Photo Credit: Olivia Anderson-Clarke

Montreal-based singer Coeur de Pirate, born Béatrice Martin, returned to Toronto to perform another show at the Danforth Music Hall. When she talked to her audience, she emphasized how happy she was to come back to a city that represented her achievements as a musician and her widespread fan base. “I’ve really needed this,” she said. “I’ve forgotten who I was the past few months and now I’m here.”

Gael Faure, opened up the evening, dressed in tight pants and a hawaiian blouse. He strummed his guitar and sang with a quintessentially French accent against the headliner’s stage setup. He played “Quelque Chose sur la Lune” and “Siffler”, songs that were both written in his native language. But he also sang songs that he wrote in English like “Only Wolves”, a song about reincarnation. His justification? “I like this language. It’s not mine, but I don’t care.” This was met with an eruption of laughter. Despite it being Faure’s first time in Toronto, his performance was relaxed. It was a great way to get into a night of trying desperately to remember high school french and enjoy myself at the same time.

Coeur de Pirate had a bit of a rocky start. She began the night with “Combustible” from her latest album en cas de tempête, ce jardin sera fermé. Donning a red romper, she was constantly jumping across the stage in a way that seemed deliberate and unique. Her head shakes and vogue-esque arm movements gave the impression that she wasn’t aware of the audience, as if she was just performing for herself. From this, her eclectic charm and personal sound were physically manifested on stage. But, due to an unfortunate sound balance with bass that was too heavy for her mostly treble music, the concert missed the mark for the first fifteen minutes. The audience appeared to be underwhelmed.There was a distinct distance between the performer and the onlookers, not to mention the giant stairs on stage which created literal distance between her and half of her band. But with “Je Veux Rentrer”, the bass found balance with the rest of the mix, and the audience found the Coeur de Pirate that they came to see.

The most touching moments of the concert were when Martin talked between songs. This grounded her by making her more relatable, especially when she cracked jokes like, “I watched a lot of Queer Eye. I’m a new person now.” & “I write a lot of songs about my exes; it’s my brand.” Coeur de Pirate’s charisma made her performance special. She resonated with the audience as she won them over with heartfelt stories and anecdotes. By transitioning to her more classic material like in “Somnanbule” and “Place de la République”, she reaffirmed the emotional value that her music contains, and recaptured the audience’s attention.

By finishing the set with “Comme des Enfants”, the song that jump-started her entire career, and “Premonition”, Coeur de Pirate rediscovered the tracks that made her the artist she is today. By the end of the concert, you felt like you knew Coeur de Pirate and that she knew herself, and that feeling was more rewarding than any perfect performance.

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