“Voulez vous coucher…!” shouts a man from the crowd in a thick English accent, as singer Elodie Frégé shares in a husky manner that they sing in French too. Nouvelle Vague serenaded London’s O2 Forum in Kentish Town with a tantalising performance of New Wave cover songs in a convincing bossa nova style.
The French cover band formed in 2003, after Marc Colin and Olivier Libaux bonded over pizza, wine and music. From playing around in a studio they made a bossa nova cover of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. This snowballed into producing 5 studio albums and global tours, with an array of guest singers who’ve achieved successful solo careers. Nouvelle Vague released their 5th album ‘I Could Be Happy’ on 4th November, this time with four original tracks, including ‘La Pluie Et Le Beau Temps’.
In an exclusive interview with GIGsoup, Libaux explains that the main thing is that Nouvelle Vague have fun. They have professional careers in the music industry, and always respect the bands they cover.
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The supporting act Liset Alea was like a modern day Esmeralda, with bells on her ankle and swaying to her melting guitars chords and punchy drums in tracks like ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Tidada’ and ‘Hunter and Tiger’.
Nouvelle Vague’s show was an overall success with singers shimmying to the percussion and guitar slaps. Lykke Li-like innocent vocals maintained the French charm of ‘je ne sais quois’ that Brits struggle to attain. There were some slight technical difficulties with the keyboard to start with, but the band handled it well and started playing without the instrument until all was seamlessly fixed, alongside a supportive cheer from the crowd.
There was a variety of French and Spanish fans, New Wave groupies, and couples- young and old- who swayed to an extensive selection of lounge covers such as Buzzcocks’ ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ and Modern English’s ‘I Melt With You’.
Tracks like ‘A Forest’ provided great drum solos, with ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ sweating out a Rio Carnival drum solo. New original tracks like ‘Algo Familiar’ fitted in well with the overall performance of the bossa nova genre, which were received very well by the audience.
As expected an encore was demanded. The first encore- yes, first- brought to life crowd favourites ‘Too Drunk To Fuck’, ‘I Melt With You’ and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, which left the audience singing acapella to. But that wasn’t enough for the crowd, with the band returning to perform ‘In a Manner of Speaking’. The crowd wanted more and more. Luckily these guys are doing big tours over the next few months so they can be caught again so stay tuned.