LIVE REVIEW: François and the Atlas Mountains


WHERE: Southampton Guildhall, supporting Public Service Broadcasting

WHEN: 27/11

By Carron Stacey

We wanted to see Public Service Broadcasting (PSB), our friend Dave wanted to see these guys. I asked him what they were like. ‘Bonkers’, he replied.

A quick wiki-search shows lead singer François having been a touring member of Camera Obscura, and they’ve had three albums so far since their first in 2006.

The Independent reviewed their latest album as ‘gentle indie-pop jangle with echoes of Afropop’ and it received 7/10 from the NME. I’m glad I hadn’t Googled them before I went, as I was pleasantly surprised.

A tight three-piece it seemed, guitar, bass and drums. But no, the bassist played drums and keyboards and – well – played his voice. Leaning over his set-up, trying not to knock the microphone, here was an enthusiastic musician using his whole self as an instrument.

The lead singer softly jaunts around, woo-wooing gently at times, and at others, sounding more punky. I’m still trying to figure out who they remind me of. I just can’t pinpoint.

What is obvious though, is why PSB have chosen to have them as support. There are definite crossovers between their music. The gorgeous singer François is terribly French and wears terribly tight trousers.

At the interval I managed to get a photo with him (see above), his smouldering good looks slightly making up for not having many T-shirts in stock on his merch table.

Back to more serious issues, given recent events in Paris, the band spoke of the attacks and thanked us for our support. The song they were taught in a mosque was dramatic and I’m sure we weren’t the only ones captivated.

I could Google their discography and tell you which songs they played and how they sounded, but as I went in blind, as it were, so should you. Give them a whirl. They are indeed beautifully bonkers.

  • This tour continues around Europe and returns to the UK in February. Ticket details here.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow Carron on Twitter @AHumdrumMum

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