Coming in to the Mercury Lounge this past Friday night, May 24, I had no real expectations other than to let live music carry me away for the evening. A handful of people gathered at the venue for an intimate show of music with Mike Dubue of the Hilotrons and André M. Bluteau.
Having heard the headliner’s name a few times, I knew that André M. Bluteau was a local alternative folk singer-songwriter, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to see him live until then.
To open the evening, Mike Dubue, founding-member of the local new wave/pop group Hilotrons, gave a stripped-down solo set that turned into a piano/drum duo when halfway through his performance he called Jamie Kronick, drummer with André M. Bluteau, over to accompany him.
Dubue’s setlist included the beautiful song Emergency, followed by the lovely Runaway Heart, Not There Tonight and She Knows My Condition along with a whole lot of random talking about poop (of all things!) that the crowd certainly could’ve done without. The thing with artists is that they’re often very talented, but sometimes awkward individuals who once in a while end up talking too much during their set, and this tends to take away from the overall performance. Just a small observation.
Following Dubue’s opening set, André M. Bluteau immediately came on stage for his performance. For this show, the lead singer-songwriter was joined by musicians Jamie Kronick on drums, Gabrielle Giguere of HerHarbour on soundboard, bells and vocals, Pierre-Luc Clément on bass, and Philippe Charbonneau on stand-up bass.
Bluteau, who admits to being an unsocial person with complete honesty, instantly charmed me with the unique sound of his deep, but soft raspy voice. His raw yet humble talent, clearly palpable, delicately resonated within me as I took in this new musical discovery with great pleasure. It was a beautiful performance, and the musicians complemented Bluteau’s presence perfectly.
He opened his set with Paper Bags after which he followed with Green Eyes, Midas Touch/All Our Guns Are Drawn, We’ll All Be The Dogs and You, songs found on his first album Crooked Smiles released in 2010. The introverted Bluteau concluded the hour-set with a solo encore about his family members, to the crowd’s delight.
Despite being a bit short, it was truly the ideal show to attend on a cool rainy night in Ottawa.
To get familiar with André M. Bluteau, visit his Bandcamp page and take a listen to Crooked Smiles while we await Sons, the singer-songwriter’s anticipated upcoming new release. You can also check it out below.