What’s good about CRi, in addition to his wonderful productions, is that he knows how to surround himself very well. Thus, when the DJ enchants us behind his synths, he does so with the collaboration of talented artists who make the experience even more exquisite. On Wednesday evening, Sophia Bel, Robert Robert, Jesse Mac Cormack and Jean-Michel Blais helped make this evening with CRi a highlight of the Jazz Festival this year.
“I hope that tonight you have good shoes because it will dance in a little sin”, announced the producer before launching the play Lonely Romance. Just before, in introduction, Sophia Bel had come to interpret the very pretty Runawayfrom CRi’s first (and most recent) album, Juvenile (2020).
We had the chance to attend a performance of CRi in May at the SAT. The same sequence of songs, or almost, lived in two very different contexts. It’s one thing to manage to delight a compact crowd gathered within four walls, determined to dance their feet hurting to music they know. It’s quite another to win over a festival crowd at a free concert on the Jazz Festival’s biggest stage.
As he shaped his song live, with his keyboard and consoles, the crowd in front of him jumped and danced to the beat, enchanted. If his reputation precedes him for those who appreciate local electronic music, many people got to know CRi on this seventh evening of the festival. Good news, for the artist and for us the public, the Place des Festivals suits CRi very well. He had been breathtaking during his set at the SAT. He certainly did not disappoint on Wednesday night.
“Historic moment for Quebec electronic music”
CRi’s third partner on stage on Wednesday, singer-songwriter Jesse Mac Cormack joined his friend for Never Really Get Thereduring which he ended up helping her behind the consoles.
CRi knows when to alternate between songs that make you want to dance with your eyes closed and those that serve as bridges, during which you are only focused on the quality of the music. He is not afraid to include in his performance moments when the tempo goes down, when silence sets in, to then better make way for rhythms to which it is impossible not to dance.
When the excellent Birth began, for example, the rumor of the crowd almost buried the music. But soon enough, the pace picked up. The climb to the climax thrilled the crowd. And at the time of dropit was once again madness on the Place des Festivals.
The soaring, cinematic and melancholy music of CRi was lovely to hear in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles. Robert Robert, Jesse Mac Cormack and Sophia Bel (especially) were solid behind their mics.
We said at the beginning of this text that the Montreal producer knows how to surround himself. This is why a giant like Daniel Bélanger lends his voice to one of the tracks on his album. This is also why composer and pianist Jean-Michel Blais created a nice surprise by taking the stage with his piano.
“Tonight is a historic moment for Quebec electronic music. I am extremely moved and proud of this accomplishment,” declared CRi before welcoming Jean-Michel Blais. The producer had the chance to present this Quebec electronic music to a huge crowd. He did this by blurring the boundaries of genres, presenting a signature that is as unique as it is impactful. When a grand piano and a DJ’s synths come together on stage, an unexpected magic happens.
On Me and My Friends, all of CRi’s friends contributed to presenting a finale worthy of the show we had just seen. It is well known that the Jazz Festival is far from presenting only jazz, its influences and its derivatives. And this is very well so. This allows moments of discovery for the public and “historic” evenings for the artists.