Friday 22 February 2019

Gigs' Reviews : Long Hot Summer on the Island. Mr Occhio, Voudou-Vodou, Mothra Slapping Orchestra, Son Of Ze Beach

Here comes a little selection of gigs' reviews on Reunion Island over the last two months. Cheers !

Mr Occhio - 13/12/2018 - Art Gallery Of Rockfeuilles - St Gilles-les-Bains 

May 2017. A mid-week day on the newly protected by underwater safety nets surf spot of Les Roches Noires... One of my rare attempt since the beginning of the sharks' crisis in 2011... I looked at that jerk with rock'n'roll tatooes swimming on his board towards the spot. He seemed friendly, happy and very jovial, his name is Christiano... The waves caught my attention after that.

A few weeks later, a friend told me he had met an Italian surfer who was going to give some shows with his former one-man-band : Mr Occhio(x). Really ? The King Automatic's (x) tours mate in the 2010's? A little check on internet, and yes, that's the guy ! And above all, we finally have got our own bluesy-trash/ garage one-man-band on the island ! Hurrah !

Christianos' music comes from the one Hasil Adkins and all those one-man-bands' pioneers used to play, but he's has managed to find his own way, alongside a few other ones like Mark Sultan/BBQ(x)Bob Log III(x)Reverend Beatman(x)... He's played since 2005 a perfect mixture between rough delta blues, lo-financial garage and wild rock'n'roll. Guitar, kick-drum, foot-cymbals, maracas, horn and many more, all played together while he alternately sings in Italian, English or French... A vinyl Lp, «Hard Boiled », was released in the late 2000's. 

Since he started doing shows on the island a few months ago, Christiano has played in many places with some local bands (Kilkil(x)Golgot VR(x) among the others) or alone, often opening for some art exhibition of his friend ABR(x).

Tonight, he's playing for the closure of an ABR & Yann art exhibition. Funny could be the key word of the party : the bad sound in the place that forces Occhio to play on a lo-fi way, the tiny stage raised just above the table full of toasts, peanuts and empty bottles of Dodo's beers, all those huge ABR paintings with skull heads of 3-eyed beasts, the drunk skaters & surfers friends of Christiano, his all-tatooed mates with their hotties girlfriends... A very nice show and it's always a pleasure to meet him, share a beer, watch him play and talk about music, surf and other bullshits. A little trailer of the party here.

Voudou-Vodou One Man Band - 04/01/2019 - La Cerise Saint Paul

It's pretty hard to find nice events during this long January's holidays' period, so I jump on that show in La Cerise. Voudou-Vodou(x), a one-man-band, is playing tonight...The name is catchy and he self-proclaims his style as « post-punk for living rooms », so why not have a try...

La Cerise(x) is a really nice bar with a cool bar tender, located in St Paul, and for sure, one of the place to play for any local or touring live bands. Also, a damned good place with air-conditioning in this fucking hot austral summer !

The bar is not very crowded tonight. The guy starts his show with some caravaning/folk guitar French songs of his own... Not my cup of tea... Fortunately, the thing doesn't last long and he quickly launches the heart of his show : drum machines, keyboards loops, and electric guitar . He performed a pretty nice show, switching between a few lovely, catchy post-punk tunes and some mid-tempo kitsch electro ballad. The lyrics and the attitude are a bit wacky too, remembering me things like all these current quirky electro or weird synthetic-rock bands (Jean-Louis Costes(x)Ryder The Eagle(x), Gerard Jugno 106(x), Huile(x)...) or even Philippe Katerine. We've got at the end a very pleasant show.

A little talk with the guy, at the end of the show : David Froget comes from Tours, France. He's on a 5-dates' tour on his own on Reunion Island, he released a beautiful vinyl-looking-cd ep last October (the tracks are on his bandcamp). The talk moves on the city of Tours, Radio Béton(x), the Reviens Gamin(x) gigs' organisation, La Compagnie Le Zèbre(x) (a streets' happenings' company in which he's involved)... Bye David and all the best for you !

Mothra Slapping Orchestra + EZ & the Mangoacid – 20/01/2019 – Ronda chez JP

Happy sunset times on the Waterfront of Saint Leu have ever been a real institution on Sundays' nights... Always lots of mixed people, tourists, families, rockers, hippies, surfers, rastas... hanging around, ready for a beer, listening to bands in the seafront bars/rondavelles, taking away cheap handmade food and as far as I know, there's here the best Falafels' stand on the island ! During this once-again exhausting hot night, two local rock bands are playing at the JP Ronda.

EZ and the MangoAcid(x) opens the party. The name and the psyche logo are tempting, so that's a good opportunity to catch them live. The three guys are very good players, the lead guitarist/singer has sometimes a T-Rex-like voice, they seem to have assimilated all the Bowie, late-Who, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd things.. A nice show, the sound is perhaps a bit too clean for me and some unexpectedness and madness could make it great... They released a digital ep last year.
A musician colleague told me more about the singer : an outstanding roaming guy, travelling here and there, settling down a few monthes/years in some place, playing live rock, releasing something and then moving to the next place... So, on the island for the moment.

Mothra Slapping Orchestra(x) plays a nice classical Psychobilly rock, quite similar to Guana -Batz, Demented Are Go, early Nekromantix...,with the usual slapping double-bass, drums and guitar trio,... I haven't seen them since their opening for great Hair & the Iotas(x) at the St Leu Tempo festival in 2014... And yeah, the show is good ! The local rock label that federates most of the Reunion's punk bands (Maudit Tangue Records(x)), released their « Catch your Monster » vinyl Lp last year. They'll play on the main stage at the Rock à La Buse festival in March...

Son Of Ze Beach + Mr Occhio + Rémi Brikabrack One-Man-band - 02/02/2018 - Hauts Sons des Couverts - Saint Gilles-les-Hauts

I met Manu Tikimalo four years ago on a local supermarket's parking lot... Not the funniest place around, but rockers also need to eat and I sometimes meet such guys there... The last one was the boss of the fabulous label Juvenile Delinquent(x) from Nantes ! An other story... 
So, Manu is that kind of expert in 50's rock'n'roll vinyls and vintage scooters, we had lots of talks about his vinyl passion, about the gigs we both went to without knowing each other (Loud mufflers' festivals...) and all his former 50's-styled bands (Carl & the Rhythm All Stars(x),  Easy Lazy C &His Silver Slippers(x)The Rawhiders(x)...). Since he arrived on the island, he had been playing double-bass in this nice local band : Son of ze Beach(x), with Remi Bricabrack, singer & lead guitarist, and Luc Nanpon at the standing-up drums.

The sound was at the crossroad of 50's rock'n'roll, Cramps-styled garage and all those mid-tempo psychobilly bands (BatmobileLong Tall Texans, early Happy Drivers...).By the way, they took up the Johnny Burnette standard « Minight Train »... The lyrics dealt mostly with classical themes of sci-fi B-movies, zombies, etc...They released a cd album in 2017.
Manu had to leave the island for the mainland last year, but they kept on going and started rehearsals with a new line-up : Rémi plays now double-bass, Christiano/Mr Occhio the guitar and Luc is still at the drums. 

Tonight, they're playing their first show with this new line-up in the Hauts Sons des Couverts(x) bar. This is a perfect place, located in the heights of St Gilles : a beautiful open-air terrace for shows, a good sound system, a rock'n'roll bar tender and delightful giant burgers! 

I missed the 20-minutes' sets of the two one-man-band and arrived at the start of the Son of Ze Beach show. The sweltering heat once again... The three guys are naked to the waist, to the girly audience's delight ! Christiano brings with his guitar playing a more garage sound, this new line-up is really nice too ! They also invite a girly accordion and a washboard player on their last two songs, bringing a while a sound closed to the Torso Twisters' (x) one! The audience loves the thing, so do I and I'll for sure see them again with the same happiness... Just one thing : Lee Hazelwood wrote so many awesome songs, I'm just fed up with « These boots are made for walking »... A few movie captures from the show here and there.

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