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CFCF, Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2013, Rhye

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal: CFCF and Rhye, June 30th, 2013

Jul 01, 2013 Rhye Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

Bonjour from the 34th annual Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. The biggest jazz festival in the world, the event’s schedule of shows stretch across ten indoor venues and ten outdoor venues in the area surrounding Montréal’s McGill University. (The “McGill Ghetto” as my friendly van driver jokingly dubbed it.) Yes, there’s plenty of jazz, but the list of performers also feature upcoming names in pop, rock, house, soul, and beyond. In short: There’s something for every palette. Allons-y au Quebec.

After an afternoon spent wandering around sampling several outdoor events (including a youth jazz band so talented it made me weep for my pre-teen ambitions of becoming the next Benny Goodman), I kicked off my week’s slate of evening concerts with a Canadian and Canadian(ish) act: CFCF and Rhye.

Opener Mike Silver represented his hometown, performing electronic music under the name CFCF. Given that the pendulum of his work swings from dancey to meditative, it was any guess what version we’d get. Falling in line with the nature of his forthcoming album Music for Objects (due out July 8 via Paper Bag), we were treated to a melodious set of melancholy, downtempo songs. Having only recently made the transition from DJ to live act, the set was a bit uneven. Silver clearly feels more comfortable behind a Moog rather than playing guitar. However, the set’s closing song, a cover of Jason Molina’s “Red Comet Dust” was a near-perfect tribute.

Rhye’s performance was one of those rare moments when you realize that hype actually mean something. Between the duo’s Polaris prize nominated debut album Woman, and Quadron’s well-received sophomore effort, Robin Hannibal is having one heck of a year. While the Danish producer was relegated to the background, bandmate Mike Milosh picked up the slack, empathically enunciating every syllable of his gender-blurring vocals. Adept at creating an air of mystery (the pair released the album’s first singles anonymously) the six piece live band maintained their shroud of secrecy live, opting to perform on a nearly pitch-black stage.

The setup didn’t limit Milosh from exuding personality. (Memo to The xx—if you actually demonstrate that you actually have a pulse on stage, I promise to care about your dark, sultry tunes. Promise.) When several members of the audience wouldn’t stop talking during his sultry take on “Last Dance,” he chastised them, folding his plea for silence into the lyrics of the song itself…not that the said culprits realized they were being mocked.

It is well worth noting that while Rhye is ostensibly a two-piece, magic happens with the help of their talented backing band—which includes a violinist, a cellist/trombonist/a drummer, and keyboardist. Each member of the band got his or her due, as songs were stretched out to include solos that impressively flaunted the musicians’ strengths. By the time the band closed out their eleven song set (which featured two songs from Milosh’s solo work), the audience was literally left screaming for more. Not a shabby way to kick off my week.

Rhye Set List:

1. Verse

2. Three Days

3. The Fall

4. Woman

5. Last Dance

6. Major Minor Love

7. Shed Some blood

8. The City

9. Open

10. Hunger

11. It’s Over

Check out shots of Festival Street art, signs, and curious people here.





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