About a week ago I had a conversation with a friend which went somewhat like this:

Friend: have you seen John Jacob Magistery? Montreal band.
Me: no, that I haven’t. Why?
Friend: Saw them a few days ago at The Sheep. They were pretty frickin (yes, I said frickin) amazing.

At the time I was unfamiliar to their music, never mind seeing them perform. However, particularly within their home town surrounds, people are not so uninitiated. They have received numerous accolades from both fans and media alike and had been featured on the lineup for Osheaga festival 2015. Fortunately, they were playing another date locally at Rainbow Bistro and I hurried to the venue after an earlier show just to catch their set. Led by singer/songwriter Johnny Griffin, the quintet also includes  Mackenzie Myatt (violin/vocals), Antoine Ferron (bass),  Anthony Lombardi (drums), and  Francois Jalbert (guitar).

Their music is indie folk-pop, but it’s more than expected. It’s an illustration of the attractiveness in opposition: tamed beauty in the harmonies to feral rawness on guitar. This is even more tangible when seen live where the lyrics are punctuated by the frenetic energy of Griffin. Though my friend may have been succinct in his description, it was most certainly applicable. They were frickin awesome.

John Jacob Magistery released a 4-track EP in 2014 entitled Narcissism Unto Loneliness and has spent some time in 2015 working on a new album. They are currently wrapping up their “Busy Dying” Tour in eastern Canada.

Photos by:  Dina MacLeod & Darren Boucher

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John Jacob Magistery

John Jacob Magistery

John Jacob Magistery

John Jacob Magistery

John Jacob Magistery

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