steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


Triple Burner, T. Griffin Coraline, and Esmerine

Mar 25, 2006

@ The Pines

part of April 2006 update

To get to The Pines you have to navigate your way through an industrial district (actually Griffintown, a since-deserted 19th century Irish community with a slew of ghost stories surrounding it), find an unmarked door in a poorly-lit street, climb a series of stairs up to the top, and walk down a corridor until you hit room 205. It's all very sterile until you step inside, where you're confronted with an elegantly lit and wonderfully-decorated loft space just big enough to house seventy or so sitting patrons and three bands.

After a quick opening act I missed most of (pretty self-indulgent but she had a great voice), Triple Burner took the stage to much fanfare. While this was the second time I saw this duo play, and the set was essentially the same as it was a month ago, the venue was much more tight and personal on this occasion. And, besides, this band is so good they stand up to repeated listens - the flawless fretwork of Harris Newman combines perfectly with Bruce Cawdron's percussion and bowed xylophone. The music is instrumental but catchier than you can imagine... it had every member in my entourage pining to buy an album (not due out until June, sadly).

Brooklyn's T. Griffin Coraline came up next, and this was an act I had heard nothing about previous to this show. Appropriately, they blew us away. Led by some incredible boy/girl harmonies, folky guitar work, emotional strings, and what the band refers to as a "junk store electronic vibe," this duo endeared the audience to them instantly. If you think you'd like a more hopeful, folk-themed Low sound, give these guys a listen immediately. I picked up an album and chatted briefly with the very friendly and humble guitarist right afterwards, so look for a review of their new disc shortly.

Esmerine, that famed Godspeed side project, were up last, and sadly the place had emptied out somewhat as the subway was about to shut down for the night. We stayed, though, and it was certainly worth it. This band started off with a lengthy drone before breaking into a number of pretty compositions. They combined cello, bass guitar, drums, and xylophone into one sweeping, cinematic brew - this is the sort of music that needs to be seen live, as recordings never seem to capture the true essence of things. The whole set had an informal but organized feel, capped off by the final song which featured some truly heavenly interplay between two sets of bells.

Overall, the show ended much later than expected - but who was going to complain? This was truly a wonderful night, and probably one of the best concerts I've been to in Montreal. The folks responsible for The Pines definitely need to put on more shows, because their atmosphere and their musical taste are both impeccable.

Matt Shimmer