On the final night of Megaphono I took in two side-by-side shows that couldn’t be any more different from each other if they tried. At Black Squirrel Books was a soft and intimate show by Moonfruits and Cedric Noel, while next door at House of Targ was loud, heavy and all-metal thanks to Monobrow, The Dead Centuries, and Destroy Clocks. Since our other writer Anna reviewed the Targ show, I focused on the Black Squirrel gig.

The major differences between the acts was matched by the contrast in these two venues. Black Squirrel Books is a quaint book store/coffee shop (that is licensed) and was perfect for the gentle approach of Cedric Noel and the francophone folk sounds of Moonfruits, while House of Targ is a basement pinball and perogie bar best known for hosting some of the loudest punk and metal shows in town. It very much felt like stepping into different worlds every time I went back and forth, even if the venues are right next to each other. Maybe it wasn’t just their difference but also the extreme blast of cold on my face every time I stepped out, either way it was an excellent time.

Moonfruits performing at Black Squirrel Books in Ottawa during Megaphono 2019.

Cedric Noel is a singer-songwriter currently based in Montréal, and he began by inviting everyone to come up closer and join him. He encouraged people to take a seat and get comfortable, as his shows are more about comfort than music. His stage banter between songs was delightful and certainly had everyone at eased and laughing. His guitar playing and voice were gentle and soothing. Music you could fall asleep to, but not due to lack of interest—due to absolute soothing audio pleasure. He got the crowd involved in one song having us do some coordinated snapping, not clapping as that would have been too loud. His cover of The National’s “Bloodbuzz Ohio” was spot-on and a very pleasant surprise.

Following Cedric Noel at Black Squirrel was Moonfruits. The husband and wife combo plays beautiful folk music with mostly francophone vocals and were the perfect follow-up for the crowd’s mood. To help those who may not speak French, Alex Millaire, is kind enough to tell the song’s tale or provide context between songs. I have been lucky enough to see Moonfruits several times before and I am always so pleasantly impressed with how tight they are, the beauty of the combination of their voices, and just how sincerely happy they are to be on stage doing what they love. No matter the size of the crowd, and on this night it was a larger one, they just look to be floating on clouds up their doing their thing. No matter what language you speak, Moonfruits music will speak to your heart and are not to be missed.

Needless to say it was a wild night of contrasting sounds between Black Squirrel and Targ, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Another great Megaphono down, here is to many more.

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