A Review of the Outdoor Concerts at Les FrancoFolies de Montréal

Imagine six different worlds dedicated to their own genre of music. Les FrancoFolies de Montréal were able to make that imagination a reality.

Les FrancoFolies de Montréal mounted six free outdoor stages, each one boasting their own respective artists who performed their own unique sounds.

Lasting for 12 days and held inside the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, this festival gathers an audience and allows them to expand their musical horizons by letting the music take them to a different world.

This past Friday, Les Louanges at the Coors Light Zone kicked off the festival. It would have been good if Les Louanges had revealed the titles for their tracks instead of referring to them as “unreleased pieces.” Regardless, each of the tracks surprised the audience with their combined sounds.

The piece that I enjoyed the most was an improvisational one, wherein the band fused electro music with a hint of funk. The song began with a distorted guitar solo, followed by a funky bass beat being thumped away.

The synthesizers made an appearance at the end of the set, offering a whammy distortion solo that paired along with a telecaster being played. Both solos used the same effects, but from two different instruments.

I enjoyed this piece not because of how band decided to use effect pedals and sound mixers, but because it gave an example of how musical boundaries should be broken.

The guitar solo, which was played on a classic Fender Telecaster, had a clean sound with a touch of distortion that gave a lighter touch to accompany the heaviness of the muted bass along with the drum’s bass pedal.

Le Bal Pop Loto-Québec site re-created the parisian ambience, with cafe chairs and tables scattered across the Place des Arts Esplanade. The Petit Orchestre Parisien performed some classic French covers by artists such as Les Rita Mitsouko, Julien Clerc and Edith Piaf.

Even though their set was over, a guitarist and an accordion player roamed around the Esplanade to continuously offer the classic French ambience.

Quebec and Algerian artist Zaho offered a great electronic presentation to her fans at the Bell Stage.

I would have loved if the drum set’s bass pedal hadn’t been overused since it tends to become overpowered if it gets combined with the bass effect on the synthesizers. This makes it difficult to follow the melody of a song.

Regardless, Zaho blends different musical rhythms into her repertoire, offering her fans a taste for musical beats. The combination of the bass drum, the thumping noise of a muted bass guitar, the constant strumming of an acoustic guitar and Zaho’s loud vocals created a powerful sound that filled up the space.

Meanwhile, The Sirius XM stage showcased the fine music of rhythm and blues with a little hint of rap by artists DI Astronauts.

Two DJs stood behind their laptops, creating different rhythmical patterns using their attachments to amplify the music with mixers and sound boards. At the same time, three singers sang their hearts out, leaving the audience wanting a taste for more.

Singer and musician Valérie Carpentier fused two different genres of soft rock and pop, creating some easy to follow melodies on the Ford Stage.

The piece I enjoyed most was “Young and Lonely.” It began with a slight shuffling drum pattern and a repetitive guitar chord progression which paved the way for Carpentier’s soft voice.

The sound of the violin as part of the background music made a surprising appearance and perfectly blended with the sound of the instruments, including the delicate touch of a piano melody.

The piece ended with all the instruments incorporated, allowing the audience to follow the mellow ballad without being interrupted by any instruments overlapping one another.

I will remember this slow ballad simply for Carpentier’s vocals. Her mellow voice shone above the instruments with clear articulation.

Her voice allowed the audience to understand her message, about how one is never lonely, but is in the company of others without realizing it.

The night ended with singer Jacques Jacobus who rapped his heart out to the city of Montreal on the Urban Stage.

His vocals were backed by a DJ who added the sound of a drum snare and two small cymbals as part of the musical attachments to his mixing boards. At the same time, the guitarist looped and echoed repetitive chord progressions that blended perfectly with the funky beat. What a great way to explore different harmonies, while continuously following the melody of each song.

Les FrancoFolies de Montréal // francofolies.com// June 8th-18th

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