Pas une fête triste mais plutôt une fête émotionnelle, mélodique, dynamique et merveilleuse par voie sonore…

The show of Trisomie 21 in London, was much anticipated by at least two generations of music lovers. People had travelled from Oxford, Liverpool and other parts of the country, in order to see the legendary band of the French new wave scene of the 1980s perform live.

The mood was very positive in the venue while people were communicating the surprise and joy for seeing this band perform live. The rich merchandise at the entrance was attracting a lot of interest despite the fact that the first two reissued LPs of the band were not available. Three guitars that were placed at the back of the stage underneath the band’s banner, were already framing our views.

There was no information about stage times prior to the show and even though a few people had asked about this on the event’s facebook page, no one had replied. As a result, people made their own informed assumptions about the time the band would appear on stage and many arrived a bit later than 20.15 when the first notes of ‘Where Men Sit’ from the latest album ‘Elegance Never Dies‘ were heard. Those of us who had arrived early enough had the chance to study the setlist that was placed on the floor at the front of the stage. We had no doubt (even without seeing the setlist) that the band would include our favourite older tracks in it, but it was nice to confirm said certainty even though we could not predict how these tracks were to be transformed and the impact they would have.

‘Waiting For’ from the 1985 EP ‘Wait&Dance’, ‘The Camp’ from the album ‘Black Label’ and ‘Sharing Sensation’ from the 1990 album ‘Raw Material’, followed in the setlist as the venue was almost full and the different dynamics on stage were being unveiled. Approaching the edge of the stage, at times with the bass and at times with the electric guitar, in slow, steady and affirmative steps, seemed at first as a random gesture by Hervé (Lomprez). But as this built some momentum and was repeated several times, it was experienced as a unique and humorous way of establishing a connection with the audience. At the same time, standing at the less lit left hand side of the stage, a composed but musically very expressive bassist (Gregg Anthe) was taming both the bass and the guitar, while also providing backing vocals. In the meantime Phillipe (Lomprez), representing the more lyrical side of the band, was offering beautiful versions of the songs rarely interacting with Hervé and Gregg as he focused on transmitting gentleness and lyricism through his whole stage appearance. As the show approached its middle part, with ‘Soft Brushing Speed’, from ‘Distant Voices’, ‘Midnight of My Life’ from ‘Happy Mistery Child’, ‘Rebirth’ from the latest ‘Elegance Never Dies’ and ‘Hear Me Now’ from ‘Black Label’ something was becoming more and more evident but we were only able to be sure about it when ‘La fête triste’ was played towards the end. The songs had been given dynamics and an energy that could never have been detected by listening to the albums at home, especially the older albums of the band.

One could say that the older songs were given a boost so that stylistically they would be closer to the sound of the band since Black Label. But it is not as simple as that and again ‘La fête triste’ was the best proof of that. Careful and skilful sound engineering made sure that the two eras of the band met gracefully on stage and revealed their common ground through Phillipe’s beautiful performance. The ‘dry’ beats in the original version of ‘Soft Brushing Speed’ for example, were given a much welcomed volume and depth and they resonated in the space, without competing with the vocals or with the lightness of the synth. The highlighted sound of the electric guitar and the backing vocals lifted the energy of the song and made it feel more ‘grounded’ and more spacious than the original version.

The second part of the show began after a very brief intermission with ‘Glistering Like Gold’ from ‘Black Label’, ‘Djakarta’ from ‘Passions Divisées’ and ‘Remember Me’ from ‘T21 Plays The Pictures’. The first highlight of the show came with the next song and ended with people cheering and Philippe revealing his passion and unapologetic vindictiveness while replacing the chorus of ‘Breaking Down’ with the words ‘Brexit Down’! It was a powerful moment in every aspect and seemed to trigger all the energy that came afterwards. When the first notes of ‘Il se Noie’ were heard, they spread a veil of weird nostalgia over us. Listening to this song live for the very first time, proved to be a moment to be cherished. ‘Betrayed’ and ‘Again and Again’ preceded the second highlight of the setlist and of the show, which was a beautiful and powerful version of ‘La Fête Triste’. From the beginning, people were turning to each other briefly acknowledging the moment and its importance. I am sure everyone who was in that gig, has heard this song in clubs/bars in different countries and at home, but I am even more sure that no one had identified the power of those ‘dry’ beats of the original version until listening to the live version 30 years after its release. With Hervé alone on stage with the synth, the feelings caused by those majestic beats were very powerful…It was an unforgettable moment. It is truly magical what the simple and ‘innocent’ melody of this song manages to do. It makes me want to stop and think as its timeless simplicity almost brings tears to my eyes. This song has a truly magnetising melody even more so when listened to live having obtained the characteristics of a strong pulse that made it almost unrecognisable in terms of its emotional power!

‘No Search For Us’ and ‘Tender Now’ settled down the heightened emotions before the grand finale with a version of ‘The Last Song‘ that made everyone (and I mean everyone) dance!

With its last note, a gig that truly heightened the spirit came to an end and evidence of that was what happened next. Of all the years I have been living in this city, not once, have so many people agreed to go somewhere together after a gig. It was probably the positivity created and stressed through the show that made so many of us, to agree to go together to a nearby bar and cherish the moment, because ultimately that was what all this was about. People who see each other in clubs and rarely speak to each other, people with whom we meet on the streets of Leipzig and never even wave to each other, people with whom we interact in social media but never bother to have a glass of wine with. Well, we were about 20 people who walked towards a local ‘tavern’ and made an aesthetically strong entrance there, as team dressed in black. We discussed about upcoming gigs, festivals and some made plans for this year’s Wave Gotik Treffen. A few days later, Trisomie 21 confirmed their inclusion in this year’s WGT line up. For the first few months of 2018 the band will be touring in France so if you missed their gig in London, this is a very good reason to visit France!Several weeks have passed from this truly beautiful show and if anything can sum up the residual feeling from that gig is these lyrics:

“I can’t remember feeling real
Like the candle burning bright
Visions of love and me
And another face of the world
But I break out of feeling real…”
(lyrics from: ‘The Last Song’)

Merci beaucoup Trisomie 21!

You can see more photos from this gig here: http://blaue-rosen.com/trisomie-21-live-in-london-2017/

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