Montréal’s own Misteur Valaire played M for Montreal at the Saturday night event at Metropolis, and now let’s get one cliché out of the way: If you haven’t heard Mister Valaire live, then you haven’t heard them at all. As good as their albums are, successfully fusing electro-rock (reminiscent of Justice and Hot Chip) with hip-hop and jazz notes, no recording can prepare you for their live show with all of its brain-hammering bass and infectious youthful energy. This multi-instrumentalist, five-man group comes on identically costumed like something from “A Clockwork Orange”, and their approach is just as explosively theatrical as anything you’ll see in a movie.
Misteur Valaire aren’t out to convey a message. They’re all about fun, and everything they bring onstage, from projections of cheesy ’60s beach movies to mid-set costume changes to impromptu synchronized dance routines, is intended to keep the energy high. But it’s not all glitz — their antics support and enhance the music, which, to the band’s great credit, keeps both the body moving and the brain sparking. In contrast to the sampled iMac sterility that often hamstrings such dance-rock efforts, Misteur Valaire‘s tunes are alive — sonically layered and complex, bursting with live trumpet and saxophone and a wonderfully grimy bass guitar / keyboard combo. You can dance to this music, hell yes you can, but you can also listen to it.
Misteur Valaire‘s press credits an “academic jazz” background as the foundation for their music, and you can hear the organic flow of jazz, if not jazz instruments, in every song. Their infrequent hip-hop stylings (complete with perhaps-ironic costumes including sunglasses and sleazy Trilby hats) are an easy meld with the powerful percussion of their mostly midtempo melodies. Their bilingual lyrics are limited to the usual self-aggrandizing party themes, but what else would you expect from a band that’s redefining party music with every blast of bass?