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AAA Music | 31 May 2020

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Canadian Blast @ Barbican

| On 07, Jul 2011

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London, 2nd July

Two hours of great music and four artists to celebrate the grandeur of Canadian music at Barbican. Despite an amateurish level of organisation music eventually wins and the celebration of the Canada Day confirms the land of maple trees as one of the most fertile grounds for pop music.

Not only pop though, considering the majestic performance of piano virtuoso Chilli Gonzales, that opens the festival with 6 pieces of enchanting music. The eclectic musician/producer revisits in half an hour centuries of music, ranging from Mozart and Beethoven to Clash and Beatles, via the American anthem. Bluesy, intense, hilarious at times, Chilli Gonzales embraces the audience with his just-out-of-bed attitude and mixes crescendos, fugues, andantes with hip-hop and rock’n’roll, enthralling and amusing at the same time. It’s a shame he’s been placed as first set, since latecomers have spoilt his first two songs.

Woodpigeon raised the tempo of the festival with thirty minutes of extravagant and exquisite folk. The Alberta’s ensemble owes its birth to Scotland though, where band-leader Mark Hamilton began writing songs. Woodpigeon portrayed faithful versions of the songs that, throughout five years and three albums, brought them to a well-deserved attention of critics and audiences both here and on the other side of the pond.

Impressive was the set of Ontario-born nightingale Devon Sproule. A bit low key on the first notes of The Evening Ghost Crab, Devon gains momentum and impresses especially with latest success I Love You, Go Easy. Her ASCAP Sammy Cahn Award is clearly well earned.

Finally, here comes the baroque charm and the antics of The Hidden Cameras. 40 minutes and 10 tunes of intense chamber pop. The seven-piece from Ontario, which music is defined as “gay church folk music” by their same leader, Joel Gibb, are irresistibly schizophrenic as usual, with their beguiling appeal and so-what attitude.

The band revisit, in this only summer date in London, the great hits such as Ban Marriage with vibrant take, and entertain with a ‘Billy Jean’ version of Follow These Eyes. The collective seems to give its best with the songs from The Smell Of Our Own, the album most appreciate by critics, and Awoo, maybe the most appreciate by the public, especially with their breathtaking performances of Hump From Bending and Death Of A Tune.

Author: Lorenzo Coretti

Photos: Luca Viola