The Barr Brothers Loto-Quebec Stage at Parc de la Francophonie, Quebec City QC July 13
Published Jul 16, 2012Prior to his set at Quebec City's Festival d'été, Brad Barr admitted he had his insecurities: the performance was only the Barr Brothers' second outdoor show of the year. He promised a half set's worth of new songs -- which could risk alienating their audience -- and then, there was the issue of translating the Barrs' intimate, complex folk into a large-scale summer spectacle.
Such trepidations were put quickly to rest. Taking the stage at sunset, the Montreal foursome quickly displayed why they're a cut above standard-issue folk-fest fare. First, there was the evident chemistry between Sarah Page's celestial harp and Barr's roving guitar, which intertwined tightly to jaw-dropping results. Then, there were the crowd favourites -- Barr spotlessly delivered "Beggar in the Morning," whose warm intimacy, incidentally, is built for balmy pleine aire sway-alongs. And finally, the band's improvisational penchant -- the bread and butter of the Slip, the Barr Brothers' jazzy, noisy project -- transformed the bluesy swagger of "Lord, I Can't Keep from Crying" into a meandering, bottom-heavy stoner jam in what would be their set's finest moment.
It was a moment that would make Black Mountain proud -- and completely unexpected for those predicting a set of headphone-ready folk pop. In a word: Impressive.