Canadian R&B duo kick off their tour in Montreal
At 10 p.m. on September 30, the atmosphere at Métropolis quickly changed from rowdy to almost dreamlike, when Jordan Ullman walked on stage. It seemed surreal as the record producer glanced at the crowd with a smile and made his way to the keyboard, where he began producing sounds that enthralled the crowd. The smell of marijuana suddenly wafted through the large room and people started cheering and pushing forward. Majid Al Maskati appeared on stage and immediately began to sing, leaving the audience intrigued by his powerful, yet soft voice.
The Toronto based R&B duo came to Montreal for the second time this year. Al Maskati is originally from Bahrain and Ullman is from Toronto. The group formed in 2011 and released their EP titled Afterhours on Soundcloud under the pseudonym Good People, according to their official website. They got signed to OVO Sound in 2013, a record label co-founded by rapper Drake. They’re well known for featuring on Drake’s hit track, “Hold On, We’re Going Home” from his album Nothing Was the Same.
The group performed songs from their EP A Place Like This, and from their album Majid Jordan. When he began to perform “A Place Like This,” Al Maskati transformed from a soulful singer into a performer. He belted out powerful notes that aren’t on the usual track, a pleasant surprise for those who haven’t heard him live before. He danced and nodded his head along to the hypnotizing beat. Ullman intensely bobbed his shoulders and created the strong sound behind the masterpiece.
Al Maskati took every opportunity to point at fans when he sang, and it seemed that his goal was to ensure that everyone sang along. He addressed the crowd numerous times and said in French, “Montreal! ça va?” “We wanted to come here to kick off our tour because we knew you’d all sing along to this next song,” Al Maskati said to the crowd, before diving into their hit song “Her.”
When Al Maskati later pointed towards Ullman with a smile, the crowd cheered. We began to chant Ullman’s name and the duo shared a smile and laughed, like they had their own inside joke. Soon, we were all chanting Al Maskati’s name and clapping for the talented group. Crowd favorites were: “Something About You,” “Small Talk,” and “My Love.” They also performed “Summer’s Over Interlude,” off of Drake’s album Views. Al Maskati exuded confidence as he caressed the microphone stand and swayed on stage.
The duo ended the show with “King City.” As Al Maskati sang, “you’re so damn special, but I better say goodbye to you,” he waved goodbye and slowly backed away. The song ended and Al Maskati and Ullman walked off stage with one last wave at the crowd. Everyone immediately began chanting “encore!” The duo came back on stage to perform “Learn From Each Other.” to which Al Maskati’s vigorous enthusiasm excited everyone as he yelled, “Montreal! How are you doing tonight?”
The song ended with Al Maskati pointing to the crowd and to Ullman, saying “I can only learn from you.” Ullman smiled and walked towards Al Maskati and as they hugged, Al Maskati said, “Montreal, thank you so much for starting us off right on our tour.”