Lisa Leblanc’s set at the 27 Club was rife with French-language sing-alongs, heavy metal covers, and odes to stolen cars, dive bars, cowboys, and Kraft Dinner.
The Acadian “trash-folk” singer took the stage at 9:30 Friday night, opening with “City Slickers and Country Boys.” Next up was brutally honest breakup song “Could You Wait Until I’ve Had My Coffee,” which has Leblanc pre-empting “the talk” by rattling off a list of grievances:
“Since you’re bringing up the subject, I never thought you were the one / You were bad in the sack / and you’re kind of a dick when you’re drunk / you owe me two-hundred bucks / and your band kinda sucks.”
With its intimate feel and superb acoustics, the 27 Club was an ideal setting for Leblanc’s songs, which mix the frank honesty of country music with rootsy arrangements and punk-rock energy. Tones and tempos shifted suddenly, with swelling blues guitar lines overpowering gentle acoustic rhythms as Leblanc’s voice intensified to an impassioned wail.
Later in the show, she indulged in country-and-western fantasies with “J n’pas un cowboy” and folk song “Katie Cruel.” Another highlight was the raucous “Ti-Gars,” which she explained was a tribute to Cajun music, inspired by her travels to Louisiana; the song forsakes the standard “You stole my heart” refrain for “Dude, you stole my car.”
The show was a goodbye of sorts, with Leblanc announcing that she’s currently wrapping up her last round of shows before she goes on sabbatical.
Fittingly, this tour gave Leblanc the opportunity to bring along best friend Laura Sauvage as her opening act. “We’ve been best friends since we were fourteen,” Leblanc said of her tour-mate. “We even took guitar lessons from the same guy who was the janitor at the school.”
Leblanc donned a banjo for closing hat trick of country-punk rocker “Gold Diggin’ Hoedown,” bluesy-bluegrass “You Look Like Trouble (But I Guess I Do Too),” and her room-rattling cover of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades,” which convincingly made the argument for banjo as a metal instrument.
“You can do what you usually do when you see a banjo, which is mosh,” she advised.
She encored with lonesome mandolin lament “Why Does It Feel So Lonely (When You Are Around)?”, before bringing up Sauvage for an earnest duet of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Going Through Changes.” After a spirited sing-along of “Aujourd’hui, ma vie c’est d’la marde,” Leblanc concluded with a new, unreleased song titled “I Hate Myself.”
The song, which she said she wrote after a bout of Instagram induced envy, is an ironic anthem for the social media age, with its chorus of “I hate myself / Don’t you hate yourself? / Why don’t we all hate ourselves together?” Self-deprecating and oddly affirmational, it was classic Leblanc.
The show left everyone wanting more – and hoping that Leblanc’s break won’t be too long.
Opening act Laura Sauvage put on a killer show. Channeling a hippie Courtney Love, Sauvage and her band played a set of biting hard-rock that recalled grunge, punk, and vintage space-rock in equal measure.
Line-up: Laura Sauvage / Lisa Leblanc
Venue: The 27 Club, Ottawa
Date: Friday, Dec. 7/2018