Live Concert Photography: Corridor at Union Pool 10/24/19
Over the past three or four months, I’ve managed to write a couple of posts featuring the rapidly rising Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor. The act, which is comprised of longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums), received attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere with the release of 2017’s sophomore album Supermercado, an album that received glowing praise from NPR and Vice, who referred to Supermercado as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 . . . ”
Last year, building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Quebecois band toured across Europe and made their Stateside debut with appearances at SXSW and Northside Music Festival. Continuing on that momentum, the members of Corridor opened for Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour, and have made appearances at London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival. Now, as you may recall the band’s third album Junior was released last week through Sub Pop Records, marking the first Francophone album released the renowned label has ever released.
Junior manages to continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier but unlike its predecessors, the album found the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors, out of inspired necessity. Although the members of Corridor had only recently signed to their new label home, they had firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album exactly every two years — and fully intended to make their commitment. At the time, Sub Pop gently warned the members of the band that if they wanted to release new material this fall that they needed the completed album by May 10.
So with the ink barely dried on the finalized deal, the members of Corridor went into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired blitz, finishing the album in mid-April. Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the lyrics to “Bang” written on the eve of the sessions, as the band’s Jonathan Robert began to panic. And as a result, the album’s material features fewer expansive jams, fewer overdubs. Even the album’s artwork came in the nick of time: in spite of other, meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received, Robert’s “shitty last minute collage” (of an egg saying hello) was the one his bandmates went for. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.
Junior‘s first single “Topographe,” was a crafted, breakneck gallop centered around jittering and jangling guitars, propulsive drumming and reverb-drenched call and response vocals — with the end result being a muscular swoon, evoking the fluttering pangs of love. “Domino,” the album’s second single is a breezy track that was one part New Zealand-styled jangle pop and one part explosive, motorik groove driven jam that revealed a unit that can craft an incredibly infectious track that balances deliberate craft with a wild, improvised frenzy. “Pow,” Junior‘s mesmerizing, third single may arguably be the most recognizably post punk-like song of the album. Centered around angular guitar lines, fluttering synths, ethereal vocals, an infectious yet driving hook, jittery hi-hat and explosive toms, which seem to give the song its explosive title while managing to recall XTC.
Corridor just recently closed out the first leg of a lengthy North American tour, which included a stop the other day at Union Pool — and they’ll be closing out a momentous 2019 with a handful of European Union tour dates, before returning for a handful of North American dates. Check out the remaining tour dates and photos from what was one of the best live sets I’ve seen this year, below.
Oct. 29 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso (Upstairs)
Oct. 31 – Nyon, CH – La Parenthese
Nov. 02 – Nantes, FR – Soy Music Festival
Nov. 04 – Paris, FR – Point Ephemere
Nov. 06 – London, UK – The Waiting Room
Nov. 08 – Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang
Nov. 09 – Berlin, DE – Westgermany
Nov. 10 – Kortrijk, BE – Sonic City Music Festival
Nov. 20 – Toronto, ON – The Garrison*
Nov. 22 – Montreal, QC – M for Montreal Festival (Le National) *
Nov. 28 – Quebec City, QC – l’Anti
Dec. 04 – San Francisco, CA – Milk Bar
Dec. 07 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar #
Dec. 08 – Vancouver, BC – Astoria ^
Dec. 10 – Seattle, WA – Barboza
Dec. 13 – Los Angeles, CA – Moroccan Lounge
* w/ Absolutely Free
# w/ Woolen Men
^ w/ N0V3L