At the second installment of Live at Massey Hall, a concert series celebrating Canadian talent from across the country, Quebec-based singer-songwriter Beatrice Martin enchanted the audience at the historic hall and performed old favourites and new additions to her catalogue under the artist name, Coeur de Pirate.
Martin’s brand of melancholic but upbeat folk-pop paired successfully with Massey Hall’s rustic and intimate nature; her vocal range is well suited for a theatre setting. She instantly charmed the audience with renditions of “Verseau”, “Danse et danse” and “Ava” from her 2011 sophomore release, Blonde, an album that showcased Martin’s ability to handle larger pop-centric sounds. Throughout her set, she demonstrated that her talents extend well beyond the minimalistic rhythms that first garnered attention back in 2008, but she was most in her prime when she returned to her artistic roots.
“Now you’re stuck with me,” Martin joked as her band left her alone with her piano on-stage, as she shared her professionally trained piano playing skills. Many fans cheered during “Francis”, but the audience was mostly in complete awe of the far-reaching depths of her sound when she shared her newest Anglophone material. The sweet, chilling and serene ballads showcased yet another facet to Martin’s extensive repertoire of talents. Hopefully, the positive responses from the crowd will serve as a benchmark for her new material.
The experience humbled Martin. She commented on how she could not believe the response she always received in Toronto, especially as a francophone singer, from her early shows at The Dakota Tavern to last night. She encouraged fans to join her in her celebration during “Loin d’ici”, which she affectionately called “The Friendship Song”, and asked the audience members to hug their neighbors and sway to the rhythms together. Later, she prompted the audience to stand a dance towards the end of her performance to “Fondu au Noir” and the ’60s-inspired “Adieu”. During her encore, fans seated in the balconies led the charge and swayed their arms, a movement that trickled down to the floor as Martin performed, as they joined her in singing “Comme des Enfants”. As her fans showed their endearment towards her, Martin wiped her eyes a few times in response to the touching reaction, and repeatedly said “Thank you” as she slowly left the stage.
Bry Webb opened for Coeur de Pirate with a five-piece band known as The Providers; puncturing drum patterns and sweet, descriptive lyricism filled the endearing performance. Webb, the former lead singer of The Constantines, drew from his recently released sophomore effort Free Will for the forty-minute set. Between performances of new material and songs like “Low Life” and “Rivers of Gold”, dedicated to his wife and the Yukon Territory, respectively, the warm sounds of The Providers and Webb’s soulful voice entranced the audience. Webb recounted anecdotes that included one about his friend Will, who used to work at Massey Hall, and an encounter with Gordon Lightfoot, and added a comedic tone to the evening and underlined the poignant role that the monumental venue serves for concert goers and artists alike.
Coeur de Pirate