With their 2017 sophomore album, Blue Ceilings, under their belt, The Franklin Electric returned for a hometown show in Montreal, Quebec at MTelus. The show was put on in collaboration with Montréal en Lumière, and opening the night was indie/folk band Dan San from Belgium. Together, the bands put on a show for the masses. It was a feel good, hold-your-partner-tight-in-your-arms type of night; complete with a cool light show that also doubled as a front for crowd participation.
The folks of Dan San warmed things right up with their indie vibes. Their music was delivered with a delicacy and softness that hit right in the feels. If you want to know exactly what I mean by that, check out their most recent release: the 2016 album Shelter. The crowd was eating it up as the tunes fell perfectly into the Franklin Electric ballpark. Towards the end of their set, the band descended the stage into the crowd on the floor section with instruments in hand. With a violin, acoustic guitar, and vocals, they performed a song in the middle of the crowd, acoustic and unplugged. For the twenty or so people that got to hear it clearly, it must have been as intimate as things get in such a big venue as MTelus. All the people in the back must have thought the set to be done as you could hear them talking during the song. Waves of “shhhhhhh’s” only added to the noise pollution. Maybe not the best venue to try to play unplugged, but the band knew that and decided to do it anyway. Regardless, it made for an interesting moment for everyone in the venue.
The Franklin Electric then took the stage to an elated Montreal crowd. It’s always nice having local talent blow up to that kind of level. People seem to relate to the musicians on stage and there is a sense of pride that fills the room. The band fed off that energy and delivered their set with confidence and precision. Fans got to hear almost the entirety of Blue Ceilings, as the band played a solid two-thirds of the material from that album, including tracks like “Resistance,” “Walk With You,” and “Someone Just Like You.” In doing so, we got to see their versatility in an effort led by frontman Jon Matte, who sang, played guitar and trumpet, and was continually hopping behind the piano for songs like “Old Piano.” His fellow bandmates Martin Desrosby (bass), Ken Pressé (guitar), Adam Passalacqua (percussion) were also vital to the unit’s tight performance.
Adding to the performance was the light show provided by Montréal en Lumière and Pixmob. The crowd was more integral to the show than usual as they WERE the light show. Upon entering the venue, everyone was given a bracelet with an orb-like stone attached to it. The light show was programmed into the bracelets and effectively lit them up with specific colours and rhythms throughout the show. Instead of having cell phones supply the light, everyone was in sync with each other and the lighting on the stage. This added to the feeling of unity that connected all the Montrealers both on and off the stage.
The band made sure to include their most popular songs near the end of their set such as “I Know the Feeling” and “Unsatisfied,” much to the crowd’s delight. Matte took a few moments to thank everyone for coming out and to express how special it was for the band to come full circle with this album in their hometown. For their last encore song, they delivered a stripped down/ acoustic cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.” It was a nice treat to the fans that stayed until the end, and it had everyone leaving on a full stomach.
For those of you who enjoyed the show, and for those who missed it and want to something to dabble in, be sure to check out Montréal en Lumière as they still have a bunch of events planned for the next few weeks before the end of the season. Once again, I must say it’s great to see local talent rise to that level, but without people engaging in the music it is impossible. So, go out, see shows, support local talent and you’ll be sure to find something out there that’ll tickle your pickle.
Written by Ben Cornel
Photography by Marie-Emmanuelle Laurin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy