Have you ever spent a starry night by the fire in a backyard with great friends playing beautiful music? Well, that’s essentially how it felt to spend the evening with Patrick Watson and his band as they delivered a breath-taking performance in the Theatre of the Canadian Museum of Civilization this past Friday, September 28 as part of their Adventures in Your Own Backyard tour.
Opening for the Montreal-based formation was Thus:Owls, a captivating Swedish-Canadian group that has been touring with Patrick Watson in an effort to promote their second album entitled Harbours, which will be released on October 2, 2012. Thus:Owls’ sound combines electronic and organic alternative pop in a beautiful mix that is both cinematic and one with the elements. When she sings live, main-singer Erika Angell loops her voice and adds echo, which makes it truly mesmerizing and hauntingly calming particularly on tracks like Island and White Night. The more upbeat Museum (performed nowhere less than in a Museum) was equally enthralling with its heavy drum beat resonating loud within me. Thus:Owls was a fantastic musical discovery and the perfect fit to warm up the receptive crowd before Watson took the stage.
As for Patrick Watson, he was simply sublime and blew my mind. The minute he let out the first notes of the beautifully peaceful Lighthouse I was hooked by the sound of his voice and by the simple yet complex layers of sound emanating from him and his musicians. A true audio-visual experience, Watson’s performance was unpretentious and inviting, making great use of lighting to create shadows in an intimate space between the artist and public, blurring the lines between performer and audience.
Adding to the magic during the title track Adventures in Your Own Backyard, tiny white lights descended from the ceiling and flickered in the background evocative of a starry night outdoors. During a particular song, one of Watson’s musicians casually played the saw to my greatest surprise, playing on the backyard theme and at another moment in the show, I caught a glimpse of musician Simon Angell strumming his guitar with a toothbrush of all things! The show was filled with small touches of the sort enriching the overall performance and making it that much more special for the audience.
The talented singer-songwriter from Montreal delivered most songs off of his latest album Adventures in Your Own Backyard but he also threw in Big Bird in a Small Cage, The Great Escape and Je te laisserai des mots during the encore to everyone’s delight.
I am more than happy to have had the chance to attend a live performance by Patrick Watson and his group and this was seemingly the case for everyone else in the audience who gave the musicians a standing ovation before and after the encore.
Now that I’ve been seduced, I look forward to more soothing music for the soul from Mr. Watson and friends.