It was the gig that Nouvelle Vague fans in the capital never thought would happen. Originally in the diary for October 2009, cancelled and put back for over a year to November 2010, only to subsequently be rescheduled yet again for tonight. It’s been a long time comin’. The brainchild of musicians Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux, Nouvelle Vague have been winning audiences over worldwide since 2004 with their original take of new wave and post-punk classics. In theory, yes – Nouvelle Vague are a covers band; but in reality, they are SO much more.
As the band take to the Tripod stage, immediate apprehension sets in upon the realisation that there is no sign of either Mélanie Pain or Nadeah Miranda, two of the most popular of Nouvelle Vague’s roster of female singers. Instead, tonight it’s the duo of Mareva Galanter and Liset Aléa who take centre stage, and instantly it becomes apparent that these two ladies mean serious business – it’s almost as if they sensed that there may be doubt on behalf of the audience, and so decided to put on the show of their careers to prove it to be unfounded. It’s a job very well done – both singers have the audience captivated after mere minutes. Mareva, the more reserved of the pair – elegant and demure, her limited English proving endearing; Liset, the opposite – extroverted and raucous, experiencing no such problem with the language barrier as she shouts whiskey orders at unsuspecting bar staff between songs!
The band are on top form, as they work their way through their back-catalogue of hits such as ‘Guns of Brixton’, ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Master & Servant’. ‘Blister in the Sun’ sends Tripod into sing-along mode, which visibly delights the leading ladies. Liset Aléa unexpectedly steals the show early on with her dramatic solo rendition of ‘Human Fly’ – complete with some incredibly impressive scatting. Liset is a revelation on stage tonight, displaying incredible vocal ability and seemingly endless energy – she is a hugely entertaining performer in her own right.
‘Too Drunk to Fuck’, ‘Friday Night Saturday Morning’ and main set closer ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ keep the momentum going – both the band and their audience having an absolute blast, and two encores serving as proof that neither party wants the show to end. A stripped back version of ‘Teenage Kicks’ threatens to bring the evening to a close, but Liset makes a return onstage with a lone acoustic guitar to treat the audience to a stripped-back version of the sublime ‘In a Manner of Speaking’ before home time. Nouvelle Vague’s appearance at Tripod may have been a long time coming – but it was most definitely worth the wait.
Photos: Alan Moore.
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