As I’ve already written about several times on my blog, it’s always a pleasure to hear Le Vent du Nord perform–although this time, it was on a seriously rainy Wednesday night at the Rogue. Yet the loyal fans filled the place nonetheless!
This time too we actually were without Olivier Demers. If you’ve been following my posts and have seen my earlier Le Vent concert posts, you know Olo’s my favorite of all the members of the group! (And I’m not just saying that because he follows me on Facebook and therefore might actually read this. Auquel cas je dois dire SALUT OLO!)
But this time he had to stay home, due to having a death in his family. 🙁 He posted to his Facebook wall that his father had passed away just a couple of days before the show. (And I was simultaneously very sad to hear the news and a bit relieved to have been warned about it in advance, because if I’d shown up without knowing M. Demers wouldn’t be on hand, I would have been even sadder!)
So Le Vent had to pull in Jean-François Gagnon Branchaud as emergency backup fiddler. If you know Quebecois trad, you may well recognize his name as one of the two fiddlers currently playing with La Bottine Souriante, who also sings some lead on La Bottine’s last album. And if you know La Bottine, you know that anybody who plays for them is guaranteed to bring their A game to a stage. Jean-François did not disappoint, and so even though we all missed Olivier, it was still a delightful show!
Let’s get down to the details, shall we?
And now, O Internets, the second to last post of my Victoria and Cumberland vacation series–in which Dara, siestabear, maellenkleth, and I all had the supreme pleasure of getting to see Le Vent du Nord play at the Cumberland Hotel!
Previously in this particular adventure, Dara and I saw Le Vent in Victoria! And then we explored a bunch of rocks before Dara sang that night! And then we explored Cumberland and sang some more!
It’s truly fitting that we wound up the trip with one hell of a gig out of les gars. Because don’t get me wrong, you guys–I enjoyed the symphony show immensely, but even after only four shows’ worth of experience, I’m here to tell you that the best way to enjoy Le Vent du Nord is in a tiny, cozy venue. Preferably front row center. With a MAMMOTH.
And now, to start documenting my and Dara’s recent excellent trip up to Victoria, to see Le Vent du Nord! Saturday the 8th was when the adventure got underway–when we headed up to Victoria in the morning, for the symphony show to take place that night!
I’ve been chatting a lot with Dreamwidth user fluterbev lately, and we’ve started swapping pointers to each other’s favorite tunes! I promised her I’d do a post with some pointers to various Quebec tunes I’ve been working on learning lately, not only for her but for anybody else out there who might be interested in learning these tunes too!
I more or less can play seven tunes at this point and six of those are available in sheet music form on the Net, so I commend to your attention the following:
- Ciel d’Automne, by André Brunet! This is arguably the first Quebec tune I ever fell in love with, and it’s extremely friendly to the flute. It’s available on the La Bottine Souriante album Xième, which was released as Rock and Reel in the States. First Quebec album I ever bought and I highly recommend it, in no small part because of that very instrumental. (Fair warning if you get hold of the recording and try to play along–it DOES change keys, from D up to E, which is a bitch to follow if you’re playing on a keyless flute. Or um, so I’ve heard. *^_^*;;)
- La Fée des Dents, another of André Brunet’s, over which I totally swoon. <3 Recorded by De Temps Antan on their album Les habits de papier.
- Maison de Glace, because apparently I’m learning All The Tunes By Guys Named Brunet. This one is by André’s brother Réjean, who is of course the accordion player and bassist for Le Vent du Nord!
- 6/8 d’André Alain, taught to me by Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand of Genticorum! Loverly little jig in D.
- Gigue du Père Mathias, the other tune Alexandre taught me! Again, in D, and so far the only thing I’ve been kinda halfway able to do a little podorythmie to while I’m playing on the flute. SLOWLY.
- Valse de Poeles, which is yet another tune with a tie to Genticorum! Recorded by them on their last studio album, Nagez Rameurs.
I made absolutely no secret of how crushed I was, Internets, when I missed Le Vent du Nord’s Oregon show this past November. And I was quite disappointed as well when the symphony show in Vancouver was cancelled.
But tonight, I am thrilled to report that the show at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria, BC, completely and utterly made up for both of these things. It was short but tight, and a truly intimate little show. And OMG YOU GUYS, Dara and I managed to snag a table right smack in front of the stage!
Clickie for the in-depth show report goodness!
As you know, O Internets, I was extremely eager for my first Le Vent Du Nord show. I’ve been getting ridiculous amounts of glee out of listening to their albums and watching their YouTube videos, and of course, I had the challenge laid down by fellow Le Vent fan Susan that in her considered opinion, Le Vent gives much better concerts than Great Big Sea! Which, of course, is a mighty challenge indeed to issue to this passionate Great Big Sea fangirl. And so, the question of the hour is: how did Le Vent do?
Let’s put it this way. I ain’t saying I’m throwing over The Doyle for Simon Beaudry, when it comes down to Most Favored Bouzouki Player Who Isn’t Dara–but I will say it’s a damn fine thing that I have room in my heart for all manner of joyous music. And love my B’ys as I do, they better be bringing their A game when they go back on tour next year, because the show Le Vent put on for us in Vancouver shot straight up to stratospheric levels of awesome, and it will be extremely hard to top.
I hadn’t been to a GBS show that tiny since they stopped playing the Showbox in Seattle, and the level of energy they let loose was every bit the rival of those earlier GBS shows. Le Vent might not have the same sheer physicality that the B’ys do; they don’t bounce around the stage the same way at all. But that’s every bit of quite all right, because all the energy they didn’t spend bouncing came right out their instruments. They were charming and funny, especially Réjean Brunet. Simon’s singing is a direct threat to the structural integrity of my knees. Olivier Demers does amazing things with his fiddle, especially given the amazing things he does at the same time with his feet. And Nicolas Boulerice? That man commands a room with his voice, and when he unleashed a solo that caused Dara to use the phrase “bitchin’ metal hurdy-gurdy solo”, he was channelling lightning.
But that’s just the picoreview! This being a patented Anna the Piper In-Depth Concert Squeefest, let me get into the details!