Hoboken was the place to be tonight for the WFMU crowd as one of the station's favorite bands, LLes Breastfeeders (translated: The Breastfeeders), came and destroyed the place. They came armed with three guitars, a bass, some snappy threads and a hairy shirtless guy who's like the Slash of tambourine players. It was madness I tell ya. It was just plain crazy fun what I heard and saw tonight at Maxwell's.
The band out of Montreal has a series of NYC area dates in support of their sophomore effort, Les Matins De Grands Soirs (Mornings Of Great Evenings). Their setlist contained 14 songs, and most of their songs clocked in around 2-3 minutes, but momentum and excitement took over. They played for nearly 80 minutes.
The planned setlist:
- Tuer L'Idole
- Tout Va Pour Mieux Dans Le Pire Des Mondes
- Pas San Saveur
- Tu N'es Pas Mon Chien
- J'Pourrais Pas Vivre avec Toi
- En Dansant Le Yah!
- Viens Avec Moi
- Chanson Pour Destinee
- Funny Funiculaire
- Ca Ira
- Le Roi Est Nu
- Amoureux Solitaires
- Y a Rien Ã Faire
The thing I first think about with their blistering showcase of energy and spunk was that they played their hearts out and performed at 100% velocity ... to a room of maybe 40-50 people. It shows true dedication to putting on a top notch show no matter what the size the crowd. Well, more room for me to dance like beatnik.
If you read this space you know that I'm a fan of local act Les Sans Culottes. These two bands have a lot in common spiritually besides the language. While Les Sans is more Serge Gainsborough, Les Breastfeeders are more Pelle Almqvist. they definitely have a more garage punk sound with songs played at double the speed they are suppose to. You get the sense sometimes that the moment gets the better of them and they just let the momentum loose. It's pretty funny to see the 4 guys just go sweaty wild on stage and jump into the crowd, while the one female member barely breaks a sweat and stands smiling. I had to ask the lead singer Luc how they sustain such a high energy. He just smiled and shrugged.
I have to devout some space to that tambourine player, Johnny Maldoror, who was wearing tight black pants and a sheepskin vest with mascara all around his eyes. It's amazing how that guy's hands don't fall off. He has Palms of Steel. Every song he's banging away like a mad man. Now this stopped me in my tracks: the guy laid down with his back on the stage floor in a sit-up position. He puts the tambourine on one foot. He then flings it in he air in an arch and catches in his hand that barely moved. All of this in time with the beat. I can try that a thousand times and I would never achieve that feet.
I'm pretty sure that the majority of you reading this have never heard of The Breastfeeders and probably are not going to put effort into hearing them. I do admit that French 60s garage rock and punk is not high on the preferred genre list. Once you hear one song, you get the idea.
Then what's my fascination with these types of bands? Yes, I try to see similar sounding bands like Les Sans Culottes, La Laque and Non Non Plus. Heck, I'll even throw in Stereolab. The fact that they sing in French makes the music more exotic, even though I don't understand a lick of the language. It's probably because it call upon that late 60s European modern era. The music seemed more exciting, the scene was stylish, the world seemed less corporate, girls seemed prettier, there was less cynism and people had a good sexy time.
So if you're around the city, do check them out. You don't have to dress all in black, wear a beret, smoke a cigarette through a long holder or curse Americans in order to appreciate them.