I took my place up in front of the stage as Chad Valley came out, who opened for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. This might be a bit confusing but Chad Valley is not a person, it is a one man band that Hugo Jonquil goes under and that night he had a backup vocalist Pamela who joined him on stage. The first thing I noticed was an enormous effects board on a keyboard stand that must have included a few different synths and different beat making machines. He also had three neon poles set up that would flash different colours throughout his set. Jonquil is clearly inspired by 80’s pop music as he has a sound of Toto meets Madonna then fleshed out with M83’s modern yet ambient sound.
Jonquil has a boom voice, but at the same time he was still able to hit the high notes. His harmonies with Pamela created something beautiful. Rhye’s vocalist Milosh hits super high notes that make him sound very androgynous, Jonquil on his own can’t get that high but blended with Pamela it hits the sultry sweet spot. He slowed it down a bit for a few songs that elicited a come hither sexy vibe. Some of his music was very hip-hop like, something that R. Kelley would destroy if it was given to him in a studio.
With all the looping and usage of a secondary microphone to make the vocals echo Chad Valley is the happy uplifting version of Kid A and OK Computer, instead of the world falling apart, just dance and make love. Jonquil dedicated one of his closing tracks to Dale Earnhard Jr. Jr. for taking him on the road and anxiously told the crowd that his latest album has been a long time coming and he is very proud of it. He finished his set with a pure club banger that would make La Roux blush bright red. Jonquil can drop the beat with the best of them. By the end of the set Jonquil noted how quickly the room filled up, so I turned around and the place was packed!
Photographs by Sarah Rix