Coeur de Pirate / Samantha Savage Smith Knox United Church, Calgary AB, February 17

Coeur de Pirate / Samantha Savage SmithKnox United Church, Calgary AB, February 17
Photo: Chris Gee
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Béatrice Martin (aka Coeur de Pirate) and her band descended upon Calgary last night (February 17), bringing a propulsive and theatrical show to Knox United Church. The musicians gave their all as they walked concertgoers through the world of Coeur de Pirate, one that's equal parts delicate piano ballads and danceable epics.
 
Local musician Samantha Savage Smith was first to perform, the bluesy indie rocker's haunting vocals echoing on tracks such as "Higher Than Above," from her 2015 release, Fine Lines. Her catchy guitar lines provided a base from which her vocals could twist and turn in a unique and endearing fashion, and she applied her improved performance chops to songs such as "You Always Come To Mind" and "The Score" from her debut album, Tough Cookie. (She had retaught herself the latter earlier in the day.)
 
Then, it was time for Coeur de Pirate to take the stage. Dressed all in black — except for Martin, who wore a sparkly combination - the musicians quickly got down to business. Myriad projections added to the atmosphere of the show, everything from geometric shapes to flames and waves, which complimented Martin's fluid dance moves as she dazzled the audience with her theatricality and passion. The band opened with "Oceans Brawl" from Martin's latest release, Roses, then proceeded to share a balanced mix of songs from throughout her career with the enthusiastic crowd.
 
The playful "Golden Baby" from 2011's Blonde was juxtaposed with the melancholy of "C'était salement romantique," while Martin and company upped the tempo for the poppy "I Don't Want To Break Your Heart." "Drapeau blanc" felt fit for the club, while Martin later performed her take on Top 40: a forlorn cover of Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home."
 
In one particularly touching moment, Martin told the crowd about a song she wrote while in nearby Banff. Dedicated to her daughter, "The Way Back Home" reflected upon the difficulties of being a touring musician and mother. The band ended the night with a performance of the hit "Comme des enfants," followed by the hopeful and catchy "Carry On."
 
The show was a testament to Martin's ability to bring Francophones, Anglophones and those of all backgrounds together in appreciation of musical breadth and depth.