Cindy Lee Casa Del Popolo, Montreal QC, November 18

Cindy Lee Casa Del Popolo, Montreal QC, November 18
Photo: Luke Orlando
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Cindy Lee is the project of Patrick Flegel, formerly of Women. Typically a band, last night (November 18) it was just Flegel, who took the stage wearing a white fur coat, a dazzling rhinestone shirt, lamé skirt and short bobbed wig. Through a mic laden with an almost insane amount of treble and reverb, Flegel sang heart-breaking torch songs that sounded like a haunted transmission from the 1950s.

Flegel mixed girl-group pop, Judy Garland and just a hint of Chad VanGaalen for an utterly captivating performance, despite the fact that he was only singing to pre-recorded tracks from his 2015 album Act of Tenderness. For some, that might have seemed cheap, too easy, but alone onstage, Flegel conveyed desperate loneliness so well through his yearning songs, his eyes closed until he finally smiled and opened them during between-song applause, that it felt warm and inviting.

Sure, he wafted in and out of tune, and at times, the performance was more cacophony than melody (even Flegel plugged his ears at one point), but it was intensely likeable and vulnerable. The ramshackle set was sweet and yearning; it was hard not to feel something.