JJ Wilde + Billy Raffoul @ Le Studio TD

Scroll this

Did you ever go to a show and enjoy the supporting band more than the headliner?  Last April, when I went to see The Glorious Sons at MTelus, I was so blown away by JJ Wilde that after she left the stage, the night was anticlimactic.

In less than a year, JJ went from opening for Glorious Sons to opening for Kiss in France and is now headlining her own Canadian tour. (She’s from Kitchener, Ontario). And I got to see her again, this time at Le Studio TD.

Her opener, who is also Canadian, was Billy Raffoul (from Leamington, Ontario). I was expecting an acoustic set since his last two albums International Hotel and A Few More Hours At YYZ (both released in 2020), feature mostly slow sultry love ballads, but I was wrong. 

Billy came to rock Montreal, and that’s exactly what he did.  With his vintage right-handed red Fender (unusually restrung for a lefty) strapped to his lanky frame and his long lustrous mane cascading down his handsome face, he kicked off his set at full force and did not slow down. 

Billy immediately won me over as soon as he sang his first note.  If I weren’t right in front of the stage, I wouldn’t have believed that such a deep and gritty voice could emanate from a fresh-faced young man with a vocal range that went from Jack Johnson to Joe Cocker.  His timbre hit me like a shot of my favourite whiskey (Crown Royal Limited Edition), with notes of warm sweet caramel and a smoky aftertaste. 

It’s no wonder that his songs have reached over 63 Million streams. With each song, the crowd got more worked up, so by the time he sang “I’m Not A Saint,” Le Studio TD was definitely rocking. 

John Lennon’s Instant Karma was a fun surprise which got everyone singing along.  

Billy ended his set with his latest single, “We Could Get High,” with its upbeat tempo and nostalgic lyrics. A song that definitely sounds better live. As we were instructed to sing the joyful chorus we could get high, I couldn’t help but feel that Springsteen intensity, almost hoping he would pull someone up on stage to dance with him. 

I’m pretty sure that the next time Billy Raffoul comes to town, he will be headlining, and I will definitely attend.

  1. Forever 
  2. Bad For You 
  3. So Cool 
  4. Difficult 
  5. Could You Be Mine
  6. ?
  7. I’m Not A Saint
  8. Acoustic 
  9. Instant Karma!
  10. We Could Get High

There are some people that were born to perform. They radiate an electricity that can transform the energy of a large crowd, not just with their voice but in the way that they move and manipulate space.

When JJ and her band appeared, it was like when the cool kids arrive at a party and bring the booze. There was a collective agreement in the room that we were all there to have fun and maybe run off some rails.  

Looking fresh and fit in her baby pink pantsuit, which showed off her toned abs, with a can of White Claw in her hand, JJ smiled and warmly greeted the crowd.  She then headed to the back of the stage, facing her drummer, swaying around for a bit, and getting into the groove before opening with “Takes Me Back”.

I loved how she took her time, eased into it, and slowly built up the excitement of the room.  “Home” and “Off The Rails” had the perfect amount of attitude to give us all permission to let off some steam on a Friday night.  In addition to being a phenomenal singer/songwriter and performer, JJ has that rare gift where she can be both vulnerable and defiant at the same time.  Switching from the emotionally intense “Mercy” and “Someone Under You” to the audacious “The Rush” and “Best Boy” like a pro. 

We trust her and allow her to take the lead.

Confessing her love of cannabis had everybody cheering before she sang “Bushweed.”

 I may be a mess, but I’m in control. 

On more than one occasion, she reached out into the crowd and touched fans. One lucky young man had JJ mussing up his hair as she serenaded him with her brazen lyrics. 

Billy joined her for the encore to sing “Born To Die,” and it was magical.  She saved “Best Boy” for the end and then closed with “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” (Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty), which had the whole room joining in. 

Wilde didn’t just sing her songs at Le Studio TD but shared her stories and showed us her heart.  Bold and sexy, vulnerable and messy, JJ bared it all and left nothing to spare.  I didn’t exactly run off any rails, but I did have a hell of a good night. 

Review & photos – Annette Aghazarian 

Share this :

Submit a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.