Wednesday, 19 June 2013

david simard

David Simard  |  Cabaret Lion d'Or

                                      PHOTOS  |  VALERIA VEGA + DANIEL ADAMS

Stuffing my face with a delicious spinach-feta filled pastry, I arrive at Bandstand where three well-dressed lads stand poised, model-esque as they each exhale a puff of smoke. I look them in the eyes and nod whilst gracefully ridding myself of any crumbs in and around my face. Written to the side of the entrance I see “Lion D’Or” and as I make my way through the doors I think to myself: “I’m totally writing about these dudes in Hot Soupe”. 

I found myself a place to sit in a cabaret style theatre where it felt like the entire room was romantically lit by candle light. Classic velvet drapes embraced the sides of the stage as the hosts faced the crowd each taking turns with a cleverly crafted microphone-flashlight, illuminating them from below their jaws as they introduced the event.  “Bandstand” presented by Hot Soupe is a 3 day event where 15 local artists perform in front of audiences aiming to raise over $10 000 for the Just For Kids Foundation. The performances are each given professional feedback by a panel of well-known producers, musicians and radio hosts.

To my pleasant surprise, the trio of well-dressed gentlemen that I passed outside the entrance were now getting ready behind the stage as the hosts introduce the opening act of the night.  “David Sim-erd” not “Dah-vid See-mar” as I had thought it would be pronounced, is called aboard.  Walking on stage with his guitar and gallivant stare, he’s accompanied by a young man fashioning a curly tipped moustache playing a double-bass and a bearded fellow with thick framed glasses seated in clear vision behind a set of drums, Pat Latrielle and Evan Tighe respectively. They haven’t even started yet and I’m smiling. 

Silence in the room and nothing but the swaying flames at each table is moving as the audience sits still with all attention given to David Simard. He looks at us, plucks a few strings of his guitar and lets it ring as the bass steps in and resonates, instantly setting the mood. Clean, crisp, he begins singing and we are all entranced by his long winded notes. A slow almost eerie melody resounds as the thud and chimes of the drums come in to accent every note perfectly.  His voice carries a tone that grasps you and keeps you on every last word.

When the first song finishes and the final strum slowly fades out, there was a brief moment of silence. Not because of uncertainty in the completion of the song, but because of how engrossed we all were in the performance. Then the loud applause began as they smiled knowing that we’re with them. Well timed and flawless drum fills that kept you grooving, looks to the double-bass player where they played off each other, moments to let the words grab your attention; David Simard was a class act from start to finish. The three of them worked so well together, each a master of their own craft and complementary to one another. “This next song is short” he said as they played us a more up-tempo cheery tune. They were able to put forth a radio-friendly pop song while still keeping it interesting musically and real by showcasing the great musicianship between the three.  A panelist recommended that they get that song some airtime on either a movie or tv-series, to which an enthused David replied “I would love that.” The rest of the panelists could not give them enough praise. A few of the Bandstand panelists mentioned how they were more gripped by the moody slower tracks and admired the band’s ability to draw us in with such pieces. Regardless of which songs each panelist already casted as their favorites, they all agreed on having thoroughly enjoyed the whole performance. 

This was my first time seeing David Simard and I truly felt inspired by not only the quality of their set, but of the passion behind each song, each story. They took you places. This singer-songwriter heartthrob, if I may, could fit comfortably amongst the best folk and bluesy-jazz acts. As a heterosexual male, I all-sorts-of-gasmed to David Simard and this particular trio. Be sure to check out his latest album “Slower, Lower”  as soon as you can. My friends would argue that I say this too often, but this time I really really mean it: they were SO good!

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