Concert Review: Stromae, September 26, Echo Beach


Stromae is already a superstar in his native Belgium and while he’s amassed a bit of a following on this side of the pond, he’s definitely making an effort to break out bigger to a North American audience. However, as the tongue in cheek “Who The Hell Is Stromae” promo posters that were making the rounds during SXSW attest, he’s certainly far from being a household name at this point. Still, a dedicated group of (probably mostly francophone) fans made their way out on a Saturday night to take in his performance and were indeed treated to quite the show.

As he took to the stage, Stromae shouted out, “Toronto! Canada!” not once but twice, adding a French accent the second time around. It worked as not only an acknowledgement of the many French speaking people in attendance but also as a demonstration of his sense of humour, which he displayed throughout the night. Some choice moments included his mock tirade against the French for claiming french fries as their own when really the Belgians created them (he then went on to give Belgium credit for wine, croissants and France in general) and his repeated instruction to the crowd to “stay focused.” In addition to sense of humour, he showed off some impressive dance moves and a strong, unique sense of fashion. While most of the show was full of energetic, upbeat numbers like “Alors On Danse,” Stromae showed off his range with “Quand C’est,” a darker number that featured a haunting falsetto on his part and was one of the highlights of the night.

Closing things off with crowd pleaser “Papaoutai,” Stromae ended his set by thanking pretty much everyone involved in the tour, from his band to the stage crew to the sound engineer to the fashion designer and wardrobe assistant. He didn’t just thank them though – he sang each of their names over the accompaniment of his bowler hat clad bandmates. While I’m not sure if Stromae ever will break big over here, he puts on an enjoyable show that certainly demonstrates that he should be heard by a wider audience. The best way to sum up his show in one word is to quote one of his own song titles: “Formidable.”

Posted on by Paul in Concerts