Three years after its release, the Montreal natives play their debut album in its entirety
On Aug. 29, Montreal rock band John Jacob Magistery performed the entirety of their debut album Phantom i / Are You Too Sensitive? for the first time ever in front of a sold-out audience at Turbo Haus.
Following an opening set by Montreal’s Frisco Lee, the N.D.G.-born singer-songwriter and frontman Johnny Griffin aptly began the night with the album’s opening track, “Captain of the Sea.” Despite John Jacob Magistery’s main formation containing only three members (Griffin, MacKenzie Myatt on violin/synthesizer, and Anthony Lombardi on drums), the trio was also accompanied by three other musicians; including a guitarist, cellist, and an erhu player (also known as a Chinese violin).
JJM’s hit “Carol,” the second song on their track list, started the night on a high note as everyone in the sardine-packed room sang along to the album’s most recognizable song. Although Phantom i was released over three years ago, the songs felt fresh and improved with the addition of the accompanying band. Griffin interacted with the audience, asking them to dance and move closer to the stage, and thanked them for their hometown support.
John Jacob Magistery’s latest record, Harmoney, was released in 2017. However, Griffin promised new material is coming soon.
“I’m going to be putting out some singles,” Griffin told The Concordian. “I was in the studio [today] finishing up some songs. I’m going to be putting out a video. I have a couple of tunes that’ll be coming out soon, but there’s no release date.”
“[The next project] is kind’ve divided into two,” Griffin continued. “One of the things is going to be very singer-songwriter. Analogue. All live, kind of the way I did the [Narcissism Unto Loneliness] EP, so live off the floor. The way Bob Dylan did shit. Acoustic instruments…That’s one of the things I’m doing, and the other thing is digital, using drum samples and doing everything in my bedroom on Ableton.”
The singer-songwriter genre is all original material from Griffin, while the rest relies on using samples from a music production software.
“[They’re] totally different processes,” Griffin said. “The singer-songwriter stuff is just me and a guitar. The other stuff I make by getting inspired by sounds on Ableton and drumbeats. Clips and samples, and shit like that. So that’s a totally different thing. The Ableton stuff – I could do basically all on a computer.”
The band finished their album’s entirety with their first-ever live performance of the closing track “Are You Too Sensitive?;” While they thanked the crowd and made their way towards the exit, they were urged to come back for more. John Jacob Magistery finished off the night with their biggest track, “Greatest Story Ever,” and “Harmoney.”
The morning following the show, JJM posted to their social media letting fans know that they had to decline people at the door due to capacity, and as a result added a second show date for the following Monday, Sept. 2.
Photos by Jacob Carey
Video by Calvin Cashen