NXNE Day 2: Black Marble, Michael Rault, Coeur De Pirate

coeur de pirate

One of my regrets during NXNE is that I do not bike. I mean, I have a bixi account, which I use often, but their limited range does not help out in times like this. As such, I have to pick my spots wisely during a festival. On Thursday night, I decided to head to the queen west area to check out some music there. Let’s take a look at some of the acts I saw.

Black Marble, Blk Box, 9 PM
Starting the night at the Pretty Pretty showcase, I entered the dark space that was the BLK Box to check out Black Marble, a two piece synth-rock band out of Brooklyn. I reckon they had some issues with their sound as they took a bit longer setting up then usual. It seems to be a theme that if you employ synthesizers or a bunch of electronic gizmos in your setup, you will take longer then expected. Anyway, the setup may or may not have worked because Black Marble sounded as if someone was playing Depeche Mode or New Order in the apartment beside you. It was pretty muddled and the vocals did not come across very clearly. I would place their music as dark, moody type of synth rock that you can dance to, but only alone in your room. I did enjoy the moment when one of the two members in the band shouted “We got t-shirts in the back!” off the microphone before their brief set ended. Their album A Different Arrangement comes out in October and will probably sound cleaner then their showcase.

Michael Rault, Great Hall, 10 pm
Next up on the bill was Michael Rault. The Edmonton native was playing upstairs from BLK Box, in a venue called the Great Hall. The two venues are connected, yet I can’t bring my beer up the stairs. What kind of crappy liquor laws we have in North America.

Employing a simple guitar set up, you could argue that Rault’s singer songwriter template has been seen and done before. However, when all you have is a guitar (with the occasional backing guitar/vocals provided), you better have some good songwriting skills. It would seem that Michael Rault has exactly that. Treading on early 60’s/rockabilly sounds, Rault somehow makes a standard template sound fresh, crafting simple but effective tracks that evoke the past but doesn’t quite live in it. I can’t believe this dude’s from Edmonton. Anyways, good stuff.

Coeur Du Pirate, Great Hall, 11 pm
One of the “headliners” of NXNE, Coeur De Pirate aka Beatrice Martin was up next. I missed the boat on her a few years ago when her self titled album made waves all around the country and inspired music fans to examine the province of Quebec for it’s homegrown music rather then for poutine recipes but this time, I would not be denied.

As expected, the Great Hall filled up quickly in anticipation of the singer. Taking the stage solo with just the piano as her tool, Beatrice Martin charmed the crowd with a short but stirring set. It was a gentle reminder of how all you need is a beautiful voice, talented song writing, enormous charm and a instrument of choice to get into the hearts of many. Even when Beatrice Martin is annoyed, she is charming as she had to ask the crowd (in a cute, french-accent way) several times to quiet down so her music could shine through. I am not familiar with her material, but her tracks were both in French and English, and included a Dylan cover (“You Belong To Me”). The massive single “Comme des Enfants” ended the set and produced a venue wide sing a long. You know you have done something right when you can get an entire crowd to sing your song even though its not their first language.

Posted on by Ricky in North By Northeast

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.