Friday was one of the nicest fall evenings I’ve seen in a while; it was warm and the city was buzzing. On tap for this night was an acoustic set by Joey Cape (Lagwagon), Chris Cresswell (The Flatliners) and Brian Wahlstrom (Scorpios) as part of the One Week Records Tour.
“What is One Week Records?” you might ask? Well, it’s a brilliant project, created by Mister Joey Cape himself, where he invites an artist to his home for 7 days to record 10 songs in his home studio. The idea here is to not over-produce the music, and get the true feel of an artist. This, as Cape explains, sums it up pretty well, “The goal here at One Week Records is to produce high quality recordings that are an honest representation of an artist’s creativity.”
So, normally when you see the likes of Joey or Chris, you know you’re in for one hell of a good time with bodies and booze flying all over. What happens when they bring it back to basics with an acoustic set? If you were at this show or any other of the shows on this tour, you obviously know that this works very well, and continue to flow. Let me refresh your memory of what transpired on this night at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre.
The opening act was Montreal native Jo Bergeron, who also went down to San Francisco to record with One Week Records. Starting a show can be a hard gig, especially in an acoustic setting. Mr. Bergeron did brilliantly by singing his heart out. He tried to capture the crowd but unfortunately they seemed more interested in speaking amongst themselves rather than listening to this fine gentleman. Annoyingly, I had a hard time appreciating this artist’s art as the murmur of the crowd was too loud. This fucked it up for those who came to listen to some good music. Shame on the crowd. As his set dwindled down, Joey Cape and Brian Wahlstrom joined him on stage for one song.
After a short break, I was surprised to see all three artists take the stage, as I expected them to come out individually. The crowd was delighted. Joey was sporting a Montreal Expos hat just given to him by Hugo Mudie, vocalist for The Sainte Catherines. Joey spoke about how much he loves Montreal while bringing Mudie on stage for a guest performance. It was a great way to start the show. The trio continued with a few more songs which were followed by individual sets.
What I loved the most about this show was how much fun the guys were having. They truly wanted to be out there and entertain the crowd, making time to tell stories and making you feel part of the experience. We found out Joey and Chris got new shoes, and that Chris was in a drinking mood as he was always bringing drinks over when he wasn’t performing.
Brian Wahlstrom is one talented keys player with a beautiful voice filled with emotion. He was on point and a joy to listen to. The highlight was his version of the No Use For a Name song, “The Answer is Still No”, a great tribute to the late Tony Sly. One could feel the presence of Tony in the room at that moment and many others throughout the night. Brian also had a sticker on his keys which said, ‘Never Forget Tony Sly.’
Chris Cresswell took his turn, rallying the troops with a great cover of the Dead To Me song, “Arrhythmic Palpitations”. Chris, being from Toronto, informed the crowd that he was excited to be back in Montreal so soon. Having played Quebec City the night before, he told us that it was hot as fuck there, as if they’d played in Satan’s Anus. Yes, he said that and is standing by it. He was funny and charming, and his voice was a joy to listen to, accompanied by some feel good, breezy acoustic rock. He even dedicated his song “Little Bones” to his cat.
Finally, it was Joey Cape’s turn to shine. He was brilliant out there with his smooth vocals. During “Know It All”, there were a few moments of bad feedback, but, as a professional, he didn’t let it faze him at all. The crowd sang along to most of the songs as well, making the experience even better. Joey was in control, and with songs like “The Contortionist” and “Race Car Driver”, displayed his craft. The highlight of the night was his beautiful rendition of “Lifer”, dedicated to Tony Sly.
Tony would have been proud! What a magical night!