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Perez Hilton presents...

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I wasn’t sure what to expect as I cruised up Fairfax on the way to the Silent Movie Theater. Having never watched Dawson’s Creek, I was only slightly familiar with Chantal Kreviazuk’s music and, naturally, had never seen her live. What’s more—why was Perez Hilton hosting the whole shebang in the first place? And why was it at a movie theater? And, perhaps most importantly, would there be free booze? Thankfully, all of my fears and suspicions were soon allayed.

There was free booze! And even food! Amid a quickly growing crowd, I tipped back a Corona and nibbled at some cheese cubes and perfectly dry, jerky-like chicken skewers (so thin and salty! I love event catering!) Soon enough, everyone was ushered into the theater and the show began. The Gossip Gangster came up first and gave a slightly rambling introduction that involved his being a little drunk and Avril Lavigne being a “fucking douche”. After that, Chantal took the stage in a Pucci dress and knee-high leather boots. The vocal Winnipeg contingent in the audience went wild.

Her set was a breezy nine songs and included her big American hits, Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home" and "In This Life" as well as several cuts from her new album Ghost Stories. Of those songs, "Wonderful" and "Ghosts of You" registered strongest. She also sang--at Perez's request--a rather melancholy rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Leather and Lace" which worked its usual magic with the crowd (I've yet to meet anyone who hates that song). She closed with "All I Can Do", a rollicking tune that she introduced as a song she had written for her two children. Once that ended, the audience gave her a long standing ovation.

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Known as much for writing songs for others (the aforementioned Avril along with Kelly Clarkson, Mandy Moore, Hilary Duff, et al), Chantal came across as a gifted performer in her own right. Her voice was strong, ranging from a raspy whisper to a soaring belt in an instant. Her banter with the crowd between songs was warm, smart and self-deprecating--perfectly Canadian when you think about it. The sound of the room and the band was spare and clean. Aside from Chantal on piano, there was a violinist, a cellist/guitarist and a tambourinist/bongo player (or is it bongoist?). All in all, it was a pleasant, if brief, evening. Everyone was given a copy of Ghost Stories on the way out and I listened to it on the lengthy drive home to my Venice manse. Good drink, good venue, good show.

Ghosts Stories is available at Amazon and iTunes.

"Wonderful"

"All I Can Do"

"In This Life" (live)