Making their awaited return to Montreal, the enthralling Cindy Lee takes the stage at Les Foufounes Électriques
Dreamy, movie-tragic and esoteric, Cindy Lee is the dazzling drag persona of Canadian musician Patrick Flegel, best known for their work as the lead singer and guitarist of the band Women. Creating atmospheric “confrontation pop”, Lee sings delicately like a vintage starlet over glimmering guitar riffs and static, encapsulating themes of mystifying melancholy and romance.
Their March 18 show at Les Foufounes Électriques was opened by Montreal band Born Winner, a duo laying down puffy, funky basslines and classic guitar over an ’80s mall pop vibe. Their work suggests a grunge persuasion, resulting in a great live set for spending any extra energy on dancing. Knowing Cindy Lee’s set would be one of a more mellow, lightweight tone, I absolutely danced my heart out to “average boy” and “too cool for school.”
On-time and dressed in a white fur-trimmed coat with shiny gogo boots to match, Cindy Lee quietly graced the stage, politely waving and gently acknowledging the crowd of eager spirits. Only mere centimeters away from me, Lee set their own equipment up briefly before easing into their first song. Falling into the embrace of the ethereal tunes, I couldn’t help but close my eyes and sway to the rhythm until Lee smoothly interjected with a tastefully improvised guitar solo.
Lee danced around the stage in a glistening gold dress, bundles of baby’s breath in hand, to the weeping guitar in “I Don’t Want To Fall In Love Again.” The sweet song of distant longing and lost love rang through the venue. Between politely sheepish “thank you kindly”s, they strolled through the set of primarily unreleased and hidden tracks. It was difficult even for me, as a huge fan of their work, to discern which songs were being played! Though I’ll admit, it really adds to the elusiveness of Cindy Lee as both a persona and a project.
I had the privilege of meeting Cindy Lee themself, up close. When their gogo boots were not inches from my hands on stage, they were an incredibly kind and approachable person to speak to. Friends I had attended the show with were keen on telling them how we purchased their album, Cat O’ Nine Tails, which is unavailable on streaming platforms. Their response was somewhere along the lines of “Great! I’m going on strike!” which means we are in for another mystery upon Flegel’s next release as Cindy Lee. I will simply wait patiently until then, and I hope you will too.