Jess HillMark Berube

Date and Venue 18 March @ 8pm | Historic Theatre, The Cultch, 1895 Venables, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Manitoba-born and South African-raised Mark Berube and his band aka The Patriotic Few performed songs that cut straight to the heart of the Vancouver audience. The Historic Theatre was jampacked, and at the end, after numerous encores, he and his band received a standing ovation.

The show lasted almost three hours. His band sang for almost two hours. The first part was a solo performance by Jess Hill who reminded me of the folk singers of old, especially Joan Baez, as she sang and conversed with the audience.

There were a number of performers who joined the skeletal band of four, some singing rap songs, others in recitative/hip-hop style, and others, serving as back-up to Berube, also complementing the band of four composed of a cellist, a drummer, a guitar base player, and Berube on the piano. A violinist came in to supplement the band, and towards the end a harmonica player.

What impressed me most was the band was singing and playing Berube's compositions straight from their hearts, and even Berube felt this as he belted out songs, personal and political, the personal ones with certain poignancy very rare among contemporary songwriters.

Berube is currently based in Montreal and has just released his fourth album, June in Siberia. He has performed in The Olympia of Paris and was once the opening act for The Cranberries in Geneva.

This is one Canadian we should be proud of, touring restlessly across North America and Europe, establishing himself as an international artist on the rise.

© 2011 Ed Farolan