Back in early October, an email appeared in the GDW inbox with news of an interesting retro-pop single from a trio of talented Québécois musicians – Ariane Roy, Thierry Larose, and Lou-Adriane Cassidy – teaming up under the name Le Roy, La Rose et le Lou[p] to release this throwback tune. Earning several spins out of curiosity, “Chanson thème” conjured up images of Fleetwood Mac meets The Mamas and the Papas meets French 70s pop, and impressed us enough to give it the lead spot in our monthly Snappy Singles just a week later.
While Thierry has been on our listening radar for about a year now, his female counterparts were relatively unknown to us. Streaming a few of their individual tunes, we took delight in discovering these incredibly talented emerging artists coming out of La belle province, and returned to the press release for more information. With plans already made to be on vacation in Montréal over the US Thanksgiving holiday, we noticed that Le Roy, La Rose et le Lou[p] were embarking on a small 10-date tour around Québec in November – and the tour finale in Joliette, QC just happened to coincide with that visit. A quick look at the map told us this was only a short drive north of the city. Well, here was an opportunity that we could not afford to miss – tickets bought!
Taking our balcony seats in the beautifully renovated Desjardins Cultural Centre, the stage curtains rose promptly at show time to reveal Lou-Adriane, Thierry, and Ariane all seated on bar stools, monitors at their feet and acoustic guitars in hand, with a solid black curtain immediately at their rear. Delivering the opening lines of “Chanson thème” a cappella, the trio paused for the brief welcoming response from the room before commencing a round of individual performances. Sharing tunes from their own catalogues, we quickly learned how these songs would be reimagined, as all three musicians contributed their vocals to each track. The performance of Ariane’s “Fille a porter” in particular had a powerful, slower acoustic delivery, with both Ariane and Lou-Adriane giving their vocals an early evening workout.
As the trio wrapped up this intimate opening segment, the curtain was raised to reveal quite an elaborate stage set-up behind them. Go ahead and review the liner notes on any of the current album releases from Lou-Adriane, Thierry, and Ariane, and along with the many collaborations you’ll see between each of them, you’ll see several of the same musical cast in support. On this given night, the trio would have seven of these good friends on stage to support them: Odile Marmet-Rochefort (keys/vocals), Vincent Gagnon (keyboards), Charles-Antoine Olivier (drums – credited as CAO), Sam Beaulé (bass/vocals), Pierre-Emmanuel Beaudoin (drums), Alexandre Martel (guitar/vocals), and Dominique Plante (guitars/vocals). Yes, you read that correctly – two sets of keyboards, and two sets of drums. And over the course of 1 hour and 45 minutes, these 10 musicians delivered an outstanding evening of music.
With some stellar instrumentation behind them, the trio kept the format of sharing reimagined versions of their individual pieces in-the-round, although they mixed up the sequence every now and then to keep the audience guessing. Thierry would lead off with a fabulous full-band blast of his popular single “Portrait d’une Marianne,” and we were very happy to hear the inclusion of “Baleine et moi” later in the set – this being the first of Thierry’s singles featured here at GDW earlier this year. The band delivered a powerful punch to close out “L’île à vingt-cinq sous” with a lengthy solo that had some strong “The Chain” vibes, and excelled during “Frisbee & marmelade” with their Bossa Nova style – which also allowed Larose to demonstrate his natural talent for switching genres with ease.
Strapping on her electric guitar for most of her tunes, Ariane brought a ton of energy and excitement with her moments under the spotlight. Blasts of synth during “Tu volair parler” added plenty of potency to the retro vibes of this number, while Ariane’s almost a capella version of “Tu as le droit” paved the way for sharing some fabulous vocal harmonies set against eerie, yet minimal instrumentation. A brief center-stage triple electric guitar solo instrumental moment electrified the room, and with a loud and lively performance of “Le ciel est en place,” Ariane happily reminded us all that she is a serious rock n’ roller – backed up by those around her and accentuated by a phenomenal light show.
If asked which of the three artists demonstrated the most versatility, as tough a decision that would be, I believe Lou-Adriane would likely squeak out such honors. Mixing folk, pop, rock, and indie influences all evening, each and every one of her performances earned your full attention. Retro-pop sounds bounced off the theatre walls as Lou-Adriane delivered “Oui le serpent nous guette” with plenty of gusto, and a stage sound and presence akin to that of both Liz Phair and the late Christine McVie. There were even hints of vintage Edith Piaf in her voice during “Le pluie ne tombe jamais sur toi,” set against some distinct Fleetwood Mac guitar tones, and a burst of instrumentation that went full throttle to close. Amazing.
Love them or loathe them, the ‘encore’ is a traditional treat for fans who are not quite ready to call it a night. We’ve witnessed some thrilling encores over the years, but Le Roy, la Rose et le Lou[p] came out swinging with their finale, and seriously raised the bar for all future encore performances that await us. The three ladies would return to the empty stage, Ariane and Odile seated center-stage on Sam’s monitor while Lou-Adriane made her way to Vincent’s keyboard to deliver a stunning version of her hit ballad, “Ça va ça va” (equally stunning harmonies from Ariane and Odile). The full band would return as Ariane strapped her guitar back on to deliver a rocking version of her synth-pop album track “Kundah,” before yielding to Thierry, who would raise the roof with a fabulous performance of “Les amants de Pompéi.”
Soaking up the well-deserved standing ovation that followed, Thierry would address the room one final time, before crying out “Vive la musique québécoise” – a wonderful proclamation for the love of their native province, their language, and their art. Equally wonderful is witnessing each of these artists remaining true to their roots – artists who ‘could’ likely be exposed to a much wider audience if their music was in the globally accepted English language – but who love and cherish their cultural history and heritage – and for that, we salute them. Ariane Roy, Thierry Larose, and Lou-Adriane Cassidy are fine ambassadors, equipped to carry the torch for the next generation of Francophone artists, and with their talents and influences on popular music culture, the future is both bright and encouraging for the niche Québec music scene.
Closing with a rousing full-band performance of “Chanson thème,” we left the Desjardins Cultural Centre with very elevated heart rates, knowing that we had just experienced quite possibly not only the greatest concert of the year, but one of the finest ever. Who knew that an impulsive ticket purchase would lead to something so memorable? We remain eternally indebted to the PR team at Bravo Musique for planting the seeds of this project. This show in Joliette was an exciting and exhilarating tour finale – but there is good news for anybody who may have missed out: the trio announced one more collaboration for a single show next summer at MTelus in Montréal. Tempting, VERY TEMPTING!!!
- Chanson thème (Partial a cappella Intro)
- Réponds (Lou-Adriane)
- Cantalou (Thierry)
- Fille à porter (Ariane)
- Portrait d´une Marianne (Thierry)
- Oui le serpent nous guette (Lou-Adriane)
- Tu voulais parler (Ariane)
- Baleine et moi (Thierry)
- Tu as le droit (Ariane)
- Le Pluie ne tombe jamais sur toi (Lou-Adriane)
- Plein prix (Thierry)
- Ce n´est pas de la chance (Ariane)
- ***Guitar Trio Instrumental***
- Frisbee & marmelade (Thierry)
- ***New – Si je rampe (sic)*** (Ariane)
- ***New – Je pars en vacances (sic)*** (Lou-Adriane)
- J´espère encore que quelque part l´attente s´arrête (Lou-Adriane)
- L´île à vingt-cinq sous (Thierry)
- Entres mes jambes (Lou-Adriane)
- Le ciel est en place (Ariane)
- Ça va ça va (Lou-Adriane)
- Kundah (Ariane)
- Les amants de Pompéi (Thierry)
- Chanson thème (Le Roy, La Rose et le Lou[p])
Photo Credit: Artist website (official image).