Review: Ryan Montbleau at The Back Room at Colectivo

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Ryan Montbleau took to the stage at The Back Room at the Colectivo to a very laid back sitting cabaret crowd. At first, it seemed a little odd the entire audience was sitting down at a show, but after about 5 songs it was clear it shouldn’t be any other way. Ryan Montbleau has the type of music that fits perfectly for an intimate setting. Not to say that he wouldn’t be at home at a music festival but he seems to thrive strongest in a close setting. Completely filling up the Backroom at Colectivo it was clear that those who attended were long time fans. 

The Band  

Massachusetts born singer-songwriter Ryan Montebleau has been playing guitar since he was a child and professionally playing since 2003. Having played with his own band, Yes Darling, and on his own, he has crafted his sound that won him the best male vocals at the Boston Music Awards in 2007. 

He and his band travel the nation playing over 200 shows a year and tend to draw a strong crowd of followers that attend his shows every time they come to town. Sticking to acoustic roots, Ryan goes about telling stories with his guitar and sometimes spoken word that is honest and unbending in his experiences

The Experience

As previously mentioned, Ryan Montbleau came out to a fully packed Back Room which was a welcome surprise. Although people sat down at tables that didn’t deter from the show’s energy. People hooted and hollered and cheered in excitement to see Ryan Montbleau take to the stage. Ryan’s on-stage presence was one that showed his comfortability with the stage and his familiarity with Milwaukee drawing back to the times he played around town. 

It was refreshing to see what I would consider such an honest show. His on-stage banter made him seem like we all knew him from high school and were coming together to see our friend play. That’s actually the best way to describe it, seeing your talented buddy play their heart out on stage. It was refreshing to see an artist who was so down to Earth and told stories of his life, former loves and touring with his band as a struggling artist. So many times, we see artists who have already claimed their fame and no longer talk about the reality of the biz, all while doing it with such humor the audience couldn’t contain their laughter.

As the show went on Ryan took a little break to do some spoken word about his life called “Keep Trying” in which he discussed all the trials and tribulations throughout his musical journey and all the artists he’s met along the way. This welcome break to the show was not like anything I’ve ever seen. It was funny, heartwarming and never missed the opportunity for Ryan to show us how grateful he was to everyone who supported him throughout the years.

The Verdict

As many songwriters come throughout the town, they can tend to be stale after a while, Ryan Montbleau was not that case. He brought brevity, soulfulness, amazing storytelling, and even put up with some pushy fans who wanted to hear their favorite songs get played. Throughout the almost 2 hour show, Montbleau gave an emotional rollercoaster that made the audience stand up and give him an ovation. It was a fun show that even if you aren’t familiar with the music should go out of your way to see. Ryan Montbleau is not to be missed, especially if you are dealing with those wintertime blues. 

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