Rock Concert at Parc de la Francophonie: The Smile Soars to New Heights with Radiohead’s Soul

2023-07-15 03:40:11

The popular event may have been on the Plains of Abraham under the direction of Pitbull on Friday, but the quintessential musical event took place at Parc de la Francophonie, where The Smile made the soul of Radiohead soar. during a fabulous rock concert.

• Read also: Festival d’été de Québec: Pitbull’s big “fiesta” sets the Plains on fire

Who would have thought that the first visit to Quebec City by Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, two of the greatest musical creators of the past 30 years with Radiohead, would take place in front of a handful of festival-goers on the Festival d’été’s second largest stage?

Admittedly, we were expecting the English on the Plains, but we didn’t lose out. The intimacy and the level of listening provided by the Parc de la Francophonie brought to mind the memory of the two performances of Radiohead at Place des Arts in Montreal in 2006.

Born in the midst of a pandemic and completed by the excellent drummer Tom Skinner (saxophonist Robert Stillman joined them 3-4 times along the way), The Smile presented itself, at the FEQ, as the derivative product of Radiohead on most successful and with the greatest potential for growth.


Consisting mostly of all the songs from the April 2022 album A Light For Attracting Attention, the menu was enticing. The tasting was exquisite.

After an aerial entry on Pana-Vision, Thom Yorke left the piano, picked up his guitar and put the pedal to the bottom, lining up The Opposite et A Hairdryerduring which the virtuoso Greenwood tortured his six-string with a bow.

Some novelties not yet available, which will be found on a second album, announced Yorke, were also on the program.

Under Our Pillowsall in controlled acceleration/deceleration, and Read The Roomwhich takes a pleasurable rock turn in its second part, highlighted the talent of composers of the two musicians, just like People on Balconiesanother skilfully complete proposal whose jazz influences sounded like the Radiohead era Amnesiac.

Raging Guitars

The electronic textures of The Smile obviously took the place we expected in a project led by Thom Yorke, especially during the heady The Smokebut at its best, the concert was dominated by raging, dissonant guitars.

This was particularly the case during We Don’t Know What Tomorrow Bringsremoving as much as possible, You Will Never Work In Television Again et Bending Hectictitle recently released off the album and whose rise to power gave a breathtaking finale.

Little talkative, but still as inhabited. Thom Yorke left us after picking up a piece from one of his solo excursions. With a strobe rhythm that blended perfectly with very fine lighting, Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses could (should) become a staple of The Smile shows.

Now Radiohead on the Plains? If the group resumes service one day, fingers crossed. Otherwise, The Smile will always be welcome.

Alvvays: statically yours

Going on stage right after the exuberant Teke::Teke (see below in this text) was not ideal for the Ontario group Alvvays.

Not that their indie-pop is not of quality, on the contrary, but five static musicians in the purest tradition of shoegaze, that contrasted with the Japanese explosion collected a few moments earlier. Apart from a few interventions from singer Molly Rankin, it was quiet in terms of engagement with the crowd.

Musically, nothing to complain about. Their performance articulated around songs from their most recent album Blue Rev, fresh off the shortlist for the Polaris Prize, was flawless. She even gained in intensity the further she went, so finding the right line-up of songs is a significant asset.

Photo Cédric Bélanger/Le Journal de Québec

Teke::Teke: crazy like in a Tarantino movie

The comparison is easy given the Japanese influences and origins of the members of the unclassifiable Montreal group Teke::Teke, but we had the sweet feeling of being served an alternative version of the soundtrack of Kill Billin the middle of the evening.

The progressive Japanese surf rock of the septet, led by the very expressive singer Maya Kuroki with oversized glasses, has indeed this little something wildly intoxicating and exotic, thanks among other things to the use of a trombone, a transverse flute and their epic instrumental flights.

Very moved to find himself on a poster popular with music lovers, guitarist Serge Nakauchi Pelletier urged everyone to take advantage of the present moment. One could add for those who have been converted that most of the songs on the program are found on their second album, Hagatapublished in June.

Teke::Teke in concert at the Parc de la Francophonie on July 14th. Photo Cédric Bélanger/Le Journal de Québec

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