Despite seeing three bands in two locations, by far the most memorable thing to occur on my birthday (28) was a disastruous encounter with TV On The Radio.
Jean-Paul Estievenart - tp
Cédric Favresse - as
Lieven Van Pee - b
Alain Deval - d
The Archiduc is fun to go to because it mixes people who can afford to shop at the Olivier Strelli down the street (which the drink prices reflect) and those who can afford... free (as in 0 euro) jazz concerts.
Jean-Paul Estievenart recently won the New Talent Django d'Or, the best of an extraordinarily weak field, compared to previous years. Anyway, I hadn't heard him in a long time, so was curious. He's a clean-cut player, fluent but not particularly interesting. They played a few Ornette Coleman tunes (you can hear "Jayne" on their website) as straight as possible. Mingus's "Fables Of Faubus" was more fun, as was Cédric Favresse's composition "Yémen," which juxtaposed a bright, infectious rhythm with a slowed-down, Middle Eastern section. He's more expressive than Estievenart at this point, working his way through his Charlie Parker. Collapse is further proof, as if any were necessary, that even young Europeans are interested in mainstream, swinging jazz. Not all of us are avant-garde freaks, believe it or not.
We stayed for about half of the second set, then headed for a Chinese restaurant opposite our next musical stop, the Ancienne Belgique's upstairs club. It was my birthday and I was bored at home, so decided on the spur of the moment to come out for a double-bill of two bands I'd never heard of. Amusingly, the main impression I'm left with is "welcome to the blogosphere!" (at least, a different blogosphere than the one I'm used to, one where guys in the front row wear Broken Social Scene t-shirts).
Cortney Tidwell (MySpace)
A very young band from Nashville. The singer had a Joanna Newsome-ish girliness and tortuous phrasing. The sound was pretty bad, so as soon as the guitarist, cellist and keyboardist all started playing, I had no idea what she was saying. Maybe it was the sound, but the songs kind of lacked contour and detail. Still, they could drift on a couple of floor-rattling drones, bounce on a disco beat or explode into guitar noise.
Grizzly Bear (MySpace)
Four men singing together in high-pitched harmony never goes out of style, especially when they're doing it over long, sprawling multi-sectional songs that are tinged with 70s psychedelic rock and often involve whistling. Thankfully, the sound was excellent. Interesting, but I kind of got bored after a while, whereas IVN loved it all the way through. I liked how not straight-forward it all was. One song started with a brief, hard-driving explosion, then spent the next many minutes making you think it was going to get back there, but never did.
And now, the already-legendary TVotR incident:
During the intermission between the CT and GB shows, I saw the guys from TVotR over in a corner. They were opening for We Are Scientists the next day, so I wasn't surprised to see them there. Since he's the most recognisable of the bunch, I went over to Kyp Malone (surely the best afro/beard combination in the business). The following is a transcription of our conversation, with the thoughts that whizzed through my head in brackets and italics.
*Put hand on Malone's shoulder, Malone turns around*
"Excuse me. I just wanted to say that I really really really love your album (I should show him that I am aware that his band has several albums, even though I only own one of them) Return To Cookie Monster (fuck! Could I have said anything more stupid? Now I look like an insincere idiot! *image of Cookie Monster comes to mind* Should I say nothing and just hope that the music was loud enough for him not to have really heard what I just said?) Return To Cookie Mountain (just keep smiling).
*Dave Sitek chuckles. I am increasingly nervous*
"Thank you very much."
"(Quick, re-assert your fandom)I'll be coming to see you tomorrow, I'm really looking forward to it."
"Thank you." (I don't think he cares. He probably heard cookie monster)
*I walk away, head hung in shame*