Published Oct 23, 2016Held at a bathhouse-turned-concert venue in the heart of Hochelaga, Red Bull Music Academy's 'Métriques Synthétiques' showcase yesterday night (October 22) was set to serve as the triumphant comeback of Montreal-bred golden boy Jacques Greene. With new music to promote, as well as a new A/V set up co-created by design studio TRUSST, Greene's night was primed to be one of the best of the festival.
The bar, however, was set very high. After a four-week stint at venues throughout the city, the Red Bull Music Academy has managed to surpass all expectations. With a massive budget, expertly curated showcases, and consistently mind-blowing audio-visuals for each act regardless of size or clout, the Bain Mathieu showcase didn't quite meet the evening's understandably high expectations.
Walking into the venue in the midst of a two-day-long downpour, attendees were immediately funnelled down a set of dark, narrow stairs towards the converted pool. Separated into two rooms — the pool and the basement — concertgoers had the chance to wander between spaces; a green neon doorframe separated the two rooms from the world above.
Taking to the basement stage at 11:30 p.m. was New York-based Kamron Saniee. Performing in front of three large panels of warped, blue-hued Plexiglas, Saniee came armed with a set of heavy-hitting, abstract techno beats that got the entire room dancing underneath the handful of severe turquoise lights. Performing in the main room was Montreal artist Michele Nox. Nox was lit up by a set of orange lights that cast her in a warm glow, and fell into the same musical category as Montreal favourites Majical Cloudz and Sean Nicholas Savage. Her set was engaging, but not what you would expect to see as the warm-up set before someone as dynamic as Jacques Greene.
Performing at the opposite side of the empty pool at midnight on-the-dot, and flanked by black curtains, was Mr. Greene himself. Coming out in a white long-sleeved T-shirt, Greene launched immediately into tracks off his latest EP, After Life After Party, which sent the packed crowd swaying to his distinct blend of dance floor barnburners. Moving through the set, it was clear that the anticipated A/V performance focused entirely on three massive silk sheets hanging from the ceiling, and four other, smaller ones hanging over Greene onstage. Projecting Microsoft-screensaver-esque images with no distinct correlation to one another, the bizarre, disjointed visuals distracted from his smooth set.
Moving through the set with calculated ease and an undeniable air of deep focus, Greene managed to put on one of the best sets of his seven-year long career thus far, despite the distractions. Performing his latest releases / album singles "Afterglow" and "You Can't Deny" to a hyped-up crowd, it was clear that Greene is still well on his way to become one of Montreal's best electronic exports.