Dancing to Joy Division is much less ironic when covered by Parisian new wave surfers Nouvelle Vague.
It is doing Nouvelle Vague a disservice to label them a cover band; they are re-imaginers, breathing new life into classic hits while exposing forgotten B-sides to the light of day.
The band, the brainchild of duo Olivier Libaux and Marc Collin, has also been a powerful vessel for uncovering new female vocalists; most notably Camille.
On the current tour, Olivier and Marc are joined by a trio of seductresses; Élodie Frégé, a towering amalgam of Nico and Julia Zemiro; Mélanie Pain, possessor of an angelic indie pop voice reminiscent of Melbourne’s Alpine and Lisa Mitchell; and sultry Cuban multi-instrumentalist Liset Alea, who emerged from behind an array of bongos to unveil a resplendent and exquisitely see-through red and black Spanish dress and her smoky and spicy vocal delivery.
Armed with such diverse and accomplished talent and a back catalogue of punk, new wave and post-punk standards, Nouvelle Vague navigated through the entire gamut of human emotions, earning multiple encores, a standing ovation and most importantly some frantically exhibitionist dancing by young and old in the rows and aisles.
Tracks from ‘I Could Be Happy’ dominated the evening’s set, with versions of ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ by The Ramones, the orgasmic ‘Love Comes in Spurts’, Cocteau Twins crooner ‘Athol Brose’ and the Spanish ‘Algo Familiar’ in which Liset encouraged the audience to become one of her instruments by mouthing the clip-clop rhythm of a trotting horse.
On a later song, she demonstrated her nose trumpet prowess, causing one to ponder whether there was anything she could not do.
On dance floor igniters ‘Ever Fallen In Love’, ‘Dancing With Myself’ and ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ the seats became stifling; there was dancing, initially in the aisles but soon everywhere.
A middle-aged man in the front row busted out a flurry of moves in unison with the drum solo in the Depeche Mode banger.
For days to come, anything not sung with a sexy French accent will just not do; it simply won’t do at all!
NOUVELLE VAGUE AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Thursday 19 January – Brisbane Powerhouse
Saturday 21 January – So Frenchy So Chic (Sydney)
Sunday 22 January – Rosemount Hotel (Perth)