Opposite Sex

We usually keep it plushy, soft-focussed and hoarse on this blog. But every now and then, we take a walk down the stairs, to the humid cellar, where things happen outside of the sun. Where bands like Liminanas play, Melody’s Echo Chamber and Granville. And New Zealand trio Opposite Sex. Alas, singer Lucy Hunter doesn’t sing in French, unless you count “au revoir, la rat…” as French (that should either be ‘La Rate’ or ‘Le Rat’). But hey, her voice is deliciously breathy, the music’s banging and clunking like a garbage truck (I mean that as a compliment) and when you call a track Mary Lu, you sure know your Gainsbourgian speak. Lucy also played the trumpet solo at the end of Connan Mockasin’s Serge-ish ‘It’s Choade my Dear’ as well as keyboards on other tracks on Connan’s album ‘Forever Dolphin Love’.
This is music that hides from the light, that breeds in the dark. Opposite sex, indeed.

Charlotte Gainsbourg @ Paradiso

Charlotte wasn’t to blame, I think. That’s if you want to blame anyone for the show yesterday in Paradiso. The sound engineer is a perfect scapegoat, but getting the sound right in the Amsterdam venue is a challenge, I know. Yesterday, the first half of the concert had waaaaay too much bass. After about four of five songs, it got better. But it didn’t save the show.
It’s not easy to put the finger on the reasons why it didn’t appeal to me. Heck, I wanted it to be great. The Bruxelles show was excellent. Fierce. Yesterday, it was plushy. Lovey-dovey. Someone on twitter said it was like a pajama-party, due to the white clothes every one wore on stage. Connan Mockasin, dressed like a cult leader on stage, should’ve been the perfect musical companion – see this video. But yesterday, the music was too timid, too tame. To me, it sounded and looked like the band and Charlotte were uneasy with each other. Like they weren’t familiair enough with the material, with the new arrangements. Reviewer Peter Bruyn said to me: Connan’s no Beck, no Jarvis, no Conor J. O’Brien from Villagers, or one of the other men that helped push Charlotte to great heights. He’s sub-top at best. Charlotte needs top guys.

At times, it fared pretty well. The glam-funkin’ way Connan re-arranged songs from Charlotte For Ever, her first album from the 80s that Serge penned, did work. But songs like Heaven Can Wait or The Songs That We Sing, needed more oomph, chutpaz, drive, body – something like that. And that note-perfect cover of Ashes to Ashes…nice. For once.
Were my expectations too high? Charlotte wasn’t to blame. Yesterday, she looked stunning, sang charmingly, smiled a lot, it seemed like she had a great time. Part of the audience did so too (I guess about 400 people showed up, in a room that holds about 1500). But to me, to mrs Guuzbourg, to several people I spoke afterwards like FS-collaborators Maks and FransS, it didn’t even touch the standard we raised for Charlotte.

See an impression on Youtube.
More pictures HERE

Charlotte & Connan

Charlotte Gainsbourg is touring with flamboyant Kiwi (meaning: from New Zealand) artist Connan Mockasin. This weekend, they’re playing Brussels and (hooray!) Amsterdam. They redid Got to Let Go, the track Charlotte sang with Charlie from Noah & the Whale on her Stage Whisper album. A better version, I’d say. I’m not that familiar with Mockasin’s music, but according to It’s Choade, My Dear, he must’ve heard Serge’s masterpiece Melody Nelson.
Watch Charlotte and Connan together here.

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Connan Mockasin – Got to let Go
Connan Mockasin – It’s Choade, My Dear