After a dreary two-year hiatus Montreal clubs are finally back in full swing and I can’t think of anyone better to light up the stage like a ray of sunshine than local jazzy/soul chanteur Clerel.
The sold-out @lestudiotd (formerly l’Astral) was buzzing with excitement on Thursday night as 900 hopefuls crowded the standing room only floor in anticipation of some live music.
Montreal/Haitian DJ and super high-energy artist Gayance wasted no time getting the party started right quick. “Gayence” is the creole word for joyfulness and rightfully so.
In case anyone was wondering what Clerel has been up to for the last two years, we all found out as soon as he hit the stage. They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but Clerel had other plans.
Smiling sweetly, dressed in simple black jeans and a black buttoned-up shirt and Converse sneakers. His understated style only added to his super chill vibe which made the event seem less formal.
He casually addressed the crowd as though we were a few hundred of his closest friends and then he did that thing that great artists do. He captured our attention and slowly seduced us with his smooth and silky voice.
He began his set with the sweet and serene “What I Like About You” and gradually built the excitement with some lovely acoustic versions from his 2019 EP “Songs From Under A Guava Tree”.
Charming the audience with personal backstories in between songs in both English and French, Clerel projected an ease and finesse that was genuine.
I really enjoyed some of his French tracks like the harmonious “Sourire” and the retro “Le Tour” but it was “Lonely Dance” that made me get off my chair and pretend that I was at a beach party.
I thought that “Blackstone” was the final song since it’s the most popular (it sounded better than it did on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, especially with a full band.) I was wrong.
Closing his set with a bang, Mr. Clerel decided to cover Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”. And I do mean bang. This is not the type of song that just anyone can sing. You really have to own it, or else you’re just imitating the original.
Pouring every ounce of soul and flavour into his performance, Clerel encapsulated an entire vibe, transcending genres, decades and language, proving that great songs like great artists are timeless.
What I Like About You
Talking About Love
Story of a Scar
Let’s get it on (Marvin Gaye)
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March 31, 2021