Thursday, 19 September 2013

La Femme at Sebright Arms - 18 September 2013

La Femme

The first unwelcome surprise of the evening comes with the revelation that the headliners are not due onstage until nine thirty and that there are no support acts other than a DJ.

We troop off to a nearby hotel to watch the football and my second and final unwelcome surprise comes with the extremely disgruntling result of the Chelsea v Basel match.

After this discouraging start however, it's sheer delight all the way.

On returning to the tiny confines of the Sebright basement the atmosphere is one of expectant excitement. It's hot down here and the air hangs heavy with theatrical mist.

La Femme burst on stage looking like 1940's resistance fighters. They are clad in leather jackets, scarves and berets. Such is the energy that the band generate that most of this clobber is discarded by the end of the first song.

There's a wonderful cinematic quality to La Femme. Their songs inhabit a 60's noir alternate world where spies meet in darkened rooms, mysterious beauties hold cigarettes holders and trench coats are de rigour. The band take this as a starting point to produce a set of giddy high tempo electro pop that is as exciting and harem scarem as a James Bond car chase.

Singer Clemence is a delightful, elegant chanteuse who dances non-stop behind a small keyboard. To her left, band leader Marlon is down to his vest, his torso and neck writhing with tattoos. The rest of the band are slightly lost in the heat and the haze, but can be seen pummelling keyboards in frenzy.

There is a huge mosh pit in front of the stage, with everyone dancing wildly to tracks lack 'Anti Taxi' and 'Sur La Plage'. Arms are held aloft, heads bop furiously. When they are in full flow you could imagine that La Femme are the kind of band that Quentin Tarantino would have play at his wedding - even with their hair plastered across their faces and sweat pouring from every pore this band are COOL.

I have a big stupid grin on my face throughout and I'm not the only one. The whirling synths and pounding rhythms are irresistible.

The band slightly muff their encore by confusing the exhausted crowd into thinking that they are not coming back onstage. But when they re-emerge, the stragglers that remain in the room throw ourselves around like dervishes for one last time.

At the end of the evening, when I emerge into the night outside the pub I find that the band have beaten me outside and are hanging limp and steaming in the doorway.

La Femme really are the most fun that you can have with your clothes on - even when it’s so hot that you have to rip them off.

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