The other day in Tokyo, the weather was nicer than on average everywhere else. And on Saturday night at the MTELUS, it was warmer than anywhere in Quebec, thanks to Les Trois Accords, who kicked off the tour of their seventh album, Présence d’esprit, in front of a crowd of joyful representatives of all ages.
Touching moment. At the top of the stairs leading to the MTELUS restrooms, facing the small wall separating the women’s restrooms on the left from the men’s restrooms on the right, a father gently but firmly holds the shoulders of his 7 or 8-year-old daughter, of which it is undoubtedly one of the first shows in life.
According to the snippets of conversation that we pick up in passing, the man reminded his offspring of instructions through which they had already had to go over several times: when she left the toilet, the little one had to wait for her father to return, and especially not to venture alone in the very dense crowd. Promise, darling? Yes, dad, I promise.
Twenty years ago, in 2003, Les Trois Accords released the Big Mammoth Album with little money, and it is easy to forget how much, despite the cultural phenomenon that Hawaiian and Saskatchewan have become, no one gave much the future of these troublemakers whose main influences are Paul and Paul, Weezer and Californian skate punk. Two decades later, Simon Proulx, Alexandre Parr, Pierre-Luc Boisvert and Charles Dubreuil nevertheless form one of the Quebec groups claiming the greatest longevity.
For reference: 20 years after the release of their first record, the Rolling Stones had just wrapped up the tour of their album Tattoo You and revealed its successor, the very average Undercover. In other words: their last great songs were already behind them.
Les Trois Accords continue to combine their work with the present and add essential refrains to a catalog that would allow them to present shows until the end of time, even if they stopped recording new scrapbooks.
However, Les Trois Accords have in common with the Stones not to skimp on hits and not to abuse their new material. Although theoretically linked to Presence of Mind, their most recent album, this new tour draws almost equally from each of their seven discs, the youngest being barely more represented than the others (5 titles out of 21). To the essentials Vraiment beau, Dans mon corps and Tout nu sur la plage, the quartet continues to add young classics, such as Open your eyes Simon! (2018), offered just before the recall.
How many artists can end a show with a song from their sixth and penultimate album, without anyone feeling like their goodwill has been abused? No, there is no remedy in the sense of the melody of Simon Proulx. The rhythm possesses it, and we are victims of the dance.
Shepherd’s Pie, an ode to filial love taken from Presence of Mind, falls into the same category as The Doctor’s Office, that of songs that make you smile until you cry, and will have provided one of his most memorable communion moments at the Saturday show. Claude Meunier would have been proud to hear so many people sing the name of the dish that caused his Thérèse so much trouble.
The irony: this salutary restraint heightens the emotional power of his (almost) serious creations. Swimsuit is yet another proof that Les Trois Accords are the most reliable suppliers of songs to the Strokes not to be called the Strokes.
Supported by Gabriel Gratton on keyboards and Mélissa Lavergne on percussion (ayoye, the bongo solo in Lovers Who Love Each Other), the eternally youthful veterans concluded the evening with what is now their You Can’t Always Get What You Want to them, Dolphins and unicorns, “a song about animals”, says Simon Proulx, but which perfectly encapsulates the state of euphoria in which anyone was at the exit.
“Tomorrow we’ll call each other and we’ll tell each other that it was worth it,” said the singer, introducing Saskatchewan. Leaving home to hear Les Trois Accords is always worth it.