Review by Andrew Horan
Photos by Walid Lodin

About half-way through her set, Beatrice Martin, aka Coeur de Pirate, commented that she was playing Toronto on an important night.

Namely, it was the Maple Leafs‘ home opener against her hometown team, the Montreal Canadians. The show attracted a sizable crowd who were clearly willing to forgo catching the Buds first game of the season in favour of Coueur de Pirate’s sumptuous indie pop tunes.

She’s currently on the road in support of her excellent new album Roses. The album’s 11 tracks are predominantly in English but throughout her set, she still delivered songs from her first two albums as well as between song banter in both official languages.

Opening act Kandle had a great stage presence, at one point she joked that she was going to dance as much as she could in the boots she was wearing but her set was hampered by her slow-moving indie rock, though she did turn in an impressive cover of Lesley’s Gore’s ‘You Don’t Know Me’.

When the lights dropped and Martin and her bandmates took to the stage, the sizable crowd let out a loud cheer. Kicking off the set with ‘Ocean’s Brawl’, she divided her time between playing the piano and stepping up to the mic to dance while she sang.

The show was a mix of songs from the new album and her previous releases, her self-titled debut and her sophomore effort Blonde. In place of the rap break on ‘I Don’t Want to Break Your Heart’, she led the audience in a wave along. (Seriously Beatrice, you couldn’t have enlisted the aid of one of Toronto’s many talented MC’s?)

Martin turned in a slightly different take on ‘Our Love’. She also dedicated a song to her hometown and being on a Tinder date, asking if anyone in the audience was on a date before launching into the country-influenced number. Her bandmates left her to play one song on her own before returning for ‘Cast Away’.

Though many of the songs were in French, it wasn’t hard to see why Coeur de Pirate’s music has so much appeal. Between Martin’s engaging stage presence and the incredibly gorgeous music she makes, she’s discovered a winning formula no matter which language she’s singing in. She kept up a great energy level throughout the gig.

While she said she had written ‘The Way Back Home’ for her daughter Romy because she was on the road so much, she admitted that the song could apply to anyone. It also gave the show one of its most magical moments as she help the audience spellbound.

During the two song encore, the two most important songs according to Martin, she introduced her bandmates and had the audience singing along. The show wrapped up with ‘Carry On’, the shimmering pop masterpiece that kicks off Roses.

Martin ably demonstrated why she will doubtlessly make serious inroads with English-speaking audiences with her new album while continuing to appeal to fans of her French-language music.

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