Thursday, September 23, 2010

Indietracks: Start Together

The first actual band I saw was Veronica Falls. I liked them from the get-go. Their music seemed a lot more based on fuzz guitar, reverb, distortion and all that, meaning that this felt like proper old school indie music like mama used to make, not that apologetic crap the bedwetters like. The shambolic nature of their set was endearing – they kept starting and stopping playing instruments semi-randomly, with their songs being a ramshackle combination of elements rather than anything polished to perfection. They were also battling some hopeless sound engineering, with the various instruments having their volumes raised and lowered continuously for no obvious reason. And in true Jesus & Mary Chain style, they only played two chaotic tunes before stomping off the stage.

It was only when they came back on and resumed playing that I realised that I had been won over by their sound check. The actual set was also pretty good, pretty much as described above except without the elements that make them or the sound engineers sound like loveable incompetents. That said, one of their songs did have a lurching chord change as atonal as the one in 'My Lovely Horse'. Veronica Falls had a somewhat doomy overall air to their sound, with the wonderful track 'Found Love In A Graveyard' sounding almost Goth. So yeah, a great start to the festival.

The last band on Friday had the wonderfully snappy name Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now!. They were one of the big draws for me, as their lead vocalist is Eddie Argos of Art Brut, one of the bands who served up a set of total win last year. EWITFR…N proved to be a rather different band, eschewing Art Brut's art rock attack. Instead, they came on to the stirring tones of La Marseillaise, arguably the world's greatest national anthem. There were three of them on stage – Eddie Argos on vocals, some geezer on guitar, and the lovely Dyan Valdés of The Blood Arm* on keyboards and backing vocals, with Ms Valdés fetchingly attired in a short tricolour skirt and a rather racy top.

EWITFR…N began with an eponymous tune giving us a surprisingly accurate account of the French Resistance's development in the Second World War. Then they launched into a series of songs that were all answers to other songs. So, they had a tune called 'Billie's Genes', sung as though from Michael Jackson's lovechild, or 'GIRLFREN (You Know I've Got A)', replying to some song in which Avril Lavigne is trying to steal some other bird's bloke. I also liked their rejoinder to 'Jimmy Mack', which Eddie Argos introduced by suggesting that poor Jimmy Mack might well have been drafted off to serve in Vietnam – the poor guy is sweating it in the jungle and now his bird is telling him that she is going off looking for action elsewhere unless he somehow manages to get home sharpish. Several of the others were ripostes to tunes with which I am unfamiliar (notably the one that had a great line about how no one loves you when you smell of chip fat).

But what did it all sound like? Well, many readers will be familiar with Art Brut. Musically, they are all rock all the time, with Eddie Argos basically speaking his vocals. EWITFR…N are not so rock – for all they have the geezer on guitars, it is more about the keyboards. But Argos' vocal delivery is pretty much the same. In overall execution, my beloved reckoned they were like a reverse engineered Black Box Recorder – arty, conceptual, with an attractive woman playing a key role (here as a musician rather than as lead vocalist).

Before leaving EWITFR…N, let me mention one odd incident. In one of their later songs, possibly a reply to 'My Way' or 'You'll Never Walk Alone', Argos suddenly switched into a Bongo style caterwaul and, yes, launched into the chorus of 'With Or Without You'. And then he started walking through the crowd. What was odd about this was that he was rapidly surrounded by people taking pictures of him. I wish I had had the presence of mind to whip out the camera and take a picture of them photographing him, as it looked really bizarre and illustrated well the over-mediated nature of society today.

Do not worry, EWITFR…N do not normally sound like U2. And they finished with a song specially composed for Indietracks – the wonderful 'Look At Us, We've Got A Side Project'. These were more or less the entire lyrics, so they sang them several times.

It all proved to be rather appealing package. Small wonder that I picked up a copy of their album – of which more anon.

More Indietracks fun coming soon!!!

image source

An inuit panda production

*a band with whom I had not hitherto been acquainted.


CarsmileSteve said...

FACT ahoy:

Dyan is Eddie's current girlfriend

Guitarist at indietracks was Ian out of Art Brut, although he doesn't play on the album

Formed a Side Project was an HILARIOUS version of Art Brut's Formed a Band

ian said...

I was assuming that Dyan is Eddie's girlfriend - it makes 'GIRLFREN' work a lot better. I am also hoping that Art Brut's 'Brand New Girlfriend' is about her.