‘More Cowbell!’ for Hubert Lenoir’s Wild US Debut at SXSW The Canadian Musician Has Drawn Comparisons To Bowie, But He Is Clearly In His Own Element
AUSTIN, TX- My second day at SXSW 2019 turned out to be a wild one with regards to the acts I saw that day. I started the afternoon at Mohawk Austin for a Brooklyn Vegan showcase, not at all knowing what was in store. The third scheduled act of the afternoon was an artist by the name of Hubert Lenoir from Quebec City. To say the performance that him and his band put out was unique would be a severe mischaracterization.
As I was awaiting Lenoir’s set, I actually had no idea who or what he looked like. So when a short, rather young looking guy wearing eyeliner, a bucket hat, a striped shirt and Dior shorts walked up to the microphone with his band, I wasn’t really sure what to expect next. I noticed that the instrumental arrangement consisted of the usual bass guitar, electric guitar, drums, and keyboard; but what caught my eye was a saxophone, and most interestingly a cowbell.
Lenoir and his band played his debut album titled Darlène which tells the love story of a girl from Quebec who meets an American boy wanting to commit suicide. It’s a jazzy glam pop-rock album with heavy jazz influence sung mainly in French. The wild and unpredictable at times music in this album is very indicative of the type of artist that Lenoir is trying to be. “Tôn Hotel” and “Fille de personne II” are the two stand-out songs which feature a heavy dose of the sax and cowbell that make you want to dance free and uninhibited as Lenoir was doing on stage. In fact the entire band’s energy was off the charts, with the cowbell player probably going the hardest during the entire set.
Lenoir has often been compared to Bowie in his young musical career and while I think his demeanor and look may qualify, the rest of the antics are of his own traits. The performance was filled with inter-band make outs, multiple crowd surfing attempts, and band-members smoking while playing. Lenoir’s flamboyant stage movements and provocative actions only increased with every song he sang which culminated to a point where I thought he and the crowd may tear the entire place down. At one juncture, Lenoir climbed on top of the speakers on stage, grabbed onto the bars holding up the stage covering, and then swung his feet to leg lock the head of a member of his band while she was playing the tambourine (photo of it in the gallery).
It was one hell of a performance and one that I will definitely never forget. Hubert Lenoir brought his own style, his sass, his swagger, his energy, and his unique personality to SXSW and I was incredibly lucky to witness it myself. This was his first show in the US but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t his last.
Quand nous avons vu Hubert Lenoir at @mformontreal he slayed.
TBH we weren’t sure how it would go in the daytime at #SXSW
— Canada at SXSW (@CanadaSXSW) March 14, 2019
— J (@basinmusic) March 14, 2019