Angel Forrest @ Corona Theatre – 11th March 2016

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On the night of her 49th birthday, and also the launch of her new record, Angel’s 11, Angel Forrest and company are to be broadcast live, worldwide, across the internet.

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The evening began with a few words and a tee-shirt give-away conducted by CHOM (Montreal’s rock station; 97.7 FM) DJ and host of the Black Cat Alley, which focuses on blues music and devotes a good portion of air time to local talent, Randy Renaud. Ironically enough, I only recently discovered Angel Forrest myself, by way of Renaud’s Black Cat Alley. This was to be a one band affair , which is to say no opening act had been booked; instead every song on the night featured a guest musician, all of whom had contributed to the new record. Each track has its own distinct flavour, probably due to the revolving door of guitarists coming and going. Although others are on the stage for the duration. Singer, guitarist and lover Denis Coulombe, for one. The drummer and brass section also played the gig’s duration.

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At two separate intervals, the crowd got together to serenade Forrest with renditions of Happy Birthday; the second time around bringing out some emotion in the birthday girl. It wouldn’t be the only time a few tears filled her eyes, as her own lyrics got the best of her as she belted out the powerful ending chorus of Goodbye. She vanished offstage to gather for composure, I assume, for a few quick moments, leaving Coulombe acting shy in amusing fashion.

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To wrap up the night, or at least the onstage portion of it, all twelve guitarists and harmonica player that had shared the stage at various moments on the night were led back one by one, in the arms of a gaggle of ravishing beauties. This finale had a bit of everything; a song and a quick solo tidbit from each musician in line. Coulombe himself had a surprise for his lover, bringing out a massive birthday cake.

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“The bar stays open until we all leave” exclaimed Coulombe, to the hooray of the crowd, the majority of whom remained after the show for a celebratory cocktail or two. Some looked deep into the celebrations already, as drinks spilled to the floor and sloshed up walls and onto people trying to manoeuvre about the gathering.

This was surely a birthday party Angel Forrest won’t soon forget.

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The whole show can be streamed for free over at angelforrest.ca

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Review & photos – Kieron Yates

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