Monday, May 16, 2005

Jorane / Saule et les Pleures - 15/05/2005, Brussels

Jazz is life... well, almost. It's nice to see a non-jazz concert that isn't The Roots!

Saule and the Pleures ("Willow and the Weepers") realised an excellent and all too rare mix of intelligent and clever lyrics, a good voice and equally good, surprising and original, even, music (or, more specifically, arrangements). In chanson française à texte, you tend to have limited (to be kind, *cough* Vincent Delerm *cough*) singers and above average lyrics. The music can vary from Brassens's extremely stripped-down rigour to more Gainsbourgian mash-ups. Saule sang about toilet ladies, a painful night at the opera (but in a way that was funny because you felt that he actually liked opera) and other everyday topics; the music was close to the chanson template (drums, double bass, acoustic guitar/singer, electric guitar, keyboard/percussion), but at times rock or hip-hop intruded (and mock-opera on the above-mentioned song), hinting at open minds. Their first CD is coming out later this year and if there's any justice it will do well, as in their short set I heard at least two potential hits.

Jorane: a girl, her voice and her cello (and a guitarist). I first saw her on Ray Cokes's show on Arte and thought my girlfriend's family would be interested in seeing her (her littlest sister plays cello).

More mystical/hippie than the opening act, she opened with transporting grainy cello notes and wordless Celtic/New Age-y vocalising and later tried out some slow, langourous, Orientalising melisma. At one point I feared that that was all there was (which would have been okay had I been lying down, or at least sitting), but they regularly veered into dynamic rock (the guitarist made good use of his pedals when on acoustic guitar and threw in some steel guitar for variety), notably after Jorane recounted the tale of an interviewer claiming to detect Led Zep influences in her music and inevitably launched into an LZ-inspired rollick. She also played electric and acoustic guitars, which set the scene for more folk- or blues-rock oriented songs.