Foxtrott: a warm welcome back for a rising local star (Montréal en Lumière)
When local musicians attract attention both at home and elsewhere, their first show back at their home base is sure to bring plenty of excitement. In the case of Montreal’s Foxtrott, it’s fair to say that’s what happened Friday night at Club Soda. The musician born Marie-Hélène Delorme is clearly a musician on the rise in this city, and while her stage presence seems a bit stiff, she more than makes up for it with finesse, ingenuity and solid musicianship.
Opener Geoffroy – also arguably a rising star in Montreal’s music scene, thanks in part to his appearance on La voix (Quebec’s version of The Voice) in 2014 – perhaps isn’t the most logical choice for an opening act for this show, as his unshowy, acoustic guitar-driven singer-songwriter style stands in fairly stark contrast to Foxtrott’s more offbeat, electronica-based sound. Nevertheless, his take on that style/image is unique enough to not feel boring or uninspired.
As for Foxtrott, she came onstage just before 9 p.m. and finished just before 10, but her fairly short set was warmly received by a pretty packed crowd at Club Soda – a testament to the following she’s already gained in this city at this point in her relatively short career. Playing alongside a drummer and a French horn player – the latter of which adding a unique dimension to her sound – the singer/songwriter/producer signed to One Little Indian (home to Björk) did a nice job of conveying her complex-yet-catchy style that occasionally brings to mind Fever Ray, Santigold and Karen O. In reality though, her musical output has multiple reference points, from synthpop to alt-rock to even reggae. Her songwriting capabilities certainly aren’t lacking, either.
If there are any big gripes to be had about the set, it’s that she perhaps relied a little too much on playback samples of certain instrumental parts as opposed to playing them herself or hiring another instrumentalist – a practice which seems standard for some electronic-leaning artists. Otherwise, her ability to flip between more danceable tracks and piano dirges was smooth, and it showed. Couple that with her charming stage banter that flipped between French and English, and her first local show since the December release of her debut album A Taller Us was a success both in terms of crowd reception and onstage execution.