Saturday, 30 June 2012

Francois and the Atlas Mountains Review

This review will appear in Plugged In Magazine, a not-for-profit social enterprise with the aim of improving the literacy skills, confidence and educational/vocational opportunities of young people through workshops, practical experience and copy in a quality publication. The magazine is produced by volunteers and funding is gained to cover the print run only. I help out with the mag as a volunteer writer and sometimes organise workshops with Plugged In in music journalism, photography and event organising as part of my job in Community Arts. I am continually amazed by the dedication of the guys who run this venture, and the great results they achieve. Now they've been nominated for a National Lottery Award in the Education Category - please could you spare a moment of your time and vote here? If you'd like more information on Plugged In, you can find it here.


May 9th 2012
Clwb Ifor Bach
Cardiff

Listening to Francois and the Atlas Mountains’ 2010 record E VOLO Love made me a fan, but experiencing the French male foursome in the musical flesh was something quite different, an encounter which propelled me into SUPER fandom. Their live performance offered so much more than the already wonderful Gallic chamber pop tracks that the album presents. In person, their formula of layering keys, African percussion, glistening electric guitars, electronic sounds and intermittently upbeat and wistful vocals becomes magical. On this night in Clwb Ifor Bach, the floor was layered with bright blankets, the multiple leads and wires connecting amps to instruments were covered in coloured cloth, the drummer wore bells on his legs, no socks on his feet and a sequinned t-shirt. They looked great – pleasingly eccentric, likeable, vibrant - and the sound was out of this world. The bones of the tunes were fleshed out with tiers upon tiers of beats, jangles, and dance making morsels which collectively elevated this show to nothing short of fantastic. The sparkling crown on top of the kingly set came in the form of synchronised dance moves the guys suddenly broke into at regular intervals. Surprising, yes, appreciated and massively entertaining, definitely. My cheeks ached with the force of an uncontrollable happy grin all evening, and to not dance would have been impossible. I attended the performance on a very rainy Wednesday night with no expectations. I left with memories of my number one gig experience to date, in addition to confirmation of why I love live music and will never stop seeking its pleasures and life affirming benefits.


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