Final Flash, a self-described psychedelic-folk-rock band hailing from Montréal, performed at The Mansion’s Living Room on Sept. 18 with enthusiasm as contagious as their melodies.
Final Flash is composed of Joey Chaperon Cyr, Mathieu Bourret, Alexandre Girard, Andre Bendahan and Maxime Hebert, whose sartorial influences clearly reflect their musical ones.
“We like the retro 1960s and 1970s bands, ones with long shaggy hair,” Chaperon Cyr said, shaking his own long shaggy hair out of his eyes. The band agrees, adding they also take inspiration from what they consider the diversity present in modern music. Bendahan remarks that music in the U.S., Canada, and England is becoming mixed and it’s often difficult to tell where music comes from, which he likes, as it encourages a wide range of musical styles and sounds. In the same vein, the band doesn’t feel that their sound is a product of Montréal, but they consider the city an influence all the same. There’s a “Montréal way of doing things,” Girard said, who cites the number of bands who come through Montréal as a major influence on the musical culture of the city.
Saturday’s show was opened by three other performers: Justin Andre, From The Sun and The Pariahs. Justin Andre and The Pariahs were fairly standard-issue indie rock, but From The Sun were quite different. Their performance was undeniably unique, but any novelty to their sound wore off within the first five minutes. The performance consisted of one long, synthesized, squealing instrumental wail that left this reviewer’s ears bleeding.
Watching From The Sun perform was something akin to watching a group of banshees front as a rock band. Although, to their credit, several of the audience members were impressively able to overlook the steady deluge of shrill squeals and appeared to be enjoying themselves.
Final Flash began their performance at midnight, and the crowd was understandably beginning to thin by this point. Despite this, the band was enthusiastic, and made use of a variety of instruments from a double-neck guitar to a harmonica. The band’s howling voices and pounding beats succeeded in engaging the small crowd.
While their songs still sound stellar recorded, they were much better live with the instrumentals playing the clear starring role.
The band had a pulsating energy and their greatest strength lay in the cohesive nature of their performance. Although their voices vary occasionally (from howling to plaintive and back again), the feel is a continuously upbeat, rock vibe with moments that hearken back to the retro bands they’ve found inspiration from. Despite their fairly consistent sound, the songs are easily distinguishable from one another, adding interest without interfering with their brand of sound.
Final Flash is currently touring with their next destinations set as western Canada and Australia. Despite more exotic locations they’ve played, the band agreed they always enjoy playing in Kingston at The Mansion.
“It’s a fun university town,” Hebert simply said.
Their next tour dates may be planned out, but their immediate direction is planned show-to-show. While Chaperon Cyr said that it’s a “big blur of mystery,” he agrees with Bendahan about where the band is headed musically. Like anyone doing what they love, they want to keep on doing it—and well. They urge Queen’s students to help them by buying their album, or, “if you can’t afford it, steal it online, and become a fan!” Bendahan said with a laugh.
No matter how you hear it, I think you’ll become a fan. It’s not music that will change your life, but it’s authentic—and, really, in a world where the charts are dominated by Miley Cyrus’ brand of bland, computer manipulated pop (“Blegh!” Chaperon Cyr said), what more can you ask for?
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