After a recent gig in London in June, the French duo Brigitte came back on October 9th for a performance at the Islington Assembly Hall. Formed 10 years ago by Aurélie Saada and Sylvie Hoarau, they are touring their fourth album Nues released last year.
There is, surprisingly, no support act but a DJ set. The London-based collective French MAMA slowly warms up the crowd with current and older French anthems but nothing is surprising or astonishing. The music is good for people to be able to speak on top of it and have it in the background.
It is time for Brigitte to go on stage and the audience suddenly feels excited to be here. The two singers dropped their wigs they used to wear on stage when it was almost impossible to know who was who.
Starting the set with Palladium, the (almost French-only) crowd is fascinated by the duo and their harmonies. They quickly give up their attempt to speak English as both the artists and the audience are struggling.
Their powerful engagement with the crowd is even stronger when they start an a capella version of their Supreme NTM cover ‘Ma Benz’. The arrangements are of a good standard, but the set is lacking contrast. It is not fresh, but not rusty either. It includes hits but while the start of the show brings excitement to the room, the middle feels left out. The enthusiasm gets higher towards the end when the first notes of ‘A bouche que veux-tu’ start being played. Followed by ‘Oh la la’ and ‘Battez-vous’, Aurélie and Sylvie leave the stage to come back, not once but twice. One last time to perform Palladium again, a capella this time. They want to make their fans feel close to them and it works. Never stopping to smile, the venue feels like a lovely family thanks to their engaging behaviour towards their audience.
The perfect harmonies are what kept the show interesting for almost two hours. It is however a shame their wild stage decor disappeared from when we saw them a few years back. A nice evening, that probably was not worth the high price of the tickets (with is likely to be the cause of a half empty venue.)
Photos and words: Laurine Payet