Music Madness

This weekend provided an eye-opening insight into the world of live music for myself, Tom, and our friends Rom and Coup. Friday night we met up for dinner at an indian restaurant (hooray for flavoursome food!) and then we headed to Le Cafe de la Danse to see a band called The Woods, recommended by Coup. The doors were supposed to open at 7pm, which even by Perth standards is very early for a Friday night. Plus, having never heard of the other band, we assumed The Woods wouldn’t be playing until later in the night anyway. So we took our time and arrived at the club at 8.45pm.

The place was tiny and had the usual group of smokers standing outside puffing away. There was no one performing and the place was eerily quiet with no background music being blasted through the speakers. We bought some very average beer (1664) and sat down on the tiered seating. No dance floor in this Cafe of Dance. As we sat, the lights went dim and the band we had never heard of (The Low Anthem) started harmonising into a microphone. It was at the end of the first song when the lead singer thanked The Woods for starting the show that we realised we had made a mistake. It really had started at 7pm and The Woods were the support act. We had missed them and were stuck listening to a group who sang about going to Ohio and women wearing too much deodourant. Honestly, they weren’t THAT bad and they worked well together on stage despite a few technical hiccups. They were all very talented and played multiple instruments, swapping between songs. Quite impressive. But not what we’d paid our entrance fee for. We learnt our lesson – be on time.

Saturday night was my turn to organise the musical expedition – I had spotted a brochure for a show featuring a French group that I like – Poni Hoax. After dinner at our place (stuffed eggplants cooked by Chef Thomas) we caught the metro out to the edge of Paris near where we had been to the flea markets a few weekends before. We wandered through dark, empty streets towards what appeared (from the outside) to be a night club in the middle of a residential street. From the inside, the place looked like a community hall where little kids go to perform annual ballet shows to prove to their parents that spending that money on classes wasn’t a waste. We all stood and looked at each other for a few minutes as we tried to grasp the situation. Lots of coloured walls, tables set up with people drinking cups of tea that they had bought through a hall in a wall that lead to the community centre’s kitchen.

The music was set up in the next room, however, and it was atleast dark. There was a stage AND a dance floor and if you forgot about the community centre foyer you could have thought you were in a very small nightclub. The crowd wasn’t huge (thankfully) but did grow as the night progressed. I had checked to see when Poni Hoax would be on as doors for this event also opened at 7 and, once again, I figured that was a bit early. The email response said they wouldn’t be on until atleast 11pm so our arrival at 10.15pm worked well. Once we got there we saw they weren’t due to start until half past midnight which meant we’d only be able to watch them for about half an hour before going to catch the metro back to Paris. See? Perth isn’t so old fashioned after all! Paris is just as weird with its public transport.

Anyhoo, this show was just as odd as the previous evening, if not more. We watched the end of an electronic-The-Knife-esque band who were quite good but the lead singer needs to work on her singing abilities. The next band was Belgian and had the strangest mix of band members I have ever seen. It was like it was made up of members from various different Eurovision song contest bands. The lighting on the stage made it impossible to see the drummer so who knows what he looked like. The bass player had dreadlocks and stood at the back being quiet. Then there were two keyboard/cow bell players – one had wild, curly hair and a scruffy beard and was heavily involved in his music. Every time he would go to do back up vocals, he would screw up his eyes and lean forward over his keyboard as if in pain. The other guy looked Swedish but had a hairstyle that reminded me of the old fashioned photos in my year 8 German book where everyone wore limewash jeans and fluro bomber jackets. But that’s not all – this guy was wearing a long white jacket with blue trim and an upturned collar that he clearly thought made him look either like a space man or a heart surgeon. Really, it just made me laugh. He was deadly serious for the entire show and kept making gestures with his hands to demonstrate the power and intensity of their songs. Impressive.

The lead singer appeared to be from Spain (despite his insistence that they were from Belgium) and clearly thought he was hot stuff. A v-neck tshirt and tight pants – stylish. As a band they weren’t bad – I have heard worse. Their lyrics were SHOCKING, however. It is quite amusing listening to bands sing songs in English when it isn’t their first language. The lead singer had a thick Spanish/Belgian accent and for most of the songs, we had no clue what he was saying. Every now and then we’d pick up lines and they were generally very weird. I was quite glad when they made their grande finale and got off the stage. One step closer to Poni Hoax.

And then came the disappointment. I was expecting, and hoping for, the entire Poni Hoax band and for them to perform the songs that their fans know and love. Instead, it was two of the Poni Hoax members performing their dj set which consisted of them standing behind computers and mixing desks, heads down, not looking at the crowd and making a lot of duf-duf-duf sounds. I don’t mind electronic music but it wasn’t what I expected and I had dragged three other people with me telling them how GREAT Poni Hoax is and that they’ll LOVE the music. The djs managed to mix tiny elements of their songs into the music but I could have just stayed at home and listened to their CD. Still, it was an interesting night out and it isn’t every day that you go to a community night club in a residential street to listen to music performed by Eurovision contestants and members of a band you like. Certainly entertaining.

 

Poni Hoax

Poni Hoax sets up their desk-of-tunes

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