Published Apr 13, 2010A last-minute venue change from a beautiful church-turned-music-hall to a below-ground nightclub was the first bad omen. The sparse Victoria audience must have been unaware that Charlotte Gainsbourg only had three Canadian shows on her tour because they talked all through the French chanteuse's mostly quiet, delicate set.
But first, the openers. The bill got shuffled around a bit with the addition of Los Angeles duo Jogger, who shared a member with Gainsbourg's backing band. That left the much-heralded AM playing first, with their tasty pop and energetic crowd interaction becoming a definite bright spot on the night. Plus, their drummer had hair like Bob Ross; how can you go wrong?
Up next were Jogger, who confounded the crowd with their disjointed guitar noodling, rapid BPM programming and cheesy vocals. There was a noticeable reek of Burning Man in the air, as well as the Fucking Champs, so figure that one out. On their last song, the guitar guy put a violin up to his mouth and sang through it. Best song of their set.
By the time Gainsbourg ran through four of the first five songs on her new record, the delicious IRM, the loud talking at Element Nightclub had reached a fever pitch. Switch a show from a church to a bar, and apparently everyone drinks their faces off. The abnormally loud audience noise drowned out more than a few of Gainsbourg's mousy, endearing songs, and her select few sheepish song introductions were inaudible.
The quieter material from IRM, such as the ultra-cute "Me and Jane Doe," was pretty much a whitewash. The swagger of "Heaven Can Wait" (minus Beck), however, managed to silence the crowd for its full two and a half minutes.
You have to hand it to Gainsbourg, though: she soldiered on through her whole set, seeming either oblivious to the loudness coming from in front of the stage, or simply disinterested. She did smile a lot, and hit a tom drum every so often, but only when she took her hands out of her pockets. Lovely singer, pretty awful circumstances.