posted on September 26, 2009 19:00
Even if you don't read La Blogothèque you may be familiar with their series of Takeaway Shows - Vincent Moon's films of hip indie acts busking or playing impromptu concerts around Paris. The series has inspired variants around the world.
Lately, though, the Takeaway Shows have lost their central concept of spontaneous public performance. This summer there have been sessions recorded backstage at festivals, an altogether more exclusive and controllable environment. And Moon seems to have jumped the shark by featuring Tom Jones in the latter's New York hotel room - the whole thing feels contrived and cynical.
Now La Blogothèque has come up with a new video series, Les Soirées de Poche (loosely translated as 'intimate/pocket-sized evenings'). Quite simply, the idea is to film indie artists playing for a few people in the home of an ordinary Paris person. (We're not sure how this person is chosen and we're a little cynical about how 'ordinary' he/she may be, but we'll let that pass for the moment.)
Where the Takeaway Shows have a hand-held DIY feel, Les Soirées de Poche have more serious production values. The concerts are carefully staged - the films have soft lighting, multiple cameras, perfect sound and lingering close-ups. Franco-German cultural channel Arte are involved, hence their logo in the top left corner of the videos.
So far the series has featured Bon Iver (right), Patrick Watson, Ron Sexsmith, Beirut and Herman Dune.
But here's our favourite to date: Andrew Bird and St Vincent together in the same punter's apartment. (The film is 30 minutes long and every second of that is enthralling.) Thanks to Lihan for telling us about it - Château French Letter is available for any future shows: