The Box – Jean-Marc Pisapia – Photo Credit Andrew Clowater
Oshawa Regent Theatre
Friday, March 6th, 2020
By David Silva
It may be doom and gloom around the auto industry in Oshawa Ontario these days but Montreal’s The Box help brighten things up for the local populace with a sparking two-set concert Friday, March 6th at the city’s plush Regent Theatre.
Celebrating their 15th year together with their current lineup, The Box are acknowledging this longevity with a Closer Together tour which mixes standard hits with a couple of new cover songs that provide their setlist with additional depth.
Lead by the ageless, energetic frontman, Jean-Marc Pisapia, The Box launched their set with two high octane hits’ “Must I Always Remember” and “Carry On” before performing the band’s latest single, “Hey Little Rock Star” from their recent `Take Me Home’ EP.
Then it was time for guitarist Francois Bruneau, bassist Dan Volj and keyboardist Guillaume Jodoin to exhibit their musical chops with the moody “ So Beautiful” and instrumentally proficient “Hell On Earth” from their progressive 2005 `Black Dog There’ release. This then set off a bout of duelling instruments on “Temptation” with Jodoin’s keytar going head to head against Bruneau’s guitar and then Bruneau switching to combat Volj’s nifty bass work. Again the band produced a level of instrumental prowess which was impressive, to say the least.
Pisapia then took a break from his lead vocal duties with Volj stepping up to the mic to perform a cover of The Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way”, followed by support vocalist Isabelle Lemay who turned in a spirited version of Blondie’s “Call Me” to end the first set.
But while the other group members took a breather backstage, the always engaging Pisapia pulled up a stool and engaged in a question and answer period with the crowd, explaining the real-time criminal case behind one of their hits, “L Affaire Dumoutier”, commenting on his previous history with Men Without Hats and explaining his songwriting technique (Yes he does write his lyrics in English even though he is French Canadian).
This session was broken up by the band parading behind him dressed in their overcoats as if to suggest that if Pisapia didn’t break up his session soon, they were going home. An action that kicked into life the second set, which Pisapia promised on the outset to be all about their hits.
And he was true to his word with “Inside My Heart”, “Crying Out Loud For Love”, “My Dreams Of You” and “Dancing On The Grave” setting up the band’s big hits; “Ordinary People” and “L Affaire Dumoutier which lead to their vintage cover of “Safety Dance” and their No 1 hit “Closer Together” which had a number of patrons dancing in the aisles.
For their encore, The Box performed an energetic “Checkmate” and then unleashed their new secret weapon, a cover of Tears For Fears “Shout” with Pisapia cajoling everyone in the audience to sing along to the chorus.
Overall, engaging performance from a band which continues to generate a totally electrifying experience.
For all you Box Battalion conscripts who missed out on their Oshawa appearance. The Box can next be seen at the following venues.
- Saturday, April 4th Mascouche Q.C, Café Bistro Allegro (SOLD OUT)
- Friday, April 24th Ottawa, Brass Monkey
- Saturday, June 20th Niagara Falls, Seneca Queens Theatre
- Sunday, June 21st Pembroke, Freedom Hall (Father’s Day Matinee).