October 18, 2016 | Charlotte Street Arts Centre | Fredericton, NB
This show was a long time coming. It’s been well over a decade since brothers Brad and Andrew Barr were mainstays on the East Coast club and festival circuit as members of the Boston-based jazz rock trio, The Slip. Their performances at the Cellar Pub and PEI’s now defunct Shoreline Festival have become legendary among audiences at the time with live recordings and “I was there” stories still in circulation to this day. Now performing primarily as the quartet with harpist Sarah Page and bassist Morgan Moore, The Barr Brothers made their Fredericton debut to a capacity crowd at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre on October 18.
The night began with an inspired performance by Montreal based Maritimer, Laura Sauvage who played several songs off her 2016 release Extraordinormal. Performing solo, her stripped down set highlighted her thoughtful and at times humorous lyrics backed by a powerful voice that occasionally burst through her shoe-gaze, folk-rock delivery to great effect.
Unfortunately for Sauvage and some members of the audience, the first half of her set found her competing with a talkative room (half seated/half standing) obviously energized with anticipation for the evening’s headliners. But by the time she neared the end of her 10 song set that included a cover of Beck’s Cyanide Breath Mint, the room’s focus had thankfully shifted from a bar atmosphere to a listening audience giving Sauvage and her music the attention it truly deserved.
The audience energy and the room’s temperature were both nearing peak levels by the time The Barr Brothers stepped out onto a stage packed tightly with an arsenal of instruments surrounding the group’s core of bass, drums, guitar and harp.
Seconds before the band came to life, a guy next to me leaned over and said, “This is going to be something special”. He was right.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that at this point in their career as a group, The Barr Brothers are at the height of their abilities. It was a treat to see four musicians performing effortlessly for close to two hours while also appearing to enjoy every note in the process. From the opening bars of Love Ain’t Enough through to the show’s encore, the band delivered a stellar performance worthy of the massive concert hall.
This show was definitely one for the history books, and for the 170 or so people stuffed into the Charlotte Street Arts Centre, this performance will no doubt be talked about for years to come. Big thanks to the crew at Shivering Songs for putting this event together.
Visit www.shiveringsongs.com for more info on upcoming events including the 2017 edition of the festival.