no future

Nouvelle Vague performing reinterpreted new wave and punk songs arranged by band members Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux and sung to a bossa nova, calypso or reggae beat was very very clever and a lot of fun. The uber feminine vocals, drums, keyboard and synthesiser, acoustic guitar, and the electric bass were skillfully played to create a great atmosphere for dancing and shock horror, even singing along.

‘Too Drunk to Fuck’ caused me to laugh out loud for two reasons. One, sung by two attractive French women with sensual feminine voices to a musical arrangement that was definitely not punk. Second, any reputation that Perth needs to establish because they are going to Sydney next can get fucked because any encouragement for louder crowd participation lubricated by alcohol at Beck’s Music Box is just not going to happen. Having decided that paying $7 for a beer (a Beck’s at that), $35 for a bottle of Watershed’s unwooded chardonnay was not going to do it either.

I agree with H, the vocals were ‘bright’ at the live performance. I had listened to Dance With Me prior to the performance, so was expecting softer vocals, but it was pretty cool and a huge contrast to the earlier Lords of the New Church version.

Nouvelle Vague’s web presence offers some video and audio and it was kinda fun to listen again to their rendition, and seeking out video/audio of the originals. The following list is not exclusive, but just some of the songs I remember from the night, probably because they were familiar from an earlier time 🙂

The pieces marked with an asterisk I have been able to find on Nouvelle Vague’s web site, MySpace, or

Nouvelle Vague are practised performers and thoroughly entertaining. However, I was bemused by some of the audience sitting near us that didn’t appear to understand the pun [1], recognise the contrast to the original work, or sometimes parody. To be quite honest, if you went along to listen to “the nice singing”, you could have stayed home and turned on your home entertainment system and held any conversations about “he said that”, and “she said what” by inviting your friends to your own soirée.

[1] “… new wave and bossa nova mean the same thing …” — Dorian Lynsky, The Guardian


2 thoughts on “no future

  1. I saw Nouvelle Vague a few weeks ago and although I missed the end of the gig (had to get back for the babysitter) it was a damn fine night out – both the supports were excellent too…

    I really enjoyed all the music but had quite a heated discussion with my partner over whether or not a band who output consists of re-interpretations / covers are really making a valid contribution and creating something new or whether they are in fact just engaging in a kind of parody. I think that they are adding something new and worthwhile, my partner was less sure. I think parody has a lot of negative connotations, but I also think that all truly successful modern art has a great deal of humour in it – and it is possible to be deadly serious but also funny at the same time – from Duchamp’s Urinal to Michael Craig Martin’s Oak Tree even the great minimalists like Carl Andre or Donald Judd – they are all funny but t5his doesn’t detract – at the end of the day Art is very silly thing to be doing in many ways – it can be a kind of intellectual train-spotting – but that is also one of its great strengths in the fact that driven people take us beyond the everyday.

    I don’t know whether or not this has anything to do with our respective backgrounds – I’m a visual artist (although not making much at the moment) and when she put her mind to it she is damn good musician).

    What I really enjoyed was the kind of tension set up between humour and a real seriousness in the music. ‘Too Drunk to Fuck’ and ‘God Save the Queen’ stretched both ways at once and were delicious as a result.



  2. Hi John

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting at length.

    I too have enjoyed discussions with various people wrt humour and taken oneself seriously. Answer – don’t do it.

    Yes the performance was ‘delicious’.

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