The Montreal live wire shows why she's one of 2018's star performers.
Davidson has had an unthinkably busy year. Thursday's show was her second at Elsewhere in 2018, following a performance, in April, alongside her partner Pierre Guerineau as Essaie Pas. At that show, Davidson mostly stood behind the boards, twisting knobs on her sequencer to reproduce the face-melting beats from their 2018 LP, New Path. Flying solo, she took centre stage, her presence a bit like a self-help coach with attitude. This was a far cry from the Davidson I saw back in 2017, who hid behind her massive cloak of black hair. Here, she seemed much more comfortable in her own skin, both as a performer and a vocalist. She paced the floor with intent, at one point gesturing with her hands for extra volume on an updated version of her 2016 single "Naive To the Bone." "It's 2018," she said. "Get real."
The dance floor, thin earlier in the evening, was packed for Davidson's set. Chatter in many tongues—including, of course, French—buzzed about her new album. She came out in full force with the playfully sensual "So Right," which she accented with cheeky eyebrow raises and come-hither dance moves, like a kind of techno burlesque. The audience, for its part, needed no seducing, singing along to every word right out of the gate. A sweaty minority took hold in the centre, thrashing around like they were at a rave. During a lengthy interlude that included instrumental tracks like the warp-speed "Lara," Davidson took a step back into the role of DJ and producer. But it was as a singer that she was most engaging, even if her vocals were frequently a bit too low in the mix to get the drill-sergeant effect of her records.
"I rarely do encores," said Davidson, before launching into "Adieu Au Dancefloor," a string-heavy jam that saw her back on the mic. For Davidson, who has spent the past decade recording, touring and reinventing herself, this performance seemed to fold her past as a band member into her present as a globetrotting producer. It was exhilarating to watch.
Photo credit /
Luis Nieto Dickens