenian Genocide.

the highway. is a great example of Montreal’s multicultural and progressive music scene.  With their unique blend of rock, blues, jazz, folk and world sounds, they have created a genre that crosses barriers and bridges new possibilities.

On a cold and snowy January evening in Montreal, a group of strangers gathered at Bar Le Ritz and were transported to a new musical dimension.

Setlist 

  • MO
  • Echo
  • Come Together 
  • To Make Love On The Mountain Top
  • How Long 
  • All Along The Watch Tower (with Alex)
  • Nova
  • Uprooted 

Review & photos – Annette Aghazarian 

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