Have you heard Michael Bernard Fitzgerald yet? His fans affectionately call him MBF. It’s adorable, even his website is www.ilovembf.com. Seriously though people, have a listen to this guy. Radio broadcasters? Hello? CanCon? Get on it. This singer/songwriter/musician from Calgary has got some serious chops.
After seeing him live at Quai des Brumes, I too have fallen.
The unassuming, soft-spoken young man sipping tea at the bar earlier in the evening transformed into a very charming, soulful and a highly watchable singer and guitarist on stage. Cracking jokes and interacting with the audience, we were treated to love songs, some new material and a few very rockin’ covers.
You can find official and unofficial videos of his music on YouTube. Having watched early videos of him performing, you can hear the growth and maturity both in the depth of the music and in his soulful singing that seems to rise up from a pit somewhere deep in his gut. He’s got one of those unique voices and styles of singing, it can be plaintive, mellow, rich, sweet, and just so, so good. It reaches out and grabs you and absolutely made me want to hear more.
I can describe the progression of his performance as starting quietly and working its way up into a frenzy, starting with the melodious romantic tracks he’s known for. There’s something so sweet about his love songs, regardless of the stage of a relationship he’s singing about, they manage to convey the warmth, the butterflies, the longing and the bone deep hurt in both lyrics and tune. Performed live, I felt a compulsion to sing along and wave a lighter, in a very sincere, non-ironic kind of way. Many in the packed house joined in on Care for You. I very nearly misted up with the sorrowful In Your Room Tonight (off of his recent album YES).
Then there was the more up-tempo pop/rock, the sway in your seat, stand up and clap to the beat kind. Firecracker, also off of YES, makes me wanna dance and is guaranteed to be in your head all day, in the best way possible. Last Train to Georgia is a lovely melody, and is one of those songs that I felt I could sit back with my cider and listen to it go on and on. He also did an unexpected Beastie Boys cover of Fight for your Right. He got everyone out of their seats to stomp, stomp, stomp, clap and set a beat then took it away. The musicians accompanying his guitar on base, drums, percussion made such a huge, tight sound and sang some sweet harmonies throughout. The small venue was filled with gorgeous sound. His percussionist Andrew Ball, who goes by Alec onstage in his slick leather vest, was himself a very entertaining firecracker to watch and hear.
I left highly entertained and have been listening to his tracks all week. Have a listen, have a watch. You’ll like it.
Here’s some video. Pardon the movement, I tried not to dance along but this proved very difficult.