Gigs, dance, art

February 13th, 2010: Blackfire / Nabarlek

@cité de la musique

Belated catchup mode, after a busy spell and some internet access trouble, and a definite drop in motivation as well. The whole premise of this series of concerts — resistance — was flimsy, but this gig reached the apex of disconnect. A garage band and a punk band in what was designed as a classical music concert hall, and they didn’t even remove the seats. I guess they already had a hard time filling the place as it was, but still.

My plan was to stay unobtrusive and tucked away in some corner, but I had to get those seats out of sight, so I went up front for Blackfire‘s set. The set began with a hoop dance to traditional Diné singing, but from then on it was punk/alternative, more melodic than raw punk, and with musical skill that probably shows how long they’ve been at it. There were some Diné bits thrown in, but never as a gimmick, it always made sense in context. I like their music, and I love their attitude. The lyrics were often political, but not the mandatory kind often on display, and there was no trace of the selfish fake nihilism too often prevalent in that genre. I may have been fooled, but they really seemed genuine. And that’s so refreshing to me, I guess I’m not your typical french know-it-all. They even had a translator to make sure they got their point across the language barrier — though that particular barrier wasn’t the harder to crack. They also had beautiful stuff they made themselves on the merch table, just another clue that these people are very interesting. This was my first introduction to them, and it left me eager for more. I hope I’ll get an opportunity to see them again in a friendlier setting. I just checked out their site and they scored even more points with me by having a picture taken in front of Master Tseng’s tea house — “the new place” to me, even though I have to say her success has kept me away recently, and that’s a mistake and my loss.

Nabarlek was less to my liking, but that’s really because I’m not that much into garage. They didn’t overuse the didgeridoo at all, another band that blends the imported genre with their cultural background so that the latter fits naturally. As garage goes, I think it was good enough, but after Blackfire it was a step down for me. I think they could have skipped the obligatory Men at work’s cover, but Aussie sources have muddled the issue enough that I guess that’s more interesting than I thought. There’s awareness of the cheesiness at work, combined with a sense of pride and a tongue-in-cheek-but-not-firmly side of giving the foreigners what they expect. Throw in the aboriginal descent of many in that band and it gets more confused. Which is a good thing (Hail Eris!)


February 25, 2010 - Posted by | Music | , ,

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