First up are No Tears, a band I’ve wanted to see for some time. I’d bought their 2008 album, Obsessions based on what I’d heard on Myspace, and it’s proved to be something I come back to on a regular basis. It’s very Cure like – excellent catchy pop with quite a dark mood to it, sung in both French and English, and pleasantly heavy on the synthesizers.
The 5 of them are pretty tight and churn out a very respectable set that’s remarkably close to what’s been recorded. Kristian’s voice is not something you hear every day – it’s really very harsh and bitter, and is made more angular by his distinctive French accent when he’s singing in English. It really works marvellously with the music and the mood they’re wanting to create. And it’s helped by an immaculate vocal technique that’s both precise and powerful.
The slide show in the background changes with the context of the song. They’ve put some excellent videos together for some of their tracks, and are clearly a band that likes to put a great deal of attention into detail.
Unfortunately, as far as the gig went, there was something that wasn’t quite there. Whether it was too clinical and concerned with detail, not loud enough (it wasn’t very loud...), or they just weren’t quite in the right form, I don’t know. Not bad by any means, but not quite the magic I was expecting from the album.
Sorry – No live footage – you’ll have to make do with a video.
Next up are local heroes De Volanges. Or survivors, depending on how you look at it – these guys have been playing on & off for almost 20 years now. And they’re here to launch their new album, Caryatids, on their home turf.
To my great surprise, they open with a track that could have almost been lifted straight off a late 70’s Simple Minds album. Yvan’s bass is really distilled down to what a bass should be – quite repetitive, very aggressive, and really driving the set along. There’s real angst and fury in Renaud’s voice, and that’s matched by his really quite varied guitar playing. It ranges from Killing Joke aggressiveness to brilliant near Chameleon-esque shimmers.
Despite being a trio, I was so captivated by the front 2 that I realised I’d not noticed what the drummer was doing. He’s the new kid, having joined the band just before they started work on the album. It must say a lot about him that he didn’t distract from the front. Though someone did complain afterwards – new drummer doesn’t know the ol stuff yet, so they missed out a lot of their best material.
This is good, old fashioned post-punk cold-wave. All wrapped up into a minimalist package, with a few surprise touches, and executed as well as I’ve ever seen done. Let’s hope the drummer can pick up some of the old favourites over summer – they have 2 dates coming up – 8th of September at Soirées Cerises (with the Parallax View – another great bill that Cherry Fred has put together), and the event of the year in the Franco-Belgian underground-cold-wave scene in Templeneuve on 10th of October – more on that later.
A previous date:
Neon – Headliners from Italy. Did absolutely nothing for me. They were correct, good musicians, great singer, but I found the drummer playing double-time to the drum machine irritating, and too much sequenced stuff dominating the live instruments. Nah – not for me. Fell asleep. And was woken up to No Tears’ Paul Fiction’s excellent DJ set.