FEIST + Patrick Wilson @ Cabaret La Tulipe

By Alex Huynh -Losing My Edge - 12/04/2004

December is quite a strange time, as it can represent a sort of final hurdle before goals are reached or misery is momentarily ended, replaced by hope for a new and better year ahead. It’s rather ridiculous to think of that concept so boxed up in a calendar year, but we seem to nonetheless fall victim to it due to endless conditioning. So just as the university kids and young professionals comprising this night’s crowd have that milestone on their minds, that last lap before they can celebrate and go home, Feist and her band had actually reached it as their second night at Cabaret La Tulipe represented their last date of a year-long tour that had, in oversimplifying terms, started at Le Cabaret earlier this year.

From the first note, Leslie Feist owned every single seat and snow-soaked standing spot in the venue with her light n’ tight mesmerizing vocals that were enhanced by the venue’s excellent acoustics. Wasting no time in getting the crowd in on the fun, she proposed a sing-along by the second number of her set, "One Evening" (a song about one-night stands, she told us, "you all know what I mean"). It was unusually early to go into audience participation but at the same time, it felt more like an honest attempt in sharing her celebratory mood with us rather than a forced concert cliché. The more Feist played, the more the venue grew hypnotized, breaking the trance only to applaud loudly after each number. For those who enjoyed Sideways and who liked Justine Bateman over Tina Yothers in Family Ties, her charismatic and sexy presence was preferable to Emily Haines’. The music itself was competent but make no mistake, the proverbial and the literal spotlight shone down on Leslie Feist as a performer.

Feist was determined to break the fourth wall that night with lots of banter and giving us a peek at the shy girl underneath her confident stage performance. This created an atmosphere that made the music all the more delightful as cynicism was checked at the (poorly set-up) entrance. She communicated to us her nervousness in performing her Françoise Hardy cover, "L’amour ne dure pas toujours", as she thought that her French would not be up to par and fool the Quebec audience. Of course, she pulled it off magnificently as called for by the script, but it was easy to let yourself lulled into it. She then encouraged people to slow dance to the next song and pitting us against Friday’s crowd. One guy volunteered to dance with her onstage and she gamely accepted this gentleman’s offer, singing at the same time as she was being held in what were probably the moistest hands in the place.

Just like the previous night, she went into her own rendition of her sometimes-bandmates Broken Social Scene’s "Lover’s Spit" that lacked the heartbreak of the original. Perhaps that was the one criticism I can come up with about the whole show: her songs and especially her voice, while beautiful and easy to be smitten by, are simply too light to have any real emotional impact. Though the entire band’s energy and Leslie Feist’s own presence more than compensated for it, the magic evaporated the moment you stepped outside the venue, just like the snow that had started to fall before showtime.

Alex co-hosts Losing My Edge Sundays 2pm-4pm and Tuesday 8pm-10pm. It took him an enormous amount of will power to use only a single variation of the word "sex" in this entire review.