Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nouvelle Vague Played Webster Hall: Pictures, Review

On Saturday night, we had the pleasure of stopping in at Webster Hall and catching up with those masters of the modern cover song, Nouvelle Vague. Given the expert realization of the band's three records, we were certainly expecting a good show. We certainly got that. However, even more so, it was a show that transcended the records and instead infused the recorded material with a new sense of stage presence, musical precision, and unrepentant showmanship.

The first component in that renewed vigor was unquestionably instrumental section of the band: the four members were impeccably tight, and played with an expertise normally reserved for placid studio takes. Amazingly, in addition to their technical wizardry, they also managed to create an instrumental performance that was dynamic, compelling, and ultimately the foundation of the show.

If that was the foundation, than the building itself was unquestionably built by the vocals. Alternating turns, the two vocalists waltzed through the band's catalog with ease and aplomb. Never mind that the original vocalists for many of the tracks weren't present - it posed little challenge for the two, who alternated stage personas and vocal styles, dancing all the while.

The result was a show that unquestionably could be called a crowd pleaser: they were unrelenting in their enthusiasm, and the band rewarded them in turn with multiple encores, and trips to walk amongst the throngs. As the show came to a close, its most vivid moment took shape, with a writhing, crawling version of "Bela Lugosi's Dead", closing with both singers lying on the floor.

We went to Saturday's show with a fair bit of admiration for Nouvelle Vague, but it has to be said that we left with a good bit more. The combination of an incredible stage presence, bulletproof musicality, and ridiculous charisma served to create an experience was one of pure, epic theatricality. The band is on tour in the US - we implore you not to miss it.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive