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Pop Montreal 2020 | Jonathan Personne concert amid Covid Times

Pop Montreal 2020 | Jonathan Personne concert amid Covid Times

jonathan personne, pop montreal 2020, covid concerts

Jonathan Personne is Described as “Triste, nostalgique, parlent d’amour et de fin du monde”. Naturally, I was expecting something laden in darkness, something reflective of the city’s mostly desolate avenues, it’s new normal Thursday nights.

jonathan personne, pop montreal 2020, covid concerts
Everyone is a VIP with socially distanced seats. There is something levelling about it all – Pop Montreal 2020

Entering the prestigious Théâtre Rialto on Park avenue Covid-19 rules were front and center. Social distancing, hand sanitizer at the entrance, entering name and information on media papers in case we need to be contacted, in the future, with dire news all felt a little post-apocalyptic. If you’re with a friend, make sure they’re “with” you upon entry, if not, it might be trouble. We were like little islands unto ourselves and mingling was a cardinal sin. 

The dance floor, normally alive with flowing bodies in sway was instead intermittently spotted with occasional chairs arranged for maximum visibility, and minimal proximity. Many of the few floor seats were vacant… No drinks being served. No bar. The upstairs floor was as packed as legally permissible, with ample space between each patron.

Jonathan Personne opened strong. He’s got a certain twang… A 60’s California guitar sound; ambient, melodic, melancholic yet adventurous, vibrant and cinematic. Like being in a cowboy movie, like being a cowboy yourself. The classic tale of a man and his gun on a mission of redemption and revenge.

The compositions have a question/answer feel, like an echo. Ambient, with small hints of Ennio Morricone, Arcade Fire and early Bare Naked Ladies with non of their silliness. Desert rock, dreamy in its core, and orchestral, while solitary.

jonathan personne, pop montreal 2020, covid concerts
It must be so different to perform for the tiny daring few vs a roaring crowd. – Pop Montreal 2020

Jonathan smiles, “On va faire ça vite, on a chopper un peut d’notre set” The crowd is in an uproar.

With French lyrics that feel like aged west bent Americana, he speaks of voyages while taking you on the trip. A laid-back affair, with grit, and gravitas. The arrangements, reminiscent of a dreamed bygone era, are defined by the high pitched strings of the old west, made round and deep and layered by the profound, driving, drum lines and heavy bass riffs.

It would seem the solitary gunslinger walking the desert trail, has found, with his band, his hard riding bandits… And this quintet, who’s already won the hearts of the local east-side crowd, might just win the west as well.

We may have been islands onto ourselves going in, but we were brought together with Every musical bridge.

He may speak of loves lost and worlds ended or forgotten, but there’s always a skip in his step. What he may lack in singular identity, he more than makes up for with heart and heft. A troubadour, coated in dreams and loss and yearning, but with atonement possibly just around the corner. With a bit of luck, “Personne” might actually be somebody.

Want a sneak peak of our Pop Montreal 2020 coverage? Hop onto our instagram for our live snippet diaries @Bestkeptmtl Take a Nostalgic blast to the past with this Pop Montreal 2019 review… a time when we had to squeeze through bodies to get that perfect shot.

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