As originally published by Mathias Pageau on Exclaim!
An unseasonably humid heat wave had crushed Montreal’s spirit for the better part of the week when the sold-out crowd walked into Parc Jean-Drapeau last night. All were there to see their hometown hero Kaytranada present KAYTRAMINÉ, his collaborative passion project with Portland’s Aminé, both legends of the by-gone golden era of SoundCloud mixtapes.
As a cool breeze was forming over the Saint-Laurent river, flashes of lights and “Who He Iz” hard bass stabs hit the crowd like a much-needed breath of fresh air. Aminé’s contagious energy was backed by Kaytra’s enthusiasm — as the rapper took to the front of the stage to rile up the crowd, the producer stood behind the decks, mic in hand, gleefully playing the role of old-school hype man.
The pair cycled swiftly from one track to the next, burning through album favourites like “UGH UGH,” “STFU3” and “Westside,” all sounding much harder in their live iteration. Compared to the relatively chill aura of this year’s KAYTRAMINÉ, a lot of the duo’s beats sounded like trap remixes as the omnipresent low frequencies made the island shake.
Less than 20 minutes into the show, the duo was already playing their seventh track of the night as they began to delve into Aminé’s solo catalogue, hitting beloved songs like “Shimmy” and “Mad Funny Freestyle.”
The show’s pace was reminiscent of a TikTok feed, an impression that was reinforced by the quirky, frenetic projections surrounding the stage. Often performing little more than a verse and a hook before moving on to the next track, the duo left the audience little time to get bored, though that approach also meant stellar moments that deserved to be milked were sometimes cut short. Such was the case for one of the night’s highlights, Aminé’s “Spice Girl,” which the crowd sang along to with joyful fervour.
The evening’s real stroke of genius came shortly thereafter. As Aminé finished “REEL IT IN,” he left the stage and the lights turned off abruptly. After a moment of silence that left everyone guessing, Kaytranada emerged from the darkness and DJ-ed some hits of his own, keeping the audience on their toes. As a welcomed interlude, they danced to beats like “You’re the One” and his remix of “Assumptions.”
Aminé eventually rejoined the fray and performed some of KAYTRAMINÉ‘s more laid-back songs, as well as past collaborations “La Danse” and “Not at All.” No one could disagree that the pair proved to be greater than the sum of their parts last night, and when you consider those parts include Aminé’s unstoppable charisma and Kaytranada’s always-inspiring beats, that’s really saying something.