WORTH A LOOK?: ***
SETLIST: Comme Si; Girlfriend; Le G; Science Fiction; Make Some Sense; Les Paradis Perdus; iT; Feel So Good; Tilted; 5 Dollars; What’s Her Face; Here; the Stranger; Goya! Soda!; Damn; Nuit 17 a 52; Doesn’t Matter; The Walker; Saint Claude; Intranquillite
WHEN?: 20/11/18, tour runs until 10/3/19
The most striking thing about Christine And The Queens in the flesh is how Héloïse Letissier sings and moves so in sync with her half dozen-strong troupe of athletic dancers.
- Read on for reasons including why they’re a band we think we should love more than we actually do
It’s a beautiful, stylised yet individual choreography with more in common with the West End than the West of London rock venue we find ourselves in tonight.
We’re standing in the Eventim Apollo and it’s so busy that it’s nose to nipple in here (the punchline to an old Victoria Wood joke) which reminds us why it’s better to be seated upstairs here (and still dance with the rest of the Circle throughout the show).
Héloïse also talks a good gig and appears to shed some light on a recent review of a Bournemouth gig in which she suggested she thought she was in near neighbours Portsmouth. (‘Usually I warm up the crowd with some bad jokes but you seem ready.’)
And indeed the crowd is one of the loudest and most appreciative we’ve been part of here. The visuals are striking and well thought out not least during a stand-out moment when it appears to be snowing on stage.
If we’re honest we want to love this band more than we actually think they deserve and we’re blaming a lack of immediacy and depth of their songs. Perhaps it has something to do with the language barrier but when they hit their stride, as on recent 90s-infused pop masterpiece Girlfriend, they are enthralling.
We love onstage same sex romping, multiple nods to gender fluidity, tight dance routines and more than a smattering of French but we just wish there was more stand-out material and moments of the calibre of the hit Tilted which broke them in the UK.
If new album Chris was an attempt at informality and breaking down barriers it is the between-song banter about finding some comfort in not fitting in that is more successful to these ears than the actual tunes.
Christine And The Queens: enthroned – but in need of a few more crowns.