Au Revoir Simone w/Oh No! Oh My! and The Morning Benders

Thursday, 30 August 2007

If I were to be in a band, I would be in Au Revoir Simone. Well, I would want to be anyway. Given the fact that the last musical instruction I had was three-years worth of euphonium lessons—not exactly a hip, rock-friendly instrument—I’m guessing I would be immediately demoted to tambourine girl. But even saying you’re in an all-girl, all-keyboard, angel-voiced indie band has to earn you some sort of cool cred, n’est-ce pas?

Following sets by The Morning Benders (flannel-clad youngsters with catchy Green Day rhythms and simple riffs) and Oh No! Oh My! (a quirky four-piece celebrating their 100th show with a penchant for facial hair), Au Revoir Simone appeared Friday night behind a blockade of three keyboards and a drum machine. Some technical difficulties up front gave way to a set that went off without a hitch.

The three lovely Brooklyn brunettes—Heather D’Angelo, Annie Hart and Erika Foster—look like variations of the same person, with their endearing smiles and long hair and slim arms and legs poking out of thrift-store chic attire. They have identical ethereal voices, so that on the record you can’t tell if it’s one girl or twenty, but in person you realize how perfectly they harmonize and play off each other.

The trio played songs from their debut LP, Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation, and their follow-up, The Bird of Music, released in February. Their emotionally charged sophomore effort proves that they haven’t lost their signature sound. Call it synth-pop or alt-folk or any other hybridization of cool sounds, but the bottom line is that it’s good. Really good. And a majority of the show’s fairly short set-list came from the second album. Songs like “The Lucky One,” “Sad Song,” “(A Violent Yet) Flammable World” and “Fallen Snow” were poetic and lovely, with great duets punctuated by sweet, heartfelt thank yous between songs. Before “Stars,” Heather commented that the group hadn’t played the song live in awhile since she thought her part was boring, but they revamped it and gave her a more substantial role. On “Lark,” the trio was all swinging hair and swaying hips, clearly enjoying themselves.

At about the halfway point, Erika mentioned that since they’d been touring with Oh No! Oh My! for months now, they had come up with a theme for the tour…something incomprehensible having to do with cougars and random questions. She explained they’d been asking each night’s audience a question—regarding the decaffeination process of coffee or the growth habits of baby corn, for example—and then answering one in return. Our question from Erika? “How do Xerox machines work?” A college degree and 25 years of life experience and I had no idea. But unfortunately for them, I wasn’t alone. They brought the question up again between the remaining songs and still, nothing.

Well here you go ladies: “How do Xerox machines work?” Consider it my heartfelt thank you for a lovely evening.

Download "Through the Backyards" – [mp3]

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