Canadian dream pop band, Men I Trust drew a sold out show at San Diego’s Soda Bar the other night.
The room flickered with an undercurrent of energy that surged through the tiny venue while the audience waited patiently for Emma Proulx and bandmates to step on stage. Prior to their emergence, folks inched closer to the platform, having no problem getting cozy with their neighbor. Undoubtedly, fans knew they were in for a treat with the groovy basslines, delicate vocals and luscious melodies on the menu for the night.
Opening the set with the smooth groove in “Show Me How,” the room began moving and simmering to the melodic beats and the gentle wave of Emma’s voice, her guitar notes effortlessly singing harmonies. The band quietly moved onto the next song while referencing the setlist written with black sharpie on the back of a plain white paper plate. Emma reminded us that her first language is French, so when she slightly tripped over her English and had to start over to sweetly thank opening band, Michael Seyer, we couldn’t help but love her delightful candor!
Without skipping a beat, drummer, Eric, counted them into the next few songs, with “Lauren” being a crowd favorite, and the band picked up the energy as a whole. Moving from a gentle sway, the audience began percolating towards that slow, steady boil with Emma, Dragos, Jessy and Eric keeping the fire stoked. “Humming Man” gave us trance-like builds, and the guitar-solo in “Seven” had the fans cheering for more! It was here that you could see the chemistry between the band transform. The smiles exchanged amongst them left us longing to know their secret. As the bass-driven vibes played against the jazzy hi-hats, it became evident how much fun they were having, and we were all lucky enough to be witnessing such a special musical moment. Clearly they were having an excellent time and we were just along for the ride, and what an awesome ride it was turning out to be!
As the night went on, the band members drew us in even more, and we began to feel less like observers and more an essential part of the show. With their new album Oncle Jazz about to be released, the single “Say, Can You Hear” was well received with its sticky bass lines cruising along softly-sung lyrics pointedly making observations of cynicism like, “You’re self-absorbed / Raving about your cryptic ways.” A song with a sizable message wrapped up in a tightly knit package complete with sugary sweet irony. At the close of their set, yells of “Encore!” flitted through out the crowd, bringing the group back out to close with the very danceable “Tailwhip.” Beyond question, Men I Trust left us all eager to get our hands on the new album, and gave us every reason to trust them as we took this journey through their musical dream. A perfect end to the week: their warm, inviting sounds, creating a giant puddle of relaxation we willingly dove head first into.