Bedouine’s Demanding Songs Strike Right Balance at José González Show

Bedouine’s Demanding Songs Strike Right Balance at José González Show

Review by Daydree Vendette

Bedouine opened for José González. She stood left of center on a pared-down stage. Her only props on the stool beside her, a candle and glass of wine filled with what, suspiciously, looked a lot like water. She wore a short-sleeved long black dress open in a v and a red handkerchief knotted to the left, around her neck.

The blue and violet spotlights created a halo around the singer’s loose curls, while her black dress got confounded with the dark curtain behind her. The ethereal illusion made comparisons to saints and supernatural visitations impossible not to draw.

The physicality of playing the guitar and projecting such a uniquely clear and beautiful voice at the same time, was a striking opposition to the kind of disappearing act that the lights helped to create. It put the focus on the psychological narrative of the lyrics.

Bedouine’s sound has been described as 60’s or 70’s folk and is lyrically reminiscent of Janet Ian and Joni Mitchel. Her song “Solitary Daughter” is a perfect example of a lyrical style that is equal parts poetic and narrative. There is enough obscurity that the listener needs to search and enough contradiction for it not to be easy to swallow but a thread that can pull the listener through to the end. Her “Nice and Quiet” was sweet and melancholy and let the listener stew in an uncomfortable place, never quite pulling them out, until the next song started.

Standing her ground in the same spot for most of her forty five minute set, she played guitar and sang from a voice that would eclipse the recordings fans are familiar with. Listening to recordings would lead a listener to conclude that Bedouine is indebted to the breathy style of French singers as much as American folk music. During the show each note seemed to be pushed a little higher, held a little longer and allowed to vibrate in order to create a continuous buzz of a song. The question must be asked if she adjusted her style in order to create an introduction to José González’s style of music, or if her performance style demands different registers depending on the venue.

Whatever the case may be, it served her music well.

Bedouine’s interaction with the audience was shy on both sides. She made jokes about not speaking French, “I speak French, as you can tell” she joked about her attempts at saying the few fords she knew. “I know fromage. That’s all I know… but that’s all you need right?”. The audience seemed unsure how to respond to her. There was some laughter and some clapping. Later, she very astutely asked the audience for help in naming one of her songs and invited audience members to come tell her their best suggestions after the show. Before her last song she remembered to introduce herself to the audience.

The audience demographic was mostly people under 30. They remained reserved for the majority of the night, up until González’s encore. It would seem like Bedoine would be an easy sell for people interested in Jose Gonzalez’s brand of folk music but the response seemed positive without being enthusiastic. Bedouine’s voice won me over. I would happily listen to a full-length show and I will be scowering the internet for live versions of her songs.

Bedouine was the opening act for José González at the Grand Théâtre Sunday, February 11, 2018 in the Octave-Crémazie room. She played from 20:05 to 20:45. González took the stage at 21:05 and played until 22:25.


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Categories: Arts & Culture, Reviews

About Author

Daydree Vendette

Daydree Vendette is passionate about all things that spread good vibes like animals, yoga, her rock collection, vegan food and creative expression in all forms. She has a master’s degree in literature and is a nerd searching for a field of study to latch onto next. She works as a technical writer and translator while pursuing other creative projects. She should travel more.

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