Vancouver natives The Boom Booms decided to pop into Montreal’s Bar Loic on their way to an appearance at Ontario’s Canadian Music Week festival. Though they are not a local band, they had all the trappings of a local show. It was held at a bar not traditionally associated with bands of their style (Latin pop, but not in the way you think), the doors were late to open, the soundcheck was as close to a full-on disaster as could be, and the opening act was a well-meaning, middle-aged fellow with a voice of gold saying hello to the various friends and family members that made up the otherwise small crowd.
Benedict Marsh called the crowd to attention at around 8:30, and it seemed like the show was finally ready to get going! Then he kept tuning, which proved difficult, considering he didn’t have a tuner with him. Local acts, man. God bless ‘em. When he did finally get going, his beautiful voice was enough to win over everyone in attendance, whether or not they were his family. His songs were given lengthy backstories and this, combined with the minimalist backdrop of his tiny classical guitar, made for a pleasantly intimate set. Songs like “Crazy Dolls” about hoping his daughter never loses the wonder of childhood and “This Car Won’t Drive Anymore” as a metaphor for a broken relationship, worked well as the kind of indie-acoustica you might hear playing through a particularly sentimental moment on your favorite episode of Riverdale.
His Justin Timberlake tribute song “Talk to me Baby” really did sound like it would have fit right in on Justified. (If you’re asking yourself whether or not that’s a good thing, go listen to more Justin Timberlake. You deserve to be happy.) He played his album RIVER|KID|MIX|TAPE in its entirety, complete with the closing cover of The Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place.” It really looked like he was hoping that people might know the song. They didn’t.
The Boom Booms were an entirely different beast. As a full five-piece, there was infinitely more sound emanating from their stage than from Marsh’s, even if the overall approach to songwriting was very similar. As soon as they hit the stage, everyone started dancing. One young lady in particular took it upon herself to make sure that no feet in the room were stagnant and that every pair of hands was clapping. Basically, she was the real MVP, and if anyone in The Boom Booms is reading this and knows who I’m talking about, seriously – hire this woman.
The name of their game is groove. A strong infusion of Latin influence (complete with sultry Spanish singing) made for the perfect summer’s eve soundtrack. Bassist Geordie Hart, in particular, spent the entire set pumping out chunky licks the likes of which make you say, “Oh yeah, that’s why bands have bassists.” Other covers and reinterpretations, including a decidedly different version of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” made sure that the crowd understood the future potential of this band. Hopefully, their next event will start on time!
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Kate Erickson