It has been a while since I went on a music discovery journey and last Tuesday I decided to do just that. How? By taking in an electro pop concert at Le National in Montreal, QC featuring Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson. I went into this show with an open mind and spirit. I left there happy with my new discoveries. This is the story of that evening!
As I got to the venue, I made my way to the front so I could get positioned to get a few shots of the opening act Zara Larsson. Many people were already there waiting in anticipation for the 2008 Talang winner (Sweden’s version of Got Talent TV show). At only ten-years-old, she won the admiration of a country and now at 19, she is trying to win over the world. The lights dimmed and it was time for her performance. She came out with four dancers and started out with the first single off her album So Good, “Lush Live.” It was a great energetic pop song. She had a nice ten song set including a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and her latest single “So Good” featuring Ty Dolla $ign. There is no doubt that she is destine to be a huge pop star; she has a smile to die for and a great voice. The only disappointment from her set was that there was no live music accompanying her, just pre-recorded tracks which took away from the performance.
The time had come for Clean Bandit to hit the stage. They came out with the band playing “Uk Shanty” to the delight of the crowd and that delight continued after “Stronger” and “Cologne” when they invited Zara Larsson out to join them for their hit “Symphony.” The performance was strong and they definitely were on their game that night. I’ll be the first to admit pop is not my favourite genre of music but if done right it can be super good. What I really enjoyed about Clean Bandit is that it is as original as it is a crossover band with classical music. It was refreshing to see a cello and a violin in the mix, and Grace Chatto is a master of the cello. Some of the stand out songs were “Come Over,” the massive hit “Rockabye ft Sean Paul,” “Tears,” and, their first hit, “Rather Be.” The feeling I got from Clean Bandit was that I was seeing the Spice Girls meets Mozart; a wild mix.
The one puzzling thing for me from that night was, that set featured three singers and I couldn’t find any information about the other two singers that were on this tour.
It was a good night for fans of electro pop. Look out for Zara Larsson at this year’s Osheaga. And definitely look up Clean Bandit as they are heating up the charts and sure to make more people dance in the future.
Written and Photographed by Eric Brisson
*edited by Danielle Kenedy