Jordi Rosen / Crackpot La Sala Rossa, Montreal QC - January 13

"The moon is in Pisces," said Jordi Rosen, singer, songwriter and accordionista by night, Tarot-card reader by day, forecasting a dreamy period that might inspire people to seek out escapist entertainment. She also said that the moon would enter Aries overnight, leaving little time to enjoy it. The crowd at La Sala Rossa, many of them friends and family of the musicians on stage, seemed content to spend those remaining hours in the company of these bands. Launching her sophomore CD, Lotus, Rosen and her almost-all-female ensemble played first. Overall, Rosen's music is pleasantly light, leisurely and lyrically upbeat, despite the sad streaks that taint her melodies, and the inherent melancholy of the accordion. Alongside highlights from the new album, such as the mantra-tastic "Monkeys and Monks," was "Caravan," a murky gypsy number from her 2001 debut, Madame Xavier. Perennial Montreal musicians Joellen Housego, Andrea Revel and Lisa Gamble, all singer-songwriters in their own right, joined Rosen in celestial harmonies and played violin, keys, banjo and rudimentary drums, while the sporadic guitar contributions of Crackpot's Chris Burns added appropriate tension to some songs and awkward noise to others. Despite her band's occasional flubs, Rosen was all smiles, her hands occupied with Carmen, the deep red accordion that completely obscured her neck and torso, contracting and expanding like a big, lurid lung. Rosen sings "Let's go see Crackpot" in one of her new songs, but friendship is the only tie that binds these bands. Burns told the audience that they'd been hired to turn the launch into a rock'n'roll dance party, and even though it took a few songs to warm up the room's handful of takers, the quartet's angular, adrenal new wave set, which culminated in Burns hanging from the ceiling during a cover of the Damned's "Neat Neat Neat," made it happen.