M at Wrongbar

M at Wrongbar, Monday May 26 Rating: NNNNEverything was just so M.The non-pop-star pop star who used to be one.

M at Wrongbar, Monday May 26 Rating: NNNN

Everything was just so M.

The non-pop-star pop star who used to be one half of a trash punk duo came out with guns blazing in a sweltering Wrongbar on Monday night. Immediately apparent: she’s supremely confident, totally badass, oozes onstage charisma, and whoa: her voice is perfect. She recorded the vocals on her solo debut, No Mythologies To Follow, in her bedroom and they sound great on record. But maybe she wasn’t going full-throttle in her childhood home, because what came out live was next-level belting from the gut without a crack, hitch or hiccup.

M was warm and friendly and excited, shouting out accolades for our city often (“…very good first impression! It’s hot outside!”) and inserting little nods to Toronto into the lyrics of her tunes – almost all of which came from her aforementioned electro-pop-R&B album. In that way, she’s a rah-rah-rah pop star. But in other ways, she doesn’t give a fuck. The (ironic?) normcore scrunchie encircling her high braid that she whipped around in circles the muscle shirt the black and white images (crowds, animals, lyrics, many of M – cheesy music video style) flickering behind the three-piece backing band that were twiddling, drumming and strumming behind her. She’s cool because she isn’t trying to be.

Her pipes were equally flawless on faster tunes like Walk This Way or XXX 88 and on slower ballads like Dust Is Gone. Regardless of tempo, she was gesticulating and dancing to the beat.

Near the end, we were starting to wonder when she was going to crowd surf. She had, after all, given an elated surfer an enthusiastic “Way to go, girl!” during Red In The Grey, and M herself descended into the crowd a couple of times to sing with her fans. When she finally did dive in, M kept on singing while she floated back to the stage.

We swayed along wistfully for Never Wanna Know and M had everyone in fits for Glass, chanting along to the song’s “hey, hey, hey” punctuation marks. No one believed her when she claimed it was the last tune, and sure enough, excited as all hell, she re-emerged – more sweat than clothes at this point, her guitarist having abandoned his top entirely – for her now-famous Spice Girls cover Say You’ll Be There and finally, Don’t Wanna Dance. Everyone, of course, did wanna dance. Despite the lingering mist of perspiration.

julial@nowtoronto.com | @julialeconte

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