Paupière Katacombes, Montreal QC, November 19

Paupière Katacombes, Montreal QC, November 19
Photo: Luke Orlando
Being the first act in a too-bright venue can be difficult, but Paupière tried valiantly. After asking for smoke from the machines on either side of the Katacombes' stage, the synth-pop trio launched into their set and warmed up quickly. By their second song — a thumping, New Order-sequel synth jam — they were dancing, and encouraged the audience to do the same.

Pierre-Luc Bégin's voice wasn't quite the equal of either of his band mates, singer Julia Daigle and keyboardist Éliane Préfontaine, but through an effects-laden mic, it made a serviceable counterpoint to their leads. "Elle et Lui," a highlight from their recent EP Jeunes instants, was lively and colourful, and they complemented the slower-burning "Cinque heures" with slinky dance moves. Its title track, "Jeunes instants," was the band's best vocal performance.

Of the three, Bégin's passion was the most intense; in addition to slamming his electronic drum kit throughout, he hopped over the monitors and off the stage at one point to instigate an audience clap-along that probably would have worked if their set were later, the audience slightly boozier or their set just a little more emphatic — it sometimes lacked a strong pulse.
By the end of their performance the crowd had loosened up, and a small dance party revelled in front of the stage. Bégin, too; though it elicited cheers, taking off his shirt for the last song of their set felt contrived and cheesy.

It's not that Paupière didn't play a fine set; they just need more time to find bigger audiences, and maybe to hone in a little closer on what kind of band they want to be.