I went out to see The French Kicks play last night at Cafe du Nord.
First, the openers.
What Made Milwaukee Famous (who’re from Austin, Texas, not Milwaukee), played some fun indie rock. The second half of their set was definitely more enjoyable than the first. I also think they were more enjoyable when they were playing dancey, poppy tunes rather than the dark, more arty sounding stuff.
I’d first heard about WMWF from Good Hodgkins and have been looking forward to seeing them ever since.
Matt and Kim were up next (check out their space).
What can I say about them? They’re a two person band, Matt playing a Yamaha synth (what kind was it, Buzz?) and Kim playing the drums. Kim’s kit was pretty stripped down– snare, kick, a tom, ride cymbal and a tambourine. The lack of a high hat was awkward. But, I don’t think it mattered to Kim. I think she just wanted to pound on the big tom and snare.
More important than their simplistic instrumentation was their energy. They really seemed to be enjoying every moment of the show. Kim would especially light up every time she threw down a tricky sequence.
Next up were The French Kicks.
I almost didn’t go to this show. I’d seen the French Kicks a few months ago, opening for The Futureheads and was somewhat disappointed. I like their records, but their live performance at The Fillmore was somewhat lacking in stage presence.
I decided to give them another chance. Maybe a smaller venue would be better?. I was still somewhat disappointed.
If you haven’t heard their music, they sound somewhat like The Walkmen (their space), but more straight-forward musically (where The Walkmen can be quite creative in how they produce their sound) and with a lot less stage presence. Where The Walkmen’s front-man Hamilton Leithauser captivates, The French Kicks’ front-man (whose name I can’t seem to find) ambles about, seemingly oblivious to the crowd. In Willo’s words, “too cool for school.” I agree.
Overall, though. an enjoyable show.