Published Dec 01, 2014Montreal's Club Balattou may very well be my new favourite venue, and was an oddly appropriate choice for Snowday's album launch party on Sunday night (November 30). In operation for over 20 years, the Montreal institution plays host to both the Festival Nuits D'Afrique and Mundial, maintaining its vocation to showcase world music. Lately they've been expanding their calling by including electronic-oriented acts, and Sunday's show was a good preview of what it has to offer for such events.
This was the third release party in as many nights for Snowday, having performed in Toronto and Ottawa the two previous nights, with Loopsy Dazy on hand to perform the opening slot on all three dates. The Toronto-based electronic trio perform, in their own words, "live looping organic electronic music," and you'd be hard pressed to find a more accurate description. Consisting of Mikey Dorje on guitar and synths, Eleanor Edgar on the violin and Caribou's Brad Weber on drums, their live set plays like an experimental play, with both Mikey and Eleanor sharing looping duties throughout, feeding off each other brilliantly. It was a great introduction to the night, and Loopsy Dazy was a more than appropriate tour-mate choice.
Snowday's self-released debut album, As We Travel, is a beautiful collection of instrumental ambient electronic music that makes for a great chillout companion that plays equally well as background music. But for their live set, longtime friends Cam Sloan and Chad Skinner made sure to bring the dynamism and bewitch the audience into fully delving into their world. With the help of drummer Tait Rowsell, the music took on a whole other dimension, making the album's instrumentation come alive.
They kicked off the set with album highlight "Walk Along These Rocks With Me," a perfect way to set the tone for the evening, with the track toeing the line between upbeat and poignant. Sloan picked up the guitar for album opener "The Seventh String," while Skinner performed on bass, but the mates would switch duties effectively throughout the set, with Sloan jumping on bass while Skinner would perform on keys. They enlisted violinist Jessie Lyonheart on many of the tracks, an inspired choice that added a gorgeous musical layer that felt like it was meant to be part of the project all along.
Many other instruments were thrown in, including maracas and tambourines, which managed to recreate the multiple musical inspirations found on As We Travel. And while the small venue was far from reaching capacity, Snowday performed with such verve and passion that those who were in attendance would be sure to remember the evening.
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