Mon Cheri
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Mon Cheri

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"Sunday's with Som: Mon Cheri Rocket Market Sunday, June 7th"

Mon Cheri

Sunday's with Som. It was a brisk summer Sunday night on the patio outside the Rocket Market on the South Hill. The very first Sunday's with Som at the Rocket Market on the South Hill featured the delightful Mon Cheri.

With smiles on their faces they filled our summer evening with twenty- two songs of harmonious sounds and smooth percussion. Once again Caroline and Patrick won our hearts over with their musical chemistry. It’s hard not to leave their show without a warm fuzzy feeling and a smile on our faces. I feel like I melt in their music and just get wrapped up in their love for it.

We have seen Mon Cheri a few times and I will say tonight it was a new experience because they played new songs (that aren't even out on their new CD-they are fresh), current songs, and songs going back... circa 2005. It was a new side of Mon Cheri we haven't heard. I like this whole two-three hour set business, you really get to see the band in a new light. They had a great time on stage, laughing, drinking/spilling beers, making jokes, and dancing. Their attitude is quickly passed on to the audience.

Among new, current, and old songs they did phenomenal covers by the Everly Brothers, the Beatles, New Order, and Death Cab for a Cutie. We even got to hear a song that has never been played to an audience before called "Kathy's Clown" - (hope I spelled Kathy right.) They played Som's favorite song, a song written by Patrick, a song written by Caroline, a song with a harmonica, and so much more! If you haven't seen Mon Cheri I recommend you make a point to do so. Their music is perfect for all ages and types. I will always say this; it is classy, romantic, and charming. They sound perfect in any venue on any day. The Rocket Market was a fantastic place to see them, outside in the fresh air.

Matt and I dipped into the plethora of beer/cider at the Rocket Market. We enjoyed Black Dog's Honey Raspberry Ale, Full Sail Keelhaule, Washington Spice Mountain Draft Pear Cider, and Scuttlebutt Amber Ale... their food and beer there is worth a trip up the hill any day. It is so great that Som is involved with the Rocket Market now, it is such a cute place for a show and the prices are more then reasonable. Not only that but the artists play for free, or for tips I shall say. On that note thank you Mon Cheri for donating a few hours of your Sunday night to put on a fabulous show. Som and P.K. at Platform Booking same to you, it was a relaxing fun night of music. We are excited to come back again. In case you didn't know Sunday's with Som will be going on all summer. You can check out all of the shows here and look for video from the show on The Som Show here. Thank you all again, it was the perfect way to close out the end of our week! - checkitoutmusic


""Colors of Love," Mon Cheri"

Wayne Patrick has finally found his perfect foil in Caroline Francis. His love affair with pseudo-lounge and her notable pipes bear phenomenal fruit in their collaboration, Mon Chéri, and album, Colors of Love. Patrick’s shtick has always been unabashed romanticism — occasionally to saccharine overindulgence — and Francis’ gorgeous voice adds character to Patrick’s musings, a female figure for him to declare his love to (in song). It doesn’t hurt that she’s no slouch in the vocal department, either. Mon Chéri makes a beautiful debut, an album full of shameless pop and the atmosphere of a smoke-filled cabaret, unapologetically quixotic and utterly listenable.

The most prominent influences on the record are staples in Patrick’s repertoire — Rufus Wainwright and Sondre Lerche immediately come to mind. But it’s not all glitz and show biz sensibilities — the pure popism here in unparalleled. Patrick’s voice is smooth and expressive, purring and cooing missives of love to myriad paramours. Tracks like “Precious Thing” indulge Patrick’s fascination with juxtaposing childlike tenderness and blatant sexual longing, while the backing band motors along in a Latin-influenced groove. Francis’ luscious harmonies bring the offerings to a new level, a complicated back-and-forth in both melodic and narrative senses.

There are missteps — the simply titled “Patrick’s Song” breaks the immersion with synthetic beats and a reliance on vocal manipulation (smacks of Kanye). Though it’s not a bad track per se, t simply doesn’t fit. Mostly, though, Mon Chéri’s debut is an impressive showcase of the talents of all the members of the band — and a hell of an accomplishment to live up to next time around. - The Inlander


"Buzzworthy 2009"

Even when Mon Cheri was just Patrick McHenry and Caroline Francis singing a cappella duets, it was obvious they were on to something good. It was also clear something was missing.

Their melting vocal harmonies, Beatles-esque candied pop and undeniable undercurrents of sexual tension have made them local favorites as a duo. It wasn’t until this winter, when they added upright bassist Kurt Olson and ultimately the nuanced one-two rhythm jabs of drummer Brandon Vasquez, that the cipher was complete.

It’s the personalities that make it work. In McHenry’s words: “Caroline is the beautiful one, I’m the guitar-player-hopeless-romantic guy, Kurt is the loud outgoing, sometimes moody thoughtful poet, Brandon is the waiting-watching-ready-to-pounce-quiet type.”

Those personalities manifest the same way in the music.

When coupled with Vasquez’s minimalistic drumming technique, Kurt Olson’s slap-and-pop bass style is the essential counterpart to Wayne and Caroline’s swaying melodies.

Perhaps the most telling evidence of the band’s chemistry: They don’t practice as a full band.

Since Vasquez lives in Medical Lake and has the most gear to haul, they meet in teams of twos, and sometimes the instrumental three. McHenry and Francis pin down the vocals. McHenry shows the music to Vasquez, the rare drummer who’s more wrists than elbows and picks spots for accents rather than playing steady beats.

Olson bats cleanup and comes in at the end to make a song stage ready.

When you have someone who plays with as much restraint as Vasquez on an instrument that controls the band’s overall volume, it’s hard for the bass not to shine, especially when it’s being played by someone as animated as Olson.

You can tell he’s been on stage for a while by the way his body moves to the tempo of the music. When it’s a quiet song, he almost hugs his bass with each bow stroke, and when they’re really rocking he spanks and spins and stands up on his bass, never missing the beat. - The Inlander


Discography

Colors of Love , April 2009

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Bio

Mon Chéri is a delightful group that sings charming and sweet harmonies, plays simple yet brilliant instrumentation, and has an exceptionally engaging stage presence.

Drawing influences from the Beatles, Rufus Wainwright, Ryan Adams, Simon and Garfunkel, Sondre Lerche, Jeff Buckley, and the Everly Brothers, Mon Chéri has been able to create, in their own words, "A latin love child of Simon and Garfunkel that spent too much time in an Austin bar."

Harmonies sung by charismatic Patrick McHenry (guitar, vocals) and Caroline Francis (vocals) are complex and entrancing. The skilled bassist's (Kurt Olson) playing is equally as charming and intricate, and along with the effortless percussion sets (by Brandon Vasquez), this four-some draws you in by making you pay attention to details - rather than being overbearing, loud and obnoxious.

The players' interpersonal relating onstage creates a chemistry that is scintillating, and they love to share their passion with the audience. Mon Chéri wants people to feel what they feel when they're performing… and it works. Mon Cheri has been a band since January 09, but Patrick and Caroline have been performing since mid '08 as a duet.