Quantic Club Soda, Montreal QC, June 29

Quantic Club Soda, Montreal QC, June 29
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Will Holland (a.k.a. Quantic) has pursued an interesting career path in developing his personal brand of tropical funk electronics. Having been based in Colombia for the last several years, he's dug deep into the historical and current musicality of the diverse country, which has transformed his outlook and his art. His new album, Magnetica, is a career high point, reflecting the depth and breadth of his experiences but marrying them to the electronic roots of his craft. Thus, his live setup of guitar and accordion (along with a hardworking percussionist and sax player) was a welcome sight — there would at least be more buttons being pushed this evening than just "play" on his laptop.

Things started kind of bumpy with the challenging title track from Magnetica proving to be too tricky a guitar part for Quantic to handle live. But slamming forward with cumbia beats followed by a take on Peruvian chicha got everyone dancing. Mind you, both were delivered with unmistakeable kick drums, so you didn't really have to find an entry point to the rhythms, the groove found you. The big hit, "Sol Clap," is an instant classic and made everyone jump. Quantic proved to be a half decent accordionist and guitarist with a penchant for surf and spaghetti western sounds over propulsive beats that left room for all contributors, although a cameo by a vocalist got a little lost. The percussionist was a big plus, part visual focus and part hype man, a more caliente foil for Quantic's British cool.

With so many elements in his favour, however, certain song selections halted the show's momentum, especially dubby reveries from the fine but misplaced Flowering Inferno project and the featherweight "Painting Silhouettes" from Magnetica. When the show revolved around cumbia and disco salsa it seemed any audience would've dug it; if Quantic had thrown a few more bangers into the set list like we know he's got in his catalogue, this would've been a great show, not just a very good one.

Read our recent interview with Quantic here.