Donny Benét with Party Nails – Live at L’Escogriffe – February 4, 2020 – Montreal, QC

Have you ever watched a “B” movie and thought it was excellent? That’s what it feels like when Donny Benét plays. It’s cheesy as fuck, and people love it. The Australian singer packed Montreal’s L’Escogriffe for the opening night of his tour with supporting act Party Nails… On a Tuesday night! Slow clap. 

He did so without any backing musicians. Double slow clap. I’m telling you, this guy oozes… Charisma! 

The night began with tour opener Party Nails, and they were a nice surprise. This female duo from L.A. packs more punch than you’d expect. Their 80’s synth-pop sound complements Donny nicely. They’re tight and punchy, with catchy melodies, and they bring just enough cheese to the platter. Their music is very formulaic and poppy, but that’s OK, especially when you’re opening for The Don! After a strong alt-rock start, singer-guitarist Elana Belle Carroll put down her six-string for a couple of synth-heavy songs with LOTS of backing tracks. I was glad when she picked it back up, but I’m sure others didn’t mind the synthness. She went on to sing the live debut of “Emeralds (On the Razor’s Edge)” – a real treat! Her nasally, high voice kind of reminds me of AQUA’s Lene Nystrøm. At the end of a solid and well-appreciated set, Party Nails closed off with Come Again – another banger with awesome lyrics. They’re in my streaming downloads now!

And then, of course, THE DON! One thing that sticks out at this guy’s shows is how much people seem to like him. He was loudly screamed at by his rabid and rambunctious fans the moment he stepped on stage – but that was only to set his gear up! After a short intermission, we got to see the man in action, and again, it was… Peculiar!

Donny brought a type of energy to this evening that I was not expecting. His music is good, so I was hoping to see a full band. Instead, he showed up alone on stage with only his keyboard and some backing tracks. Somehow, this minimalist ensemble produced music that got people dancing. Donny’s aura also sets him apart. Bald and middle-aged, with an exemplary mustache and a flair for crowd banter, it’s easy to understand why he is liked.

Even though comic music is generally not my thing, Donny’s songs are well-executed and aesthetically consistent. I like them on their own. The fact that one song is an ode to Donny’s habit of eating “Second Dinner”, and another to “Working Out” is secondary to me. They are clever, though! If comic music IS in fact your thing, definitely check this guy out. He’ll be back in Montreal for sure, because we ARE, after all, the poutine capital of the world and he didn’t plan on eating any after the show because it was the first one of his North American tour. He got a couple of “boos” for that one!

Donny doesn’t take himself too seriously. It totally works for people when he says things like “you can come kiss my [author’s note: bald as an eagle] head at the merch table later”! People eat that stuff up. Great job, Donny! We need more sweethearts like you in the music industry and in the world in general. I’m certain that if more people knew how to make and take jokes, this fucked-up world would be a better place. Be more like Donny.

10/10 show, would definitely eat second dinner with Donny. Party Nails, you’re invited too. Poutine’s on me!

Written by Henri Brillon
*Edited by Dominic Abate

About Henri Brillon 25 Articles
Don't let Henri's conventional style fool you; there's a maze of subtle sounds in that noggin of his. After discovering his dad's records and CDs, Henri became a lover of classic hard rock. He then found his true passion for any music that breaks the rules: progressive, psychedelic, improvisational, metal, experimental and more. At concerts, the musical experience is equally as important to Henri as the intellectual one; good shows should trigger personal reflexion and deep questions! When he's not busy feeding the mainstream monster as web editor at The Beat 92.5, Henri assumes bass guitar duties for Montreal pop-funk band Neon Rise. He's also been known to strum out the occasional acoustic folk ballad under his own name – sometimes in English, sometimes in French. Henri dabbles in photography and videography, and has been an avid skier his entire life.

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