MWARD + Norfolk & Western @ MWARD + Norfolk & Western

By Dan - Rocks In Your Head - 04/16/2005

Having had the opportunity to see Devendra Banhart in concert recently, I was looking forward to Mward's upcoming show at La Sala Rossa. You see, these types of shows are tricky. People don't seem genuinely ready for the influx of folk artists in 'the scene'. There's almost too much going on these days. All you have to do is check out the gig-list at Esoteric or somewhere online; Montreal is a haven for live venues and shows these days, thanks in part to the lovely promoters at Blue Skies Turn Black.

For those who were anticipating MWard's return to Montreal, he did not disappoint. The kid's got charisma and talent to boot. His guitar playing is rough and often times deliberately sloppy, but in the way that sounds great if the rest of the band is tight and doing their jobs well. And thankfully, his tone is pretty solid as well. The show was a tad short, but Ward managed to pull out all of the stops, switching from psych-folky rhythms to blues-tinged rock at the drop of a dime. Although I missed the Norfolk & Western opener, I suppose the set was but a warm-up before hitting the stage supporting Mr. Ward and his folk-inflected tunes.

The last half-year has brought us Devendra, Sufjan Stevens and a throng of talented mucisians who are challenging preconceptions of the folk genre and giving rise to a welcomed scene, at least for those of us who share a nostalgia for the days when troubadors walked the earth in search of spirited youth like ourselves. Or am I reading too much into the whole scene? Regardless, MWard is a part of the scene and with only three (available) albums under his belt, this kid has got a promising future. If you haven't already picked up last year's Transistor Radio, do yourself a favor.

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