Festival International de Jazz de Montréal: Martha Wainwright and Fitz & the Tantrums | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Martha Wainwright

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2013, Fitz & The Tantrums, Martha Wainwright

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal: Martha Wainwright and Fitz & the Tantrums, July 4th, 2013

Jul 05, 2013 Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share


Midweek report. Wi-fi still works. Poutine stands still in possession of plenty of gravy and cheese. Street performers happily twirling in the ever-increasing humidity. Crazy guys in American flag hats in honor of the Fourth of July.

Bucolic: thy name is Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.

Perhaps best known as little sister to Rufus (and a “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”), Martha Wainwright is a straight-talent in her own right—family relations and gimmicks aside. She also possesses a wicked since of humor, which can sometimes be lost amidst her dramatic folk pop. Introducing the song “Radio Star” from recently released album Come Home to Mama, she admitted the rock tune was inspired by her brother’s pop turn and a desire to write about something other than herself. “It’s about the apocalypse,” she joked. “Because if I’m not in a song it’s the end of the world.”

A peculiar and fun fact about Montréal: it’s a multi-lingual city. The primary language is French, but everyone is educated in English—thus, most inhabitants are able to switch back and forth between the two languages. Which they often do over the course of a single sentence. Born and bred in the city (although currently living in New York), Wainwright upheld the tradition of her hometown, teasing her American husband (and backing band member) Brad Albetta for his monolingual status.

Among the more unexpected moments of the set was an Edith Piaf cover, and a reprise of her version of “Stormy Weather,” which Wainwright first performed for Rufus’ Judy Garland tribute show. With Albetta on piano, she milked every moment, drawing out singling lines into extended vocal gymnastics. Sure it was a bit gimmicky—but who among us possesses that kind of lungpower? (I have been known to ask for an oxygen mask minutes into spin class. Hyperbole, but not by much.)

Fitz & The Tantrums received a more lukewarm reception at their 11pm show. While the Los Angeles band did their best to stir the crowd, their attempts at inclusively seemed labored at best. Frontman Michael Fitzpatrick possesses a voice somewhere in the neighborhood of Daryl Hall, but his stage presence—from awkward dance moves to a refusal to take off his sunglasses—feels more like awkward dancing dad than rock star. Co-lead vocalist Noelle Scaggs lends the band an undeserved aura of cool…but it’s a lot to ask of a single performer to save a listing ship.

(www.montrealjazzfest.com)

(www.marthawainwright.com)

(www.fitzandthetantrums.com)




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