Show Review: Gallant At The Mod Club

By Isaac Fox, Feature Photo via Twitter

I wasn’t expecting to see Gallant live. Prior to Monday night, I had only heard two of his songs: the 2015 R&B slow-jam “Weight In Gold” and the new duet “Skipping Stones,” with Jhene Aiko. After my younger brother (who’s sung Gallant’s praises to me all summer) accidentally bought me a ticket, I tried reselling it last-minute and offered it to a few friends, thinking someone who knew more of his songs than I did might get better use of it. But nobody snapped at the offer. So I went.

And he tore the Mod Club stage apart.

After a laid-back set by local openers Hard Streets, Gallant took to the stage with his band as an interlude from his album drifted slowly from speakers. Launching straight into “Open Up,” a slow number from his 2016 album Ology, his commanding vocals brought the track an intense energy that even the studio version—which I have now listened to five times—can’t capture. This was a trend throughout his set; Gallant takes sultry slow-jams and injects them  with even more passion using his powerful range, which effortlessly floats up into registers us regular humans can scarcely conceive of. As the night continued, he gave the audience a taste of album cuts “Episode,” “Talking To Myself,” and “Bourbon;” stalking the stage while pumping his chest in time with the powerful kicks.

Gallant’s chemistry with his band can’t be overlooked either. There was a number of moments throughout the show where Gallant would just look over at his guitarist, and you’d see a slight grin come over his face as he ripped into an exciting solo. When the drummer provided an especially funky fill or got the crowd dancing with a high-tempo drum break, Gallant was just as into it as we were. He’d turn away from the crowd, contorting his body and banging his head to the rhythm. And the keyboardist—an excellent vocalist in her own right—covered Jhene Aiko’s part on “Skipping Stones” right alongside him, earning a massive round of applause from the crowd. Collectively, they were magnetic, and their shared passion elevated Gallant’s already-brilliant vocal work to an entirely new level.

After seeing Gallant live, I’m a convert. His voice is undeniable, he has amazing chemistry with his band, and he brings a raw energy to the stage that I have simply never seen in any R&B show I’ve ever seen. The only thing I regret is not having explored his work sooner. Next time he comes through Toronto, I’ve got no doubt I’ll make it out, cause his show’s worth its weight in gold.

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