. : : October 14th, 2012 : : .
Julie Doiron is kind of a big name in Canadian music — especially for Canadian music fans in the early 90s. I was a bit too young to catch her beloved band, Eric’s Trip, which signed to Sub Pop records and consequently blew up in a big way for a little band from New Brunswick, Canada. And I wasn’t too into Canadian indie rock when Julie struck out on her solo career, originally performing as Broken Girl before ditching the pseudonym to some success. By the time my interest in Canadian music evolved, I heard her name thrown around a lot, but hadn’t had a chance to check her out yet.
That is, until Ben Gibbard added her as the opening act to his solo performance at the Danforth Music Hall.
Going into the show, I had no idea what to expect. I remained completely unfamiliar with Julie’s 20-plus years of musical output — but it turned out it was largely unnecessary.
The nervous, shy sprite I saw take the stage that night is not someone I’d expect would have two decades of performing live under her belt, and a set list that composed primarily of yet-unreleased material (which has since seen print on her So Many Days album) meant that those two decades could be all but disregarded anyhow. Whether the nerves came from performing a set of new material, or for opening to an audience attending for such a large, big-name drawing performer, many of which (like me) have little to no experience with the opener, I could not say. What I can say is her nervous energy and uncontrollable bantering was insanely endearing, and created a more intimate experience for her to perform to a room of fresh ears.
And what else can I say? The set succeeded in doing what every opening slot hopes to do: created interest in the performer. The songs were catchy little folk tunes, Julie’s voice soaring with a confidence when singing that was buried under nerves when not. The sparse, finger-picked lightly-distorted eletric guitar occasionally begged for accompaniment, but also allowed for a unique chance to appreciate the beauty of the base arrangements, not to mention Julie’s musical chops.
I couldn’t think of a better way to start the evening, and I couldn’t wait to get home and devour more of her oeuvre.
The recording itself turned out well — especially for a larger venue — but as with the Ben Gibbard recording, the speakers were fairly quiet and applause overpowered the audio and I leaned pretty heavily on compression to neutralize the disparity between levels.
Julie recently gave birth to a little girl, and is currently on a (hopefully) temporary hiatus. Luckily for us, she leaves behind countless material for us to discover (or rediscover in her absence). Her website now directs to discount sneaker web store, so maybe stay away from that, but otherwise, enjoy delving into a large pool of material that has helped shaped a new generation of Canadian music.
02. By The Lake
03. Beneath The Leaves
05. Swan Pond
07. Dark Horse
09. The Gambler
13. Will You Still Love Me In December
14. Ce Charmant Coeur
16. Me and My Friend
18. Borrowed Minivans
20. Snowfalls in November