Feist Metropolis, Montreal QC - January 17, 2006

Feist Metropolis, Montreal QC - January 17, 2006
As pleasant as her album is, and as charming as the lady can be in interviews, I can't really get behind Feist. She achieves an alluring balance with her rich but vulnerable voice and her quaint "boo hoo" sound, but for all their charm, her songs leave a slightly meek, wispy aftertaste, especially live. The set began with a spotlight on Feist, solo at centre stage, looking a bit like a rag doll behind that massive red Gibson ES 335. Her band (bass, drums, keys, trumpet and sax) cut in when they were illuminated halfway through the song, a routine that repeated itself throughout the show. Another recurring sight was the live looping that allowed Feist to back herself up with either guitar or excessively layered vocal harmonies — actually, the sheer frequency of this process was excessive in its own right. It's often interesting to watch an artist at work, but not quite so often. During the show's more quiet moments, particularly the solo intros and the handful of songs Feist played alone in their entirety, crowd chatter was clearly audible. The audience was obviously itching for familiar songs from Let It Die, which were scattered throughout the show. At least half the set consisted of new songs that fit the same mould as their predecessors, a featherweight tangle of rock, blues, jazz and modern lounge that's passable but somehow unsatisfying. Her lighter numbers strike a chord a little too close to Canada's litany of female faux-jazz singers, while her grittier, guitar-led tunes felt like PJ Harvey-lite. The last song of the main set, bolstered by a lively canned beat and the entire opening band (Paso Mino) on guitar and percussion, was a too little too late. Call it apples and oranges, but I couldn't help but compare Feist's show to Martha Wainwright's, which was superior in every way but size. Still, much of the crowd ate it up and showered Feist with applause. Meanwhile, a girl standing in front of me was showered with the puke of a passer-by running for the bathroom (the girl later got a free Feist T-shirt). Wasted at 10:30 p.m. at a show like this? At least, I had a better time than them.