Halfway through Men I Trust’s November 4th concert, lead singer Emma Proulx politely asked the audience to buy discounted t-shirts and vinyls from their Untourable Album tour so they could pay for a new tire on their van.
“Please buy them for yourselves,” Proulx said with a smile in her hushed French Canadian voice. “Or buy them for our safety.”
If the choice was the band driving away or playing another hour, however, they wouldn’t have sold any merch. Men I Trust, an indie band from Montreal, Quebec, delivered their fashionable lo-fi indie sound, reverb-ing the Boston crowd into a dream-pop haze and leaving them wanting more.
Doors opened at 7 p.m. at Paradise Rock Club, a 933-capacity music venue on the B-line known for hosting alternative performances. The opening act at 8 p.m. featured Hannah Jadagu, a bedroom pop artist from Mesquite, Texas, based out of New York. Jadagu played a few of her own songs and M.I.A. 's “Paper Planes” before admitting she removed drums from her act to match the “chill” factor of Men I Trust.
Men I Trust delivered on the chill expectation. The band sauntered onto stage at 9 p.m. to the cheers of the capacity crowd. Cedric Martel, a bassist who isn’t in the band but regularly performs with them on tour, dropped into a dialed-back version of “Tailwhip,” a classic from Oncle Jazz that was tainted by the deafening feedback on the speakers. After this technological mishap, the music shifted towards Untourable Album, the headlining record for their tour with performances of “Oh Dove” and their new hit “Sugar.” Cheers for the band’s hit track “Lauren” followed only to be met with a tease of the song’s intro bass line from Martel. To the crowd’s dismay, Martel couldn’t figure out the rest of the song after tinkering with his bass on stage, and the band had to scrap it.
The show continued with a mix of old and new songs that lulled the audience into a back-and-forth sway. Despite the eager plea of a non-fan behind me, there was never going to be a mosh pit. Aside from Proulx endearingly saying “thank you” after each song, the band was indifferent to the crowd. Martel would walk across the stage mid-song and share a laugh with the keyboardist and founding member of the band, Dragos Chiriac. The intimate atmosphere in Paradise made the audience feel more like they were a Brad Pitt Legends of the Fall poster on the wall in one of Men I Trust’s garage sessions than in the crowd at a concert.
The crowd seemed to be made up of 50% young professionals looking for a reasonably priced ($32 for a ticket), unique date, and 50% obsessed college students. My roommates and I fell into the latter half. After hearing “Numb” in a ski edit two years ago, I became obsessed with the band. Oncle Jazz got me through quarantine and I was overjoyed when they scheduled this second night in Boston as the first night was sold out. Although “Numb” wasn’t on the setlist, my heart melted and I felt undeserving after hearing Proulx’s vocals on “You Deserve This.”
Guitarist and founding member Jesse Caron stole the attention back with a late performance of “Seven.” Caron’s guitar solo was a sharp break from their soft, synth-heavy sound and briefly vaulted the band into an alt-rock space. Caron even expressed some emotion, directing his guitar neck towards the sky with his last strum to raucous applause.
Proulx then softly proclaimed that their next song would be their last of the night. Drummer Eric Maillet, another band addition, cracked the snare drum and launched the band into an ironic performance of “All Night.” Men I Trust came back on stage to perform an encore of their classic hits “Show Me How” and “Say, Can You Hear,” rounding out a successful last stop of their tour. Hopefully, my t-shirt purchase will be enough to lure them back across the border and into the studio.
I like studying the backcountry, baking in the backcountry, and peeing in the backcountry.