Æ: Aglet Eaters

Gig Guide 2011 #2: Alcest

Posted in Live, Rediscover, Review by R on November 19, 2011

I knew I had to go, but I was complacent – no one knows Alcest here. I’ll get tickets by-and-by.

The first show sold out.

Sheet.

Panic.

Second show announced.

It seems I had underestimated the number of attentive shoegazers in Melbourne. Needless to say, I booked my tickets at the speed of light.

I left beloved boyfriend’s birthday dinner early so I could get a spot near the front. This is the boyfriend who was going to be accompanying me to the same show, but I refused to wait for dessert (“Gaze Over Guys”, that’s my motto).

The doors opened later than they should’ve so by the time sweet-imbibing bf showed up the first band had only just started. Can I just reiterate that I gave up dessert for a band that wasn’t going to hit the stage for another two hours and can I also state that I have never sacrificed dessert for a human being in my entire life. I only do these crazy things for music. There should be an award for such heroism.

While milling about waiting for the first band to go up, I worked out why those tickets had sold out so fast. I was the lone shoegazer in a sea of metalheads. And Melbourne’s gotta lotta metalheads.

There were going to be two support acts before Alcest went up, so the show was in three stages. Each stage was marked by a smell.

The first band was a local metal group called Encircling Sea. I dug them, so I am assuming they were good. I hardly have the authority to comment, but I got into it, so did the people around me so there y’go. Unfortunately, this phase of the show smelled of Not Enough Deodorant. No fault of the chaps on stage, it was lurking somewhere within the audience.

All was saved when the second band took the stage. A local post-rock outfit called Heirs with a girl bassist. This is an important point to make because, as you might already know, girls like nice-smelling things. She placed an electric incense diffuser right at the foot of the stage where it sat quietly radiating a lovely, delicate scent as Heirs played some exceptional post-rock.Very tight, very pro, I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of them before (probably because I am not terribly cool)

But enough of that. Now it’s time for Alcest. I heard someone cry out “NEEJ!” as the band crept onstage and I did not cringe (so I get another award).

The sound was a bit shaky at first. We can’t hear you, Neige! we moaned after they’d opened with ‘Le Secret’. Neige kindly asked the sound guy to crank up his vox. What’s that… They’re maxed out? Nothing to do but shrug and carry on. Neige and crew played ‘Souvenirs’, ‘Printemps’ and ‘Iris’ off Souvenirs. From Ecailles, they played ‘Ecailles 1 & 2’ and gave me a pleasant shock when they also played ‘Solar Song’ – the song from my Least Likely List. They played a new song, and there were also one or two others in there that I can’t recall anymore. They mostly pandered to the metalheads and as the gig progressed I gradually accepted that seeing ‘Ciel Errant’ live would remain a dream as of course, the shoegazers were the less valuable faction of the audience. A justifiable situation as there are fewer of them. The crowd screamed for ‘Elevation’ as the encore which left me disappointed because – don’t get me wrong, ‘Elevation’ is a great song – it just doesn’t feel like Alcest – it doesn’t have the heart that Souvenirs does. Nonetheless, the inclusion of ‘Solar Song’ makes up for the absence of ‘Ciel Errant’ and I think of it as a little treat just for the gazers in the crowd.

This phase of the show smelled of David Jones.

Who?

If you walk down Bourke Street in Melbourne, you’ll find a department store called David Jones between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets. The perfume department looks out onto the street. I walk past it en route to my tram and whenever I do I am hit by a blast of warmed up, muddled up, designer (?) fragrances.  I was taken aback when Alcest turned on and this lovely, if somewhat overpowering, scent wafted through the air. Where was it coming from, though I, turning my head left and right in desperate search of the source.

Turns out these metal kids take serious care of their hair. It was a headbanger getting his whiplash on just a row ahead of me. That’s got to be some mean conditioner.

Image Source: Robotichead (all rights reserved )

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2 Responses

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  1. Jim P said, on January 9, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Alcest.

    Live?

    Jealous…

    Or, to put it in haiku form:

    You saw Alcest live
    I’ll live vicariously
    Man, what a great show!

    • Radhika said, on January 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      Alcest the shock gig of the year. Would definitely have been #1 if it weren’t for… well, the #1. Did you see?


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