Music Review: The Aurian Haller Band with Monya Mathieu

Music Review: The Aurian Haller Band with Monya Mathieu

Quebec City (Quebec) October 18, 2014 – Last night I went back to Le Petit Impérial in Quebec City to see The Aurian Haller Band. I’m a confirmed fan, and have been since I first heard them play a couple of years ago.

This was my first visit to the venue since I was completely blown away there by the magical talent of The Jeff Jensen Band in July during the 2014 Festival d’Été de Québec.

I was hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed this time around. Then I remembered I was going to see a great local band that I always enjoy listening to.

The Aurian Haller Band is made up of Aurian Haller (lead vocalist, guitar, keyboards), Barry Nameth (drums), Paul Hinton (guitar), and Daniel Marcoux (keyboard, bass, bass guitar, and probably any other musical instrument in existence you’d care to throw his way). This group comprises good, honest, hard-working musicians who know their craft.

On Friday 17th October, the four-piece were complemented by Monya Mathieu, a female singer who, to my shame, I admit that I’d not heard of. I wondered what she could offer the close-knit group. And then I heard her sing. Good, damn good, and she certainly enhanced the proceedings (more of which, later).

I arrived early, which gave me the chance to catch up with the band members before they kicked off the evening.

I spoke with drummer Barry Nameth and asked him what they’d been up to recently. Said Barry ‘We’ve been busy working on material for the new album, some of which you’ll hear for the first time tonight.’

Paul_Hinton_guitarI asked guitarist Paul Hinton why they hadn’t recorded the album first before unleashing their work on the paying public.
Said Paul ‘We’ve been working in a different way this time around, this will be our third album and we wanted to perfect our material in front of a live audience before going into the studio to record it for our CD.’

Barry chipped in ‘The new album will be out in May next year and we’ll  begin recording it soon. We’re working hard rehearsing and getting it all together.’

I asked Daniel Marcoux how long he’d been with the band?
He told me ‘Around 5 years or thereabouts, I play in a lot of bands, it’s how I make my living here in Quebec. Paul Hinton first approached me and said that they were looking for a bassist. I got involved and have been with them ever since.’

I asked Daniel what motives him and why plays in so many bands and with other performers?
Daniel ‘I just love great music. I want to be involved. I have a real passion for classical music and listen to it a lot. Everything stems from it. If you want to play jazz, then listen to Bach. If you want to play rock, then listen to Stravinsky, and so on.’

And on to Monya Mathieu. I wanted to find out a bit more about her.
It turns out she has been a solo singer for over 25 years now and has worked with a variety of bands and musicians over the years.
I asked how it came to be that she was now collaborating with The Aurian Haller Band?
She said ‘I took part in a Jay Sewall event with Bary and Paul. They mentioned that they had a need for a female vocalist, so I thought, why not. We listened to each other’s music and both felt that there was a fit.

I asked if she would be peforming on their upcoming album?
‘It’s not set in stone, but we have spoken about it, so we’ll see’, the singer told me.

The band were getting ready to go on, so I took my leave, found my seat, ready to take a few notes (in). And sup on a decent pint (or perhaps two).

AHB_Oct2014_2In front of an intimate, appreciative crowd they played 2 sets consisting of 9 songs each, and 2 further songs as an encore.

At one point during the first set Aurian recited ‘Trip Wire’ a poem set to music.

I’d never seen anything like that before, and it worked. I hope they include that in future shows.

Over 2 hours of live music in all.

Throughout the show, Monya Mathieu’s commanding, yet at the same time not overpowering, voice shone through.
Aurian Haller on lead vocals clearly looked to be enjoying working with her.

If you had to pin them down to a particular style, it’d be tough to do so. I get the impression they are influenced by Leonard Cohen, Chris Rea, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and The Police, to name but a few.
It’s difficult to put your finger on it, but there’s a mixture of folk, rock, soul, and jazz in their sound.
They switch from upbeat to slow tempo with ease.

In my opinion, Monya Mathieu’s addition to the line up kicks the band up a notch or two. I do hope they’ll be working with her more often.

Was I wowed by the music? I was indeed.

If you love listening to live music then The Aurian Haller Band are worth going to see.

And it was great to be back at Le Petit Imperial to take in a show.

Note to self (and anyone else reading this): Go back there more often!

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The Aurian Haller Band Set List – Le Petit Impérial, Friday 17 October, 2014

Set 1 – L’Amour et ses couteaux, Façonne abandonne, Les orphelins, Hymn for Those, And Still, Plus que parfait, Trip Wire, Wrecking Ball, Do Me a Favour

Set 2 – Wolf at the Door, River Flow, Storm Chaser, House of Words, Ordinary Day, If Only, Don’t Buy It if it’s Broken, Let the Earth Wait for the Rain, So Little Beauty

Encore – Like This, Sister Moon

You can hear Like This by Aurian Haller on their Youtube Channel, and many of their other songs too.

About Author

Andrew Greenfield

Andrew Greenfield moved to Quebec in 2009. He is part of the team responsible for the publishing company behind LifeinQuebec.com and Life in Québec Magazine. He has been involved with online and print media since 2001. He is passionate about cricket, is a qualified coach, and his real ambition is to start a cricket team in Quebec City – something he freely admits is probably beyond him. Follow him on Twitter @GreenfieldAndy

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