Once again, Montréal en Lumiére has been lighting up our city during this tedious final stretch of winter blues. With an overwhelming handful of events happening around town, I truly struggled to find one act that I was excited to become familiar with. It can be easy to pick an artist that you’re familiar with… I wanted to go with something fresh & unknown.
I came across AaRON, a duo I knew absolutely nothing about who grabbed my attention with just a couple of their tracks. I give myself, and the folks at Montréal en Lumiére a big pat on the back for picking these guys. I knew half way through their opening track I made the right decision.
So, who is AaRON? Well, they came on the scene with their debut Artificial Animals Riding On Neverland (A.a.R.O.N…. clever boys) almost 10 years ago. A couple 2x gold albums later, the french duo released their newest LP We Cut the Night just last fall.
When I did a little pre-show research, this album was not on Spotify, which resulted in a beautiful surprise when some of the newer cuts were performed during their set. Oddly enough, the album was made available to stream the very next morning! Timing is a funny thing sometimes…
The show was quite magical. I have to give a big nod to 1/2 of the group, Olivier Cousier. You were an absolute inspiration to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this man play, changing instruments every song or two. You kept me on my toes, wondering what you’d do next! The dynamic between this duo was top notch. The writing style & vocal ability of Simon Buret is clear. Just as clear as the creativity found on the record, the translation to stage hits every note just right.
I was very happy with the presence AaRON brought out to the stage. Not only did their backing band add a little something to their presence, the lighting rigs & visual display was a mesmerizing treat. I’ve seen many shows inside the Metropolis, & have noted before that some of them really lack a visual presence on this point. Some acts tend to be drowned out by their lighting as well, not at all the case here. Everything worked just right.
There was a couple moments during their set that I would have appreciated the microphone levels be slightly adjusted. As someone who did not know much of their music, I struggled to decipher the lyrics, but this was minimal factor. Hard to pinpoint the exact struggle here, whether the blame falls on their tech, or the venue… but I’d go out on a limb & say this was due to the venue. I’ve felt the same way about Metropolis’ acoustics before.
The music of AaRON has this ethereal, electronic sound to it. Vocally, I am reminded of many new-wave acts, & some contemporary big names like Coldplay(not meant to be insulting, I know to some it may be!). In fact, what these boys deliver was better than anything I’ve ever seen from the aforementioned, really.
So, I tip my hat to you AaRON. I will play your records with pride & enthusiasm from here on out!
I’d also like to give a shout out to opening act KROY. I didn’t get to catch the full set you delivered, but from what I saw you were a shining light. I look forward to the inevitable time my path crosses a show of your’s again, I will certainly be there, up front, with bells on.
Montréal en Lumiére is far from over. Be sure to check out their official programming. Get out around town & experience some of the magic this festival has brought out this time round! While you take a look through what is left in store for Montréal, take a listen to AaRON’s single Blouson Noir below!