The Spleen launches “Together and Free” at the Théâtre Petit Champlain

The Spleen launches “Together and Free” at the Théâtre Petit Champlain
The Spleen launching "Together and Free"

The Spleen launching “Together and Free”

“I think that our major influences are big Brit bands like Colplay, Radiohead, Muse, and Oasis.”  That’s not something you’d imagine hearing at the launch of an up-and-coming music group in Quebec City, but Francis Frenette, lead singer of The Spleen, is fully aware of his band’s unique spot in Québec’s emerging music landscape, saying “it can seem weird for a band from Québec, but you know, it’s what we listened to back in the days when we started the band.”  Continuing, Frenette humbly admits, “we hope the response will be good, but you know, when you enter into a studio and you create your new CD, you never know if people will like the new sound.”

Well, I can honestly say I certainly did.

Since their days touring CEGEP talent shows and smaller venues five years ago, The Spleen has certainly come a long way in elaborating their own take on the Brit Rock genre, and with the launch of their second album titled “Together and Free” earlier tonight, they’ve proven without a doubt they’re ready for the spotlight that seems to be growing on them every day.

Choosing the Théâtre Petit Champlain as the launching platform of their new album was no coincidence.  It’s the very room where, in 2008, they launched their first album entitled “No More”, and the Théâtre holds a warm place in their hearts.  The launch was also part of the Théâtre’s new emerging-music “Jeudis Branchés” concept, which features the Théâtre as the platform in which a new up-and-coming musicians launch their albums every Thursday for the next two months.

Before the album launch concert, the band joins its fans for a cocktail hour.

Before the album launch concert, the band joined its fans for a cocktail hour.

Among those driving the initiative is Kathia Guénard, Director of Programming and a veteran of the arts scene.  “This is a series which is entirely new for the Théâtre Petit Champlain.  These are unique moments with the artists, which is a little different from our traditional formula,” Guénard explained.  As part of the Jeudis Branchés, bands join their fans for a cocktail happy hour before performing a full, live presentation of their albums.  Upcoming artists to launch new albums from this platform are Laurence Hélie, Koriass, and Kaïn, with the full program available on the Théâtre’s website. Despite the Petit Champlain sector’s reputation for tourist boutiques, Guénard says they mostly cater to local people interested in the emerging music scene.  “It’s really the people who live in and around Québec who benefit, it’s very rare that we get tourists – even though we love to have them too – but it’s mostly local people who come to our events,” she says.

It’s not surprise the room is favoured by emerging artists like The Spleen – the stage is the perfect proving grounds for the star potential of new music and new musicians.  The lighting and sound is on par with top-end venues, while the room is perfectly scaled to the pull of up-and-coming groups on the verge of mainstream success.  If you can handle this stage, it’s a safe bet you can handle any stage.  With a mix of high-energy stage presence and down-to-earth chatter and humour in between songs, The Spleen aced it.  Their latest single, “I Won’t Let Go”, came out early and set the stage for a crowd ready and willing to eat up their new songs, many of which have only been released a few days ago.  True to their Brit Rock roots, they opened their well-deserved encore set with a frisson-inducing cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” before closing the evening with the premiere of the rain-soaked music video to “I Won’t Let Go”.

Those of you into emerging music, keep your ears open for The Spleen in the coming months, and keep your eyes open for other album launches at the Théâtre Petit Champlain.  You’ll be hearing more from both.

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Farnell Morisset, LifeinQuebec.com Staff Writer

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