There is something haunting about Charlotte Cardin’s music when experienced live. Perhaps it’s her voice, both aching and spirited, or maybe it’s her charm as a performer. Regardless, the Montreal singer’s show last Friday night was an intimate and satisfying offering to the Danforth Music Hall. The night started with Toronto up-and-comer Chris LaRocca, whose set got better as it went on. The R&B, hip hop infused singer seemed to find his footing as the room filled up, putting on a heartfelt show for those who had arrived early especially to support him.
Cardin came to the stage with her band and was quick to set expectations. She announced that for the next hour or so, she’d share her heart via a bunch of love songs. It turns out that “love songs” also encompasses anti-love songs and break-up songs – all of which seemed to please her fans. Backed by her drummer and a keyboard player, Cardin kicked off the night with Big Boy from her 2016 EP of the same name. Seated at her keyboard, which was adorned with her name in lights, she played a new song. With a new album due out in a few weeks, she was anxious to showcase the new stuff. She followed that up with a linguistic switch-up and sang Les Échardes before another new one with a working title of “Good Girl”. Cardin joked that there was a theme in her song names – Mean Girl, Big Boy, Good Girl – and then welcomed suggestion for alternate titles. Cardin has an ease chatting with her audience that adds to the warmth of the concert experience.
Cardin gained fame in Quebec as a contestant on La Voix (the Quebecois version of TV singing competition “The Voice”). Her music has a trip-hoppy, electro vibe balanced beautifully with sincere lyrics and vocals. The night included two covers, including an unexpected Post Malone tune. Other songs, like recent French single Les Jupes and fan favourite Paradise Motion added to the sexy, dreamy vibe of the night. Cardin introduced Double Shifts, the new English language single, as a song about trying hard to get someone to like you – we can all relate to that. The set continued with jazzy influences and wound its way to Mean Girl and the end of the main set.
Cardin and her band ended the night with a two song encore, stating with a wink that they’d already played 98% of their repertoire. They treated the crowd to a lovely cover of Wicked Game and then the band left and Cardin played her last song completely solo. Entre les Lignes was the night’s capper, leaving the crowd eagerly looking forward to the next time Charlotte Cardin graces the Big Smoke.