Au Revoir Simone
Au Revoir Simone live in Whelan's, Dublin (14 May 2007)
Considering the weather and the fact that it was a Monday night, a sizeable crowd assembled in Whelan's to worship at the Casio adorned alter of Au Revoir Simone. While sound problems hampered the early stages of the set, it was the uniformity of their live offering that resulted in a generally disappointing and frustrating show.
The CLUAS Verdict? 5 out of 10
Full review: As my fellow CLUAS reviewer Aidan Curran pointed out in his recent review ofNina Hynes in Paris, Monday nights are not ideal for drawing a crowd. However, despite the inclement weather, Au Revoir Simone attracted a decent crowd (includingThe Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon) for their second Irish show of 2007.
I was glad I had arrived at the venue early as the excellent Dark Room Notes not only opened the show but provided the high point of the evening's entertainment. The electro-rock four-piece played an explosive set, the highlights of which were Roses, Shake, Shake My Ceiling and current single Love Like Nicotine. The energy and enthusiasm of the band, coupled with their arsenal of catchy songs left many in the audience, including myself wanting more. However, if I thought Cap Pas Cap could provide it, I was soon to be disappointed.
While Cap Pas Cap were undoubtedly hindered by the nights first sound difficulties there is no escaping the fact that they are a band lacking in direction. At times they came across as anArcade Fire tribute band, all screaming vocals and multi-percussion, but with none of the ferocity of Win Butler and company. On other occasions they seem to be almost willing the audience to feel the joyful abandon they so desperately craft, and yet it never happens. As a band clearly willing to experiment Cap Pas Cap potentially have a lot to offer, once they realise that experimentation should have a purpose, rather than be the purpose.
Speaking of experiments, as Au Revoir Simone took the stage I remarked to my 'plus one' that Erika Forster and Annie Hart appeared to be genetically modified clones, so striking is their resemblance to one another. For those not familiar with the band, Au Revoir Simone consists of three girls (the other being Heather D'Angelo) three keyboards and a drum machine. Having had a passing interest in the bands debut Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation I expected an intriguing set, sadly it failed to materialise.
For every Sad Song, well performed and received in equal measure, there was a Hurricane, which required two intros after somebody (let's not name names) missed their cue, a mistake that less partisan audiences may well not have forgiven. This show of support, coupled with all those keyboards, only served to increase the feeling that I had suddenly been transported back to my secondary school talent show where the next Hendrix and the next O'Donnell received applause in equal measure.
In relation to the make up of the band, three members and three keyboards, there were a number of songs, notably material from the recently released The Bird of Music, where one could spot parts that were crying out for a guitar, or a bass, or anything other than another keyboard. But it never came and at the end of the night I was left with a strange desire to hug my guitar when I got home (I did too).
Overall, as disappointing as Au Revoir Simone (all Casio and competency but little else) and Cap Pas Cap (potentially great if they can figure out what kind of music they want to make) were, Dark Room Notes made a wet and windy Monday night worth while, and are responsible for four of the five points awarded above. Definitely a band I'll keep an ear on.