2012 OohLaLA Festival: Day 1
Get ready, Los Angeles: it's that time of the year again.
The cool wind that blew in Thursday night brought a host of new music acts to the El Rey for the fourth annual OohLaL.A. French music festival. Kicking off day one of the festivities was French music and fashion label Kitsuné Maison, which featured LeScop, Housse de Racket, Citizens!, and Tomorrow's World for the first time in Los Angeles.
Photos by Aaron Elias.
Day one was a fun mix of old and new. Doors opened at seven, with Good Night Keaton mixing contemporary dance beats and lines from old school hip hop classics through the house speakers. Last year, attendees sipped their drinks wallflower-style on opposite sides of the El Rey while waiting for the first band to queue up.
This time, they had something to do: video screens on either side of the stage broadcast a montage of TV5Monde television clips showcasing highlights of French pop-culture news in time to the DJ mix.
Around eight thirty, dark synth-pop act Le Scop took the stage. Describing the artist is easy: picture a good-looking, hyperactive kid who grew up very angry at society.
His jerky dance steps on stage and death stare made for a very dark energy, coupled with song titles like "Tokyo la Nuit" (Tokyo at night), "Paris s'endort" (Paris sleeps) and "Hypnose." Accompanied by guitar, bass, laptop and drum machine, LeScop got off to a shaky start but hit his stride halfway through the set.
The heavy, somber energy of most songs flatlined and failed to build momentum—his best tracks were the up-tempo and high energy "La Foret" and "Le Vent."
Based on this performance, LeScop hasn't mastered the live show: long pauses between songs, heavy tracks that fail to engage the audience as he wears on. He is definitely better on the album, and was overshadowed by his afro-sporting lead guitarist in the patent white laceups, whose bluesy riffs drifted up like a singing bird from the dark, lo-fi songs.
The next act, announced by KROQ's Rodney Bingenheimer, didn't need the introduction.
In their North American debut, Citizens! knew who they were and reveled in showing it from the moment they stepped onstage. In an ironic twist, they were the only British band on the lineup and easily the strongest performance of the night: the high-energy electropop songs came one right after another, each better than the last, with amazing energy from the entire band.
The lead singer's irreverent personality shook up the house and got everyone dancing. The set was cohesive and beautifully orchestrated—this is definitely the takeaway band to watch for. Their album, "Here We Are," is good, but the live show was great. Definitely check them out at iTunes or your local music shop.
Citizens! was followed by two duos, Tomorrow's World and Housse de Racket, but the crowd had thinned considerably: looks like the Brits stole the show this time.
Tomorrow's World singer Lou Hayter lacked presence and delivered lackluster lyrics: her sparkly dress and tambourine did not make up for an opening song whose only lyrics seemed to be "Hold me closer" over and over again in questionable key.
Kitsuné veterans Housse de Racket, who were studio musicians for Phoenix, wrapped up the show with the psychedelic tinged-electropop off their sophomore album "Alesia."
Stay tuned for reviews on days 2 and 3 of the festival. For more information please visit here.
Read more NT show reviews here.
Reach Staff Reporter America Hernandez here.