It was a beautiful evening in Montreal. I didn’t even need to wear my jacket as I walked over to Club Soda, ready to enjoy the Peach Pit show. I was greeted by a long line of people waiting to enter, and before I knew it the venue was filled with people far before the opener, Haley Blais was meant to grace the stage.
Here to get the night started on the right foot, Haley Blais and her band walked onto the stage as they were greeted by the crowd’s hollering voices. They had incredible energy, instantly grabbing your attention with a friendly vibe as they introduced their first song in their set, called “Rob the Original”, a very chill indie song from Haley’s record “Below the Salt” released in 2020.
Haley Blais made sure to let her personality shine through. She danced along with her bandmates and even dropped to her knees in front of her guitarist making pleading motions as she sang into her microphone. Her charming voice had plenty of surprises, able to reach controlled high-pitched notes that demanded the viewers’ attention. The crowd rewarded her greatly with loud cheers as they danced along to Haley’s music.
She took a moment to speak to the crowd, telling everyone about how Montreal intimidates her. “Everyone is so cool and pretty looking, it made me think a little harder on my outfit.”, she claims, gesturing to the clothing she had on, “Which ended up being biker shorts and leather boots.” Reassuring cheers were thrown her way, bringing her to smile and thank her audience.
After encouraging the crowd to sing along with her, Haley Blais performed a really fun cover of “Kiss Me”. It was really well-executed, and she had caught the crowd by surprise when she switched over to the chorus of “Silk Chiffon.” I love it when openers have a cover song on their set, it’s really fun to get a better idea of their style once you get to hear the twist they’ve sprinkled onto it, and I think Haley Blais did an excellent job at showing the crowd who she is through her performance.
Without a moment to waste, the four-piece band all the way from Vancouver BC sauntered onto the stage, bringing their high energy along with them. Even during warmer songs such as “Peach Pit” and “Black Licorice” the band kept a strong presence while they played their respected instruments. Singer Neil Smith and lead guitarist Christopher Vanderkooy have excellent chemistry. The two danced all over the stage, even pushing each other’s shoulders with their heads as they frantically strung their guitars.
Peach Pit’s stage presence was quite warm and friendly, Neil Smith told stories about what certain songs were about and interacted with the crowd by asking questions and pointing out individuals that would enthusiastically answer with a powerful cheer. They all seemed like genuinely good guys, up on stage to have fun as they perform the music they’ve written. They played a lot of fan favourites, earning collective cheering once the songs were introduced.
The audience danced around on the floor, it was really fun to watch from higher up. Seeing everyone smile and sing along to the lyrics made me think of how exhausting it was to be cooped up in our houses and apartments during lockdown, unable to go out into the world and release built-up energy through music and dance. It feels really good to be able to have that physical release once again, and seeing bands like Peach Pit live is an excellent way to be wrapped around a blanket of positivity.
Pointing behind him, Neil introduced old friends that were enjoying the show from backstage and explained his feelings of happiness to be able to see them again after such a long time. Throughout the entire show, I could see them dancing backstage, joking with each other and being silly while they enjoyed the excellent performance Peach Pit brought to Montreal. He had also explained his surprise at how many more listeners they’ve gained in Montreal, telling the story of one of their first gigs in this city that only hosted about 50 people. You could hear the genuine gratefulness in his voice, to which the crowd had cheered loudly in appreciation for his words.
Their set consisted of songs such as “Camilla, I’m at Home”, “Drop the Guillotine”, “Live at the Swamp”, and one that was dedicated to their good friend, both called “Vickie.” It was a performance filled to the brim with playful spirit. The band clearly loves what they do, that love shone so brightly through their practiced playing.
Once the band ended their set with “Shampoo Bottles” and “Hot Knifer”, they waved goodbye to their very loudly cheering audience and were shortly coaxed back out from backstage with the entire venue clapping and chanting the band’s name. To finish off the gig with a bang, Peach Pit gave the audience a three-song encore consisting of “Everything About You”, “Seventeen” and, finally, “Tommy’s Party.” Although the show was over, everybody in attendance left the venue with gleeful expressions, and a pep in their step to safely take them home.
Check out our interview with Haley Blais below:
Review – Jamie Siddall
Photos – Isabelle Oleksiuk