Vundabar + Runnner @ Bar le Ritz

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This was my first concert at Bar le Ritz, and I had been really looking forward to this one. A friend of mine mentioned to me about a week and a half before the show that they had gotten a ticket, so naturally, I took the review so I could go with them and have a good excuse to write.

We sat outside the venue since they were blasting the air conditioning in there and we were freezing. While sitting outside, we were joking around, pointing at any indie looking guy around us jokingly asking the other “is that Vundabar?”, until the both of us looked at a group of guys in silence. My friend then turned to me and said “Okay, that’s actually Vundabar.”

Runnner

The very moment that the members of Runnner got onto stage, I knew that I’d absolutely love them. Just before their set had started, my friend and I took a look at their merch. They had a cute array of shirts and sweaters with some of their cheeky lyrics printed on the front, my favourite being “We’re in your kitchen. Talking shit about our friends and eating chicken.” from their song “Monochrome”.

They were beautiful performers. Excellently portraying raw emotions through the instruments they played. The lead singer’s voice was captivating, all the while comforting. The venue was practically empty but most of the people danced along to their music, which the members of Runnner made sure to express their gratitude for.

After mentioning that Montreal was their third to last tour date, Runnner’s singer pointed to the merch table and mentioned that they would be situated there to say hi to whoever decided to pop by. “Oh, and if you’re trying to find us on spotify or whatever other app and you can’t find us, that’s because it’s Runnner with three N’s.” He spoke quietly into his microphone. “Not to be confused with Runner with two N’s.”

Once their set was over, my friend and I were talking about how much we loved their performance. We mentioned their calm energy and the relatableness of their songs, but what the two of us truly agreed on was that the members of Runnner just clearly are meant to be in a band together. Everything they did just worked. They had incredible energy together and their communication was so fluid. I haven’t been able to stop listening to them since I saw them.

Give their album “Always Repeating” a listen. It’s based on feeling isolated, anxious and foundationless, yet the album is backed up with a great amount of charm. It was excellent to hear some of the songs live, and hearing them isolated in my own ears gave that full feeling in my chest more depth.

Vundabar

Now, my friend knows a lot more about Vundabar than I do, and while driving to the venue they kept telling me how much fun this show was gonna be. Of course, I believed them, who am I if I don’t believe my dear friend? But I honestly didn’t anticipate dancing that much. Vundabar knows how to put on a damned SHOW!

To start their set, they walked onto stage and immediately began playing “Acetone”. They had excellently high energy from the start. They’re really just three goofy guys with a strong love for music. The love has to be strong for them to have started the band in high school.

Vocalist and guitarist Brandon Hagen is such a charmingly kooky guy. He played along in a lot of banter with his audience, barking into the microphone, spontaneously squeaking, and pretending like he had something to say but then just stayed silent for a long time before barking. The crowd ate it up and matched his energy with ease. Bar le Ritz was filled with weirdos and I absolutely loved every moment of it. Either through dancing along or barking right back, I had such a good time. When I looked around at everyone who surrounded me, they all seemed to be having the time of their lives too.

They continued on with a few songs such as “Chop”, crowd favourite “Alien Blues”, and “Petty Crime”. I swear the energy never had the chance to get down. “I won’t lie, I was soooo tired.” said Hagen as he tuned his guitar. His lips curled and exposed his teeth in a cheeky smile. “Now I’m squirreling.” He continues, earning a round of cheering from the crowd. “I can’t stop wiggling!”

Vundabar performed a lot of quirks while up on stage, most of which would only be funny if you were there to see it yourself. Drummer Drew McDonald had excellent comedic timing with hitting a certain synth button, triggering “Darude” by Sandstorm to interrupt Hagen while he was speaking. They all had a really fun chemistry together, each of them are clearly close and trusting of one another, and completely comfortable with fooling around in a venue filled with fans.

The Vundabar show was the start of an excellent week of concerts for me. My friend and I had two more concerts lined up for that week after this one, and I honestly am so glad that we got to start it off with Vundabar. They set the bar on the right foot, and got me so excited for the rest of my week. If you missed Vundabar, you better be sure to make it to their next Montreal show. They’re truly talented musicians, and their charm is sure to grab hold of your affection.


Writer: Jamie Siddall

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