Briston Maroney charmed the crowd at Montreal’s Club Soda

Briston Maroney performing at Club Soda on Feb. 5. PHOTO BY VINISHA MANEK // THE CONCORDIAN

Briston Maroney energizes Montreal on his Ultrapure tour with Phoebe Go as the ideal opener.

On Feb. 5, Montrealers welcomed Briston Maroney to Club Soda, a talented musical artist from Tennessee, known for his introspective songwriting. He and Australian singer-songwriter Phoebe Go captivated the audience in Montreal during the North American tour for Maroney’s newest album, Ultrapure, released in September 2023. 

Prior to this release, the Tennessee-born musician established himself by releasing 4 EP’s, his debut album, Sunflower, which followed his time as semi-finalist on season 13 of American Idol. Maroney’s dynamic stage presence in Montreal drew the crowd in through an authentic delivery of his alternative indie-rock songs. Opener Phoebe Go effortlessly created a warm atmosphere from the very beginning with her soft indie pop/rock style, setting the stage for an exciting evening. 

Phoebe Go performed as a solo act. Her guitar and voice filled the venue with sweet yet melancholic lyrics, accompanied by the subtle strums of her guitar. Despite the absence of a live band to support her, she performed with a backing track to compensate for her rhythm section, making the most of the intimate setting at Club Soda for her first performance in Montreal. After the second song, the artist said she was amazed by how attentive the members of the crowd were, calling them “good listeners.” 

She played songs such as “7Up,” released a week prior to her performance in Montreal, as well as her most popular release “We Don’t Talk.” Her calming stage presence, mirrored by the focused audience, created a peaceful atmosphere, leading up to the moment Maroney and his band members took over the stage. 

Maroney’s stage was set up and decorated in a unique manner, consisting of props with various animals like a jellyfish, cat, octopus, all with wiggly eyes. This unconventional decoration immediately set Maroney apart from the traditional fixtures of most performers: a standard backdrop featuring the artist’s name. 

From the opening song “Body,” Maroney’s charisma shone and energized the crowd, which sang along to every lyric. The artist played a mix of his popular tracks, including his most popular song “Freakin’ Out on the Interstate,” as well as slower songs where he performed alone with his acoustic guitar like “June.” The concert felt like a two-for-one special with the high-energy of a rock show, while also delivering an intimate atmosphere of a slow acoustic set. His versatility as a songwriter was demonstrated through the show, and his released tracks, by his ability to draw inspiration from a range of music influences, from folk artists like John Prine to classic rock/pop artists such as Bruce Springsteen.

Maroney and his band members did not let a single moment go to waste. Throughout the set, he engaged with the audience and seamlessly transitioned between songs with different types of interludes, i.e. people talking, sounds from various places, or even musical interludes by the band. These breaks added depth to the show while also ensuring that the crowd never lost interest.

The fans in the crowd were ecstatic—brief pauses were often filled with screams from enthusiastic fans. Maroney couldn’t help but stop halfway through his performance of “Rose,” due to a fan’s comment sparking his laughter. His engagement with the audience and his evident admiration for his band, which was expressed to the crowd several times and shown by the band’s chemistry, made the night a very memorable experience.

They concluded the show with a two-song encore, ending with the title track of the album “Ultrapure” and bringing their Montreal show to a close. With their infectious, yet somewhat contrasting, energies, Maroney and Phoebe Go formed a great pair. I would not be shocked to see Phoebe Go return to Montreal with a full band in the near future, or to see Maroney come back with, hopefully, another album tour.

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