Talented, Brave Explosion of Colourful Awesomeness: Folly and the Hunter, Youjsh and Olenka and the Autumn Lovers live in Montreal

Saturday night I had an absolutely awesome time at the packed Divan Orange, and was witness to some excellent quality sound, amazing talent, great courage, bravery, and tons of mind-blowing fun. I even managed to relax a bit; all in one alcohol loaded night.

Folly and the Hunter opened the night off with a delightfully acoustic performance. Their pleasant blend of American styled folk rock was a great star. Right from the first note, the band had us sitting back and enjoying our surroundings, with the singer’s gentle voice reaching pitches so high and clear that it’s quality reminded me a bit of Freddy Mercury (he even had the moustache to go along) and an enjoyable simplicity that had me captivated.  

I was especially impressed with the song Folly. Even though we were in a bar, it sounded more like we were at an outdoor concert, right in front of the stage. A small ”wow” slipped through my lips during the song. The six string ukulele that the singer used for the song was a special treat. Chatting with band members after the show I discovered that this was only their third live performance, which once again made “wow” roll of my lips.   Look for their debut album Residents due to be released soon.

Up next was….well….I’m not even sure how to describe what Youjsh put me through that night. Awesome!! Amazing!! Original!!! All three an understatement. It’s hard to put their music into words. Using classical and jazz instruments, and pumping them full of college energy, with a touch of rebellious attitude is already a feat in itself, but to do it with so much fun is just….once again lost for words. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting or even close to ready for Youjsh‘s unique awesomeness that night. A nice simple catchy intro of trumpet, clarinet, and piano, accelerating and exploding literally into a mosh pit, then breaking down into a jazzy classical groove and still keeping that almost funky punky energy with incomprehensible randomness had me completely blown away. I myself was trying to get in on the moshing, but holding back for fear of spilling my beer, which was just going down at record speed at that point.

Apart from the extreme awesomeness of these ex-McGill student’s music, they even had an amusing comedy theme going, reciting the titles of their song’s which are all named after their good friend Steve Day such as  On a clear day you can see forever but Steve Day can’t hear shit or Don’t you think she’s a bit young for you Steve Day and We’re Gonna Party Like it’s Steve Day’s Birthday. Every song is a trip through so many different great emotions, and definitely FUN, leaving you happy and cheering for more.

The crowd even asked for an encore, which they humbly tried to decline, but wasn’t happening, we were just too Youjsh thirsty, and we got our encore and continued rocking?? (not sure how to put it) the Divan Orange for another Steve Day entitled Masterpiece. I obviously picked up one of their albums, I Can’t Believe Steve Day is OK With This EP, after a small struggle which I literally had to almost fight with two hot chicks to get at the last two copies. Of course being the gentleman I am, even after an almost keg-worthy drinking bout, I surrendered them to the ladies, and thankfully the band had a few more copies hidden.

Youjsh are a MUST SEE band. Whatever type of music you’re into, I guarantee you ‘ll have a great, awesome time, and come back for more. There’re playing at Casa on Tuesday the 30th with the Belle Game, mark it on your calendar, and get yourself ready for some drinking, dancing and one heck of a great time.

Olenka and the Autumn Lovers put on a brave performance following Youjsh, and overcame a difficult crowd to deal with. While her performance was excellent and up to par with her reputation, after a couple songs she realized that there was no way she was getting through to this crowd. They were loud, talking to each other, busy mingling with others, and just plain not paying attention even though Olenka was putting on a great performance. It could be almost comparable to Avril Lavigne stepping on stage after Metallica; While Avril and Metallica have absolutely nothing in common with the bands playing that night (guess it’s not the best example), you get the point that; it would be pretty hard for people to settle down and get into the next performer’s vibe.

Olenka managed to pull off something I haven’t seen before though; she asked her fellow band members to take a small break, and using her powerful voice and her acoustic guitar, she appealed to the energy of the crowd, reeling them in with songs like Werewolf, which seemed to catch their attention, before managing to take control of the crowd, inviting her band members back on stage and putting on a great show like she had intended, and made an exceptional performance of the song Odessa I’ll be writing an album review on her most recent release And Now We Sing, later on this week, where I’ll be going a little more into detail on their politically inspired colourful music, be sure to check it out.


For more photos by Kaelin Toomey from the show visit us on facebook.

Folly and the Hunter photo courtsey of flickr and Youjsh from maisonneuve.

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