LIVE: Nouvelle Vague @ Thekla, Bristol

The French collective bid 'au revoir' to their UK tour with a further trip down the rabbit hole of imaginative cover versions.
Posted: 19 March 2022 Words: Verity Vincent

French collective Nouvelle Vague are winding down their UK tour and one of the last stops was Bristol’s favourite boat venue, Thekla. The name translates to ‘new wave’ which aligns perfectly with the vision of NV founders - musicians Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux - to flip the notion of a covers band on its head. 

The band is an ever-evolving beast, with various lead singers weaving in and out of the line-up. Tonight, Elodie Frégé and Mélanie Pain took centre stage and led us down a magical rabbit hole.

Appearing from the eye of a spotlight from the back of the crowd, the soft tones of Mélanie and Elodie drifted through the boat as they floated into Visage’s ‘Fade to Grey’, before swiftly moving into New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’. 

“Bristol…” Elodie flirted … “I thought about you last night… and I danced with myself” And as the familiar beats of Generation X kicked in, the party was in full swing. Bouncing through hit after hit from Buzzcocks to XTC and giving full on Dead Kennedys’ ‘Too Drunk to F*ck’, the singers sipped back more and more white wine and everyone was down for the party. 

Dripping in sexiness, and sprinkled with humour and sass, Nouvelle Vague are far from the label of a “covers band”. Their unique project transports you to a world of the surreal. It’s Rocky Horror Show meets Cabaret, injected with reimagined homage to new wave classics from the 70s and 80s. Their covers are delivered with such imagination, class and immense musical talent.

Elodie’s rendition of ‘Human Fly’ was a theatrical masterpiece. Transforming the crowds “la’s” from ‘Teenage Kicks’ into appropriate “buzz’s” filled the venue with a vibration of energy that carried through the rest of the set. Crescendo-ing with a musical explosion in Depeche Mode’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’. Instrumental breakdowns, vocal blends and percussion in full swing, cowbell included.

Mélanie led one of the top sing-a-longs of the night with ‘Love Will Tear us Apart’ before taking centre-stage for a delicate closing moment of Yazoo’s ‘Don’t Go’. 

The passion, fun and honed togetherness that Nouvelle Vague display at their live shows really has to be experienced first hand. This tour may be nearly over but the Nouvelle Vague will no doubt be back. So au revoir until then mon amis.

To hear more from Nouvelle Vague, click here.

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