Photos and words by Maitland Shaheen/Ottawa Showbox
On Friday evening, Spectrasonic presented Montreal-born Béatrice Martin, known as Coeur de Pirate, for one of the first shows of her spring tour. The sold-out show filled the Bronson Centre to the rim, reportedly bringing over 800 people. Concertgoers ranged in age from 10 to 65, which proved not only the wide demographic of Coeur de Pirate’s fans, but of the Ottawa music scene as a whole.
Local singer-songwriter Amanda Lowe, originally from PEI, started the evening with an acoustic set. Lowe charmed the crowd with her warm personality, sharing anecdotes that inspired her emotive, handwritten songs. She sang in both English in French, and, much like her successor, brought joy into her performance of heartbreak songs.
After a well-received performance by Lowe, who boasted a unique, soprano voice, Beatrice Martin took the stage.
The concert’s theme was simple but glamorous. Martin wore a long, sheer black dress with her band in matching all-back ensembles. When a single spotlight wasn’t on Martin, images of flowers (reminiscent of her latest album, Roses) and geometric, abstract art were projected across the concert hall. The effect was a dreamy vibe that captured her haunting songs perfectly.
Martin danced throughout the set, accompanying her slower tracks with graceful movements. At one point, the band left the stage while she performed a short, choreographed modern dance.
Once Martin returned to the piano, she performed a solo piano rendition of “Francis,” a popular track from her debut album, before surprising the audience with a cover. Martin played a stylized version of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” “It’s a club song,” Martin explained, “but because I’m singing it, it’s going to be sad.” The result was not only an admirable twist on the song, but proof that Martin is a remarkably talented pianist who can alter any genre of music to suit her style.
The final performances of the night included “Comme Des Enfants,” Martin’s debut song that made her such an iconic Francophone artist. She invited the audience to sing and move along, bringing the large crowd together with ease. She then ended the set with a popular track from her latest album, “Carry On,” closing the night with an upbeat tone. Even if she admits to being a writer of sad songs, she managed to bring joyful elements to a stellar performance.