Moon vs Sun – Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida @ Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre – May 29, 2015

chantal and raineBeyoncé and Jay Z. Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Sonny and Cher. Diana Krall and Elvis Costello. And even Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger. Musical couples are not that rare. What is rare is when they decide to work together. Most try to keep their professional and private separate. After long, successful and Juno Award winning careers Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida (frontman of Our Lady Peace) have decided it is time to buck that trend. Both are now in their 40s and are deep enough into their careers that they don’t feel insecure about sharing the spotlight. Also, on a practical level as parents of three young boys it makes sense on a practical level that they work together and tour together to minimize time away from them.

As Raine joked a couple of songs into the show, he and his wife have formed a band called Moon vs Sun a few weeks back, have started recording songs and are excited about the whole thing. After listening to them perform their 1 hour 20 minute set Friday night at the Corona Theatre music fans should also be excited.

Opening up the evening was local singer/songwriter Jeffrey Piton. Hailing from St. Jean-sur-Richelieu the La Voix participant released his first EP in 2011 called We All Heal Over Time. Armed with his acoustic guitar and a harmonica he performed 2 songs in French and 3 in English. During his short 20 minute set the crowd sat silent (meaning they were listening so hard you could hear the bartender working at the back of the room) listening to his soft, breathy voice and poignant lyrics as he ran through with little to none in between song patter his songs “Mahogany Heart”, “Bricoler” and “All of My Friends”. Reminded me of mix of Coldplay and Dallas Green.

This was billed as an intimate evening with the two well-known Canadian musicians and that is exactly what it was. Besides the fact that it was in the small Corona Theatre allowing fans to get that up close feeling, it was driven home about two-thirds of the way into the show a boisterous fan who yelled he had been a fan of Raine’s since 1995 was invited with his girlfriend up on stage by the OLP frontman to watch the rest from stools side stage. It was just that kind of evening. The two performers, who bring different talents and auras to the stage, allowed the whole thing to seem very informal. Cute joking and bantering between the married couple ran throughout the evening making it seem like you were watching them perform some songs in their living room. At one point, Raine stated with his tongue firmly in his cheek that he was in charge, but anyone watching the show knew that wasn’t the case. It was an equal partnership happening and everyone was the better for it.

The evening consisted of some new songs, covers and older songs from each of their respective catalogues. For fans of both who had followed them since the early 90s, it was quite interesting to hear long familiar songs done in a different tempo and a change in the arrangements. Highlights of the evening were when Kreviazuk took the lead vocal reins on a cover of The Pixies excellent “Where Is My Mind” and a slowed down version of the OLP hit “Superman’s Dead” as the encore.

Some songs featured both on vocals while others had one or the other stepping into the spotlight alone. It was an interesting to have their distinctive vocals performing together. Raine has the prototypical rock band frontman voices meaning it features quirks over technical prowess. Whereas Chantal’s is technically superior, powerful and has a wonderful always on the edge of cracking quality to it. This despite the fact that she was just getting over being sick. Chantal, when she wasn’t leaning away from her microphone and coughing, was not able to hit those stunningly powerful notes she usually does, but still her voice is quite a weapon conveying any emotion a song asks of it.

While he looked the part of the prototypical rock band frontman with his black jeans and leather jack (with a jaunty scarf around his neck), Raine kept the lead singer for a band that filled stadiums in the 90s to a minimum. Usually an intense and active guy on stage, he only allowed that to break through a couple of times during last night’s set like on the OLP song, “In Repair”. To counteract all Raine’s rockiness, Chantal was rocking the California (where the two have a house) boho look with a shawl, black tank top and floppy hat.

The two have built catalogues upon the writing of strong songs and having the two deciding to write together is an exciting prospect. Based upon what they brought to the stage last night they are not going to give us pop songs that will sell millions of copies. Rather the songs will have a depth and lyrical intricacy that is obviously influenced by the like of Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young.

Set list:
1) Under the Stars (Chantal and Raine)
2) Careful What You Wish For (Raine)
3) I’m Gonna Break Your Heart (Chantal and Raine)
4) Yellow Brick Road (Raine)
5) In This Life (Chantal)
6) Don’t Let Another Year Go By (Chantal and Raine)
7) Innocent (Raine)
8) Johnny Appleseed – Joe Strummer cover (Raine)
9) Before You (Chantal)
10) Montreal (Raine)
11) Maybe We Were Made For This (Chantal)
12) Where is My Mind – Pixies cover (Chantal)
13) In Repair (Raine)
14) Love It When You Make Me Beg (Chantal and Raine)
15) Superman is Dead (Chantal)

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