Yesterday evening, in the precious setting of the Cirque d’Hiver, the Psychotic Monks once again made a breathtaking show of force, just after a successful family evening hosted by the two friends, Peter Doherty and Frédéric Lo.
A wonderful program at the Culture Box Festival, which makes the two planned evenings almost unmissable… even if we regret the choice of a “seated” room like the sumptuous Cirque d’hiver for such groups. Let’s do good against bad luck, at least we won’t be pushed around tonight! The artists therefore play on the central (round) track, with the public in the stands around it, which will in fact allow interesting interactions…
7:30 p.m.: … a potential that will be well exploited Lulu Van Trapp : while the material occupies only part of the track, Rebecca, the singer, will quickly take over the entire space, in contact with the spectators, tracked by the cameras of France TV… Later, the group, seated on the periphery, will offer us an acoustic piece “like at home”, which will perhaps be the most interesting moment of the set. Otherwise, the 55 minutes left to Lulu Van Trapp will allow them to explore the different facets of a varied repertoire: from danceable and good-natured rock to torch songs sung like a soulful diva – Rebecca really has an impressive voice – passing through “love songs” which favor softness. The biggest fantasy of the group this evening lies in their clothing, it is spectacular indeed – beret and kilt for Max, red and yellow plastic outfit for Rebecca (whose top she will have to take off because of the high temperature…). Whatever one thinks of the band’s music, sometimes irregular, one must admire Lulu Van Trapp for the way in which they will manage to bring with them the public, whose enthusiasm will grow over the set. Cheer !
8:55 p.m.: we are told that the program initially planned will be reversed, and it is now the turn of Peter Doherty and Frederic Lowho will play us their entire magnificent album, The Fantasy Life of Poetry and Crime. They are accompanied by a string quartet, which has a real added value on the pieces where it intervenes, and Pete even brought his dog! Which in itself is a real first (… the first time we see a dog on stage during a rock concert!)… The evening will be clearly placed under the sign of friendship, family, but also simplicity. Lo and Doherty winnow themselves nicely, with a lot of affection… They will even end up waltzing together!
Musically, it’s both very beautiful – what songs! – and flawed enough that the emotion is still present in the cracks of the music. Doherty sings magnificently badly, with that almost childish voice of a wounded poet which touches the heart: it is a delight. When the album is finished, the concert closes with a few Doherty songs, including the superb Salome (whose Lo claims she blasted him when he first heard her!). The finale will remain in the convivial and relaxed register, on the country laid back of For Lovers. The dog barks, a little frightened by the torrents of applause and shouts from the audience. 1h05 of singular magic, emanating as much from the charisma of Doherty than the quality of the compositions of Lo : a winning duo.
It is already 10:30 p.m. when the quartet of The Psychotic Monks attacks its set, and the Cirque d’hiver has unfortunately – but logically – been well emptied for our darlings. But those who remain KNOW, or have friends who KNOW and have warned them. We are first surprised by the appearance of the quartet, each musician having adopted an original, even slightly whimsical look (the bassist’s platform boots, the drummer’s spangled face…) which brings a welcome touch of lightness and humor to the band. But don’t worry, the tsunami Psychotic Monks will engulf us again: despite the distance created by the configuration of the Cirque d’Hiver, despite an insufficiently loud sound, despite our fatigue perhaps, our Monks will prove, once again, that they soar to incredible heights.
As always, the concert starts in an abstract way, and the public must first make an effort to penetrate little by little within these noisy concepts, also uncomfortable, which only give off a fleeting beauty. We wait for the rhythms to accelerate, but our impatience will have to be contained for a long time, or else the pleasure will be interrupted too quickly. Some spectators, too quickly discouraged, still leave the room. This music has to be earned, or rather it is music that deserves to be ready for it. Then, little by little, the stars align, the pulse intensifies and we enter the enjoyable part of the set. The whole room is now electric, we dance like rag dolls tossed about by the storm. Happiness, joy, trance… we vibrate with the musicians who go wild. And then comes the last part, the one that can only be described as sublime. The one that makes the toughest among us cry. The one that will make one of our friends say: “I clearly took a slap, I’ve never felt so many things in such a short time”. Martin sings the hallucinated psalmody of Every Sightand we begin this long rise in power which will culminate, a good quarter of an hour later, with a Cirque d’Hiver totally paralyzed by the power of the emotions that have been poured out on us.
The final acclamation is deafening, the group is moved, we will come out of there once again convinced that we have lived one of those great experiences that music, the best music provides. And to be lucky to be French and to have one of the most beautiful bands on the planet here.
Come on, let’s all say goodbye, and see you tomorrow. Because we come back tomorrow!
Photos and text: Eric Debarnot
[Live Report] Emily Loizeau, Pete Doherty & Frédéric Lo, and Fishbach at Studio 104