Live Review: Patrick Watson

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story+photographs / Ericka Clevenger

I love the Bootleg for many reasons. Besides being only minutes from my home the entire establishment is built as a hub for hometown to traveling musicians alike. The multi-room, beer and wine venue has numerous areas for live music, dancing, quiet talking, and separate outside patio–creating a non-threatening “Choose your own Adventure” type of vibe. Friday night proved a perfect place for Patrick Watson to play for a  jam packed crowd who held on to their personal intimacy.
The talented multi instrumentalist from Canada, is touring in support of his 4th album Adventures In Your Own Backyard-– released May 1st through Domino Records. Standing alone from the other albums, which were written and influenced by all parts of the world–this album was recorded in a home studio in Monreal. The comfort and familiarity of a hometown recording not only allowed them to develop an album that could be translated easier in their live show, but allowed them to tap into the inner most workings of reality in their soul.
The evening was opened with the talented Cat Martino–the multi tasking solo genius. Besides her beauty, this talented lady can switch back and forth between guitar and keys, all while mixing and programing sounds as she goes. Her powerful voice is that of an angel, with a eerie undertone. She uses a looping machine to record her voice and sounds she makes with her body, programs them and then lays guitar and keyboard tracks over them. Ambient sounds, meets folk as she returns to sing harmonies, creating a fully realized vocal cloud that filled the entire room.
By the time Patrick Watson began his set, the larger room and smoking patio were filled with people. Industry folk, parents, couples, neighborhood hood rats to hipsters alike– standing eagerly to melt away into the night.

“Lets go listen to some beautiful music–sweetheart”, and that sort of thing. Watson began, his haunting voice cutting through the thick cloud that still lingered. The woven vocal harmonies bled into instruments, wrapping themselves around your heart and hand fed to your ears.  It takes a lot of skill to easily drop in and out of different vocal ranges and instruments simultaneously, yet it is done with ease making Watson look like a seasoned pro. Professionalism delivered  in a non-pertinacious childlike manner–as his talent is perfectly paired with his engaging, and upbeat performance.
His songs are stories, and hold a strong components of understanding within the ups and downs of the human condition. It is nice to find a musician that you can relate to through the good and bad without having their uniqueness lost in the translation. They often giggled, and addressed the audience as if we were all long lost friends just enjoying each others company in a perfectly lit house party. The lights faded from crimson, to black and white old movies for the same visually dramatic shift that we hear in the songs. His whispering wails–like a deep dark secret being whispered into your soul.
You love Patrick Watson not only for his talent, but for his honesty and relatable demeanor. There is no bitterness between himself and the music, nor the audience to his words. His album and live show were both so perfectly complimentary I found myself completely consumed in everything they were doing. Mark my words, you will be seeing a lot more of this Canadian genius in the future.Download his album Adventures In Your Own Backyard to support him on the remainder of his tour.

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