Show Review: Foodclothingshelter Showcase @ The Paragon

 Foodclothingshelter music presents:

The Belle Comedians, Hungry Hearts and Motherhood at The Paragon Theatre (Cafe)

Thursday, Dec. 9th
Doors at 9pm

The Belle Comedians (Halifax, NS)

Hungry Hearts (Fredericton, NB)

Motherhood (Fredericton, NB)

Review by Gwyneth Dunsford
**Due to a MIA SD card, there are currently no photos for this show. As soon as the card re-appears, they will be posted

There were only a few revellers at the Paragon, when Year of Glad took the stage at 10:30 p.m. Introducing himself in French, the unassuming fellow with a shock of curly hair makes up the whole band. I was shocked to hear a such a forceful voice emanating from Year of Glad's baby-face. His falsetto was pitch-perfect; evocative and mournful.
Out of the half hour set, the song FirstYearUniversity stood apart with its angst-filled lyrics. Despite its name, it wasn't about the raucousness of starting school, but rather about bitterness and the devil. The haunting deliver of the song reminded me of Bon Iver.
Year of Glad's concentration was hypnotic. In fact, he was so engrossed in the music that he barely noticed his fingers were bleeding all over his guitar.
For someone so youthful, Year of Glad makes a distinct nod to his musical fore-bearers. While he shares little in common with polka bands, he asked the audience to clap to a polka beat; perhaps in an attempt to make himself less nervous.
 **Year of Glad photo from Myspace

Motherhood started their set with a convincing cover of The Zombie's “Time of the Season”. Emphasizing the psychedelic sounds of this pop classic, Motherhood had a promising start to their set.
Unfortunately, the rest of their songs failed to deliver.
The sound was wonky, with heavy power chords squeezing out the vocals. Maybe this was for the best, as the vocals were over-arranged and often tuneless.
After a few songs, it became apparent that Motherhood was attempting Southern rock. When the lyrics from Appalachian folk songs weren't obscured by the guitars, they were belted out convincingly. Despite the chaos, the drummer should be credited for keeping a tight beat.
When a catchy guitar riff started grooving, the crowd rallied around the stage. Indeed, the audience was enthusiastic by their set, albeit loud and hectic. But without a direction to this sonic mess, the set was disappointing.

Like the previous band, Hungry Hearts also suffered some sound problems. Their garage rock sound was too sloppy to let the musicians' talent shine through. Dissonance and feedback kept spoiling their songs with strange sounds. I was prepared to forgive them, but the over-wrought vocals and imbalanced instruments were too over-the-top. Their vocal styaling can't be described other than “shouty”.
The audience was oblivious to any technical problems the band was having. By this time, the crowd had swelled to about 50, with 20 or so crowding the stage. The lead singer even attempted a brief crowd-surf at the end of the set.

I was relieved when the headliners, The Belle Comedians, took the stage. They quickly corrected the sound problems that plagued the other bands and launched into a seamless set.
Incorporating some of the sounds of their opening acts, they give a convincing stab at “white man” spirituals. Without pretension, they skilfully borrow from soul, folk and country music. They don't meddle too much with song structure or form, which
Singer Ben Ross' passing resemblance to the Arcade Fire's Win Butler is appropriate. Like the latter, The Belle Comedians balance complex lyrics and arrangements seemlessly. Scott Mallory's slide guitar add to the soulfulness of the ensemble.
These skillful musicians definitely have a bright future.


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