On Tuesday (October 9), I took a break from my usual pop depravity to instead indulged my inner snob with a concert at an actual sit-down theatre (note English spelling!). While Beirut and their raucous gypsy punk stylings headlined, Colleen was for me the real attraction, and she was just short of sublime, as by my count she played only four songs. For those of you who aren't familiar with her, Colleen (née Cécile Schott) is a French musician, formerly electronic, currently acoustic, but always minimalist and deeply melancholy. Tuesday night, most of her set was based on the viola de gamba, out of which she alchemized hauntingly lush loops.
The video above in fact captures the experience of the show -- a stage, darkened except to spotlight the artist, emptied except for her and what she needs to perform. And even though I was sufficiently far away that I had to squint to see (my poor eyes!), and even though the venue's sound could have been louder, Colleen played so exquisitely that I was at times lost sense of consciousness, of self dispersed throughout the darkened theater swirling into wisps of strange shapes and moving colors.
The setlist, as far as I could gather:
- "This Place In Time"
- "I'll Read You a Story"
- "Everything Lay Still"
Beirut and Colleen also played Monday (as did the opener Alaska in Winter -- arresting music, but his stage present was too conceptually flimsy), when, surprisingly, her performance received middling comments. Yet the night that I went, all the people in my row (within earshot) were swept away, and when she took her leave, standing stage left to receive her applause, Colleen looked equally astonished and bashful -- at least I'd like to think so -- by the crowd's reaction.
On a side note, as I stood at the merchandise table in the lobby -- I was trying to get the person's attention so that I could buy Les Ondes Silencieuses -- none other than Colleen herself (in this context, I should call her Cécile) swept by, quickly throwing down a small pile of flyers onto the table, and then dashed away before I had a chance to realize it was her.
By the way, the dancer, according to the homepage of the director of the video, is Elna Dahlsjö. Dancer = SYTYCD, in my system of classification.
Indie rating: Alias - 4x18 "Mirage"