It was a far cry from his sold out shows back home in Boston, but last night Ryan Montbleau showed why he’s certainly going to be huge in the near future. With a crowd of about 75 people, packed into a tiny basement, the Boston-based band played a set of jazzy, soul tunes leaning heavily on their just released sophomore album Patience on Friday.
This was their 14th show in 15 days, a good excuse as any to pack it in, especially since the bands hangdog expressions were evident. However, the five-piece did anything but pack it in. They delivered an energetic two-hour set.
If you close your eyes while listening to Ryan Montbleau, it’s easy to hear hints of Stevie Wonder in his earnest vocal delivery. Musically the band is perhaps the best French jazz, ragtime, soul band since Django Reinhardt. All the band members had a chance to shine in extended jams like “Stay” or “Starting Again” and the reggae-fied “One Fine Color.”
It didn’t take long for the jamband crowd to start doing their thing. Plenty of audience members were up and dancing, letting loose, enjoying the easy-going vibe. You get the feeling, via the audience’s reaction to the music and Ryan’s stage presence, that there is no limit to how popular the band could become. A break here or a break there, or just the constant grind of touring and making music should put these guys on par with any of the big names on the jam band scene.
One thing is for sure. These guys have got some serious musical chops. I got the chance to chat up the drummer, James Cohen, before the show and he seemed like a genuinely good guy. If you get the chance to see them on this tour you should do so, it’ll be a night of music you won’t soon forget.