Festival d'ete de Quebec Day 9: Female Artists Electrify the Night
by Kevin Wierzbicki
Well into its 12-day run, Quebec City, Canada's massive Festival d'ete de Quebec (FEQ) presented an exciting evening of music from female artists and female-fronted groups on July 14, 2022. Women were already very well represented in the FEQ lineup with Halsey, Charli XCX, Alison Wonderland, Gayle and Basia Bulat among those performing in prior days. FEQ always presents a very diverse lineup and it was great to see the ladies rocking out on Day 9.
Miels is a duo fronted by Paige Barlow with JF Lussier on guitar, and for this live show they were augmented by a drummer. Lussier is from Montreal and Barlow is from California but she sings primarily in French.
A real dynamo on stage, Barlow never stopped moving during the show as she danced and pranced and shook her long hair, often striking rock 'n' roll poses like singing while on her knees, lying on the stage and generally just presenting an amazing stage presence. Miel's music ranges from pop-rock to heavy, blues-oriented rock that takes its flavor from Lussier's guitar work, which in a couple of instances recalled the great Jimi Hendrix. Barlow, a striking figure throughout the show, often added to the percussion by playing tambourine and on one occasion she even tapped out a rhythm on cowbell. The duo played songs from throughout their career, focusing on tunes from their new album Lecher Le Ciel.
Another duo that performed on Day 9 that features a front woman was Quebec's own Les Deuxluxes. Anna Frances Meyer sings and plays bass for the band while Etienne Barry features on guitar that he plays standing or, most of the time, sitting at a bass drum with a kick pedal.
The duo's sound is a sort of heavy blues rock, not unlike something you might hear from Jack White or the Black Keys. Meyers sings in French but there was no mistaking what the incendiary track "Lighter Fluid," from their 2020 album of the same name, was about. Giant flames were projected on the screen behind the band as they played the cut. Fitting with how heavy their music is, Meyer often played a Flying V-style bass during the show. Another highlight of their set was "I am the Man," also from the Lighter Fluid
The biggest name for the day among the women was pop superstar Becky G. With millions and millions of followers on social media, Becky G has been all over the pop charts including to the coveted #1 position. She has collaborated with the likes of Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, Anitta and Pitbull. She's also featured on the silver screen and the small screen with appearances in the "Power Rangers" film and the TV show "Empire." With a huge crowd anticipating her arrival on stage, a DJ played a brief set of pulsing Latin-flavored EDM, at the end of which he introduced the star who came out to cheering and thundering applause. With a group of dancers adding eye candy to her show, Becky played songs from throughout her career including "I Danced with My Ex." The singer, who is American, has parents that immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and she sings primarily in Spanish. But early in her show Becky told the crowd that there would be a lot of "Spanglish" in her song lyrics and stage patter, advising that there would be a "little Spanish here" and "a little English there." Since Becky G's music is dance music the crowd was moving en masse most of the time, and especially well-received were songs from her latest release Esquemas.
Fans should monitor the FEQ website for news of next year's festival. Find it here.