Caroline Rose Quai des Brumes, Montreal QC, October 2

Caroline Rose Quai des Brumes, Montreal QC, October 2
Photo: Nadia Davoli
Walk into a Caroline Rose show and see nothing but red. Fans in loud shoes, a cherry shirt or three. But the real red was the stage, the whopping gooey heart of this narrow-vein venue. It dripped crimson pennants, plastic peppers, roses and some pom-poms. Fuzzy letters labeled a Keybored. Up hopped Caroline Rose into that ooze, in her characteristic all-red — then the final red touch: her wide-open mouth.
Rose and her band were supposed to open for a cancelled show at Corona Theatre, so they quickly assembled their own. To any unsuspecting Quai des Brumes patrons who "thought this was gonna be like a quiet Tuesday" she apologized, then chirped, "You can figure out your [alternative] plans right after we play this song, okay, boom!" and okay-boom they did.
Even as her voice echoed like a memory, haunting us to dance at misogyny, loneliness and "being incredibly anxious," Caroline's hips gyrated widely, making fun of themselves. She played a red kazoo interlude; she accidentally kicked over shots someone bought. Guitarist and keyboardist Abbie  flailed, hair fanning gold fireworks. So easy in their lanky frenzy, they fell perfectly apart.
It didn't have to turn out that way. When they sprang into their first song, "More of the Same," Caroline's vacant gaze looked prepared for just that, a strange bar spotted with watery apathy. But by the time they got to the encore — a (red) rubber chicken, a Toxic cover and a chugged pitcher later — Caroline leapt into the audience, yelping her last line, "Now you're in real life," welcoming herself back to Earth and reminding us that she was here too. She was one jump above us, up on that stage. But there was still no denying she'd been a red world away.