Chocolat Mainstage Tent, Sackville NB, July 31
Published Aug 01, 2016Lest it's been forgotten that New Brunswick houses quite the French-speaking population, Montreal's Chocolat hit the Sappy Mainstage to represent. The five-piece, who were on a hiatus from 2010 to 2014, brought their looping, swirling and shimmering sound as the last act of the late afternoon.
"We had car troubles coming here, at three in the morning. We found a man named Dennis, he was sent from God. He had nice hands that fixed our engine. He was strong, but had the heart of a sheep you'd say? Nice guy," frontman Jimmy Hunt said, charming the audience with his sentiment.
Chocolat are an eclectic mix who make equally eclectic music: maniac drummer, Evan Sharma, looked to be plucked straight out of the early '70s; bassist Ysael Pépin evoked '80s hair metal with his marvellous long curly mess covering his face; and Hunt's '60s feel and amusingly sporting a red lei.
Their set went from psychedelic jam sessions with plenty of wah wah pedal and drawn-out melodic breaks, to complete rock freakouts breaking down to a slow pace before switching it up entirely, to new songs that featured keyboardist Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux jumping in on saxophone.
The audience responded excitedly following the more manic moments, with Lamarche-Ledoux shaking his visibly sore hands after some decidedly fast working of the keys. The chugging "Burn Out" (in the same rock vein as Tame Impala's "Elephant"), which took slightly eerie turns, had one man in the crowd air-guitaring along, with the biggest smile on his face. Et voila, Chocolat, you've won them over, car trouble or not.