It’s been a while since I went to a show on a Tuesday night, choosing to reservew that for my weekly Capoeira session but I had to make an exception last week when Canadian-Bazilian songstress Monica Freire stopped by Yugong Yishan as part of the Nine Gates Jazz Festival.
Things got started almost on time by YGYS standards with the band taking the stage around 9:45.. I guess they were hoping for a few more folks to show up but it wasn’t meant to be, at least not at that time. The band consisted of Monica herself on Guitar/uke/tambourine/vocals, and 3 guys on bass/drums/guitar.
They launched into a first hour of songs that were hard to peg but somewhere between lounge jazz ( think Sade) and classical Brazilian Bossanova with a lot of samba influence. There were no opening acts so the band pulled in double duties and came back for a second set after taking a 20mn break to deliver more musical goodness.
YGYS was really strange that night with chairs in the middle of the dance floor.. I could have really done without them as I felt they forced me to sit down when my legs were more interested in moving around those sensual sounds. I guess in many ways, the rest of the audience was fine with them and that’s what you should expect at a Jazz show… my tuckus felt otherwise and you could see the Monica sometimes looking into the crowd trying to get it moving.
Still, the audience was quite receptive to her show and there was one hello of a loud call for an encore that the band gracefully answered. I didn’t really know much about her and i still don’t but for 2 hours on that night, she delivered an exhilarating mesmerizing performance to the 50+ persons in attendance. The bands was really tight with some sick drumming and virtuoso guitar and solid bass. Monica herself managed to alternate between a variety of instruments, all sounding good, but none matching her better of the evening: That voice!
A special mention goes out to the sound system that night… for as much shit as Ruby and I give it, it was amazing for Monica’s show! The voice was crisp and melodic, the music came out crystal clear and it was just right. great job!!
I guess that’s what these festival are all about: good surprises and discovery! I’m gonna try and catch a few more of the bands before this little one is over.