​Elliot Maginot Theatre Rialto, Montreal QC, November 18

​Elliot Maginot Theatre Rialto, Montreal QC, November 18
Photo: Luke Orlando
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I'll be completely honest: I'm not a fan of the kind of music Elliot Maginot makes.

It's not "bad," per se — What does that even mean? — but it's the kind of sweeping, faux-grandeur rock that made the names of bands like Snow Patrol, Coldplay and the Fray; it's background music for the moment your favourite Grey's Anatomy character gets their heart broken. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't convinced by his full-band set last night (November 18) at his M for Montreal gig at the Rialto Theatre; really, it's hard to find fault with his live show.

Speaking in between songs in French banter, the crowd screamed for almost everything Maginot said, even if it was indiscernible to Anglophone ears. Mixed to a T, the Montreal singer and his band channelled the kind of hard-wrought emotion that makes bands like Coldplay and the Fray a magnet for sensitive types, so the adulation they received from the crowd was understandable. The songs are pretty, if not particularly catchy, but they were played to perfection. Maginot and his backup guitarist lent a certain depth to the songs, with one ringing out Jonny Buckland-esque, single-note riffs while the other held down rhythm; a secondary percussionist, meanwhile, added necessary flavour and dynamism to the performance, often clattering the rim of a snare to juxtapose the steady thump of the drummer. It was, without a doubt, effective — their penultimate song, especially.

Individually, none of the musicians are masterful, necessarily — it's all fairly straightforward chords and 4/4 time — but that's not the point. Elliot Maginot's performance was haunting, melodramatic, like Phil Collins in his prime, meaning that there's plenty of time left for him to perfect their craft.

Grey's Anatomy's the limit.