Jon Bap + Tirzah @ Theatre Rialto – 26th September 2019

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Jon Bap

Review: Jon Bap and Tirzah treat audiences to a night of experimental new music at Theatre Rialto for the second night of independent festival POP Montreal  

Texas-based producer and musician Jon Bap is the first to take to the stage at the beautiful Theatre Rialto. It’s a grand and imposing venue that could add drama to even the most amateur of artists. 

Jon Bap’s musical career began when he was just a child, singing with his church choir. After a brief career as a visual artist, he turned his creative expression to music. This artistic flair remains evident in his music and performance, as well as his album artwork.  His work is daringly experimental and he doesn’t hesitate to take risks, playing with offbeat rhythms and off-key sounds. 

Throughout his performance, he uses his voice as an instrument, switching from words to noises that sometimes don’t even sound human. There’s a rawness to this and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen or heard before. 

His more conservative songs remind me of the likes of Hozier and other chart-topping male acoustic singers. These are the songs that resonate with me the most and the ones I want to hear more of. His work is challenging and progressive and because of this, at times inaccessible. As an audience member, I sometimes felt lost and found the clashing of rhythm and bizarre sounds jarring. Although arguably this is the point. 


After a long wait which saw many audience members disappear to the gig happening in the Hall next door, Tirzah emerges from the shadows and shyly stand centre stage. Her laid-back casual look matching her effortlessly cool music.

The London producer wades her way through her 2018 album ‘Devotion’. Throughout the performance, Tirzah uses a loop pedal to make her soft voice and poetic lyrics echo around the theatre, entrancing the audience.

A self-confessed introvert, Tirzah was in no way born for the stage. A bedroom musician, her work is interesting and unique. She plays with catchy beats and simple, heartfelt lyrics that stick and make you think. There is something captivating about both Tirzah and Jon Bap’s performances. Both artists don’t seem focused on making music that sounds good, but more on experimenting and pushing the boundaries of abstract creative expression. 

Review – Kate Spree 

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