Saturday 10 November 2012

La Femme at Barfly - 8 November 2012

La Femme by Hugo Guyader

We’re told that it’s only their second gig. It doesn’t feel like it.

Qtier are minimalist, but tuneful in the same way that the XX or Radiohead are. They pulse, they tick. There’s a thin falsetto vocal. This band exists in the spaces between the notes.

And they are very brief. They do three songs and they’re gone. It’s a pleasant little cameo. I’ll keep an eye on them.

Fantasy Rainbow are deliberately misleading.

Centre stage the handsome guitarist, his quiff tall and proud, stands up to the microphone. He turns out to be a Maguffin. In truth, he barely sings at all.

The main singer and progenitor of the band is Oliver Catt, here acting as second guitarist lurking stage right in tracksuit bottoms and an enveloping black jumper.  He has a drawling delivery that works very well in the context of this music which marries fuzzy thrash with heartfelt angst.

They are a very interesting outfit – the songs are complex and varied, yet form a coherent and dynamic set. There’s some real bite here.  It’s a measure of how much I like them that I am disappointed not to be able to find them afterwards to buy their album.

I last saw La Femme at this year’s 1234 Shoreditch and liked them enough to come back for a second helping here tonight.

And from the moment they start until the end of their set they do not put a foot wrong. They are absolutely terrific.

There are five keyboards strung across the stage, although in practice there are rarely more than three employed at a time. From behind this wall there’s a chic riot going on.

It’s just so JOYOUS. Every song is a surf pop delight, and if you can’t dance to this you are probably dead.

Vocals are traded between Marlon Magnee, nattily attired, his hair sticking out at right angles, and the lovely Clemence, grooving furiously and also dressed to kill. Each song is propulsive, a breakneck helter skelter ride of beats.

Although there is a definite surf rock, Sixties feel, this is also allied to a real modern dance sensibility. Tunes build and build before the inevitable break down that sends everyone into paroxysms.

I’m smiling so much that my face hurts.

I could watch this band all night and when they finish, the venue is just packed with happy, dazed looking people.

A really good night out. La Femme have now become one of my current darlings. Magnifique!

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