Review by Carol Lovatt
The epitome of cool, French Boutik are a band based in Paris who are simply irresistible in concert and last night (Sun 16 July) they played an intimate ‘up close and personal’ gig at the atmospheric Wightman Theatre in Shrewsbury that was simply sublime. Associated with the genre of Pop Moderniste, the band is an exciting and eclectic mix of 1960’s inspired pop infused with a more edgy new wave vibe, sultry yet sharp vocals and assertive instrumentation. The 4 members of the band, Gabriela Giacoman, Serge Hoffman, Zelda Aquil and Jean-Marc Joannes were complimented by guest artiste Olivier Popincourt, the keyboard ace who impressed and complimented the set with his virtuoso skills by paying homage to the mighty mod sounds of the Hammond organ. French Boutik have real style. They look impressive and they sound impressive. They appeal to an international audience not only because of their connection to the global mod scene but also because they are really good at what they do.
One of the key attractions of French Boutik is that they have something different to offer, their music is not just a rehash of 60’s pop, it’s a reinvention of it for a modern audience. The combination of English and French lyrics in their catchy and soulful harmonies is infectious. They make you want more. Musically, the guitar, bass and drum are tight and authentic, producing a seamless and original sound which is hip and vibrant. Vocally, Gabriella and Zelda are beautifully synchronised, as is the band as a whole. This current tour has given audiences both the essential French Boutik repertoire with classics such as End of the Line, La Vie En Coulleurs, Mieux Comme Ca, New Bossa, Tiptoes and Pousse Au Crime alongside tracks from the 2016 album Front Pop including Le Mac, Le Casse, L’Expert, Hitch a Ride and Impitoyable. All delivered with that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ elegance and style that the French do so well.
I must also mention the support band on with French Boutik, The Backbeat Three, who consist of a trio of local musicians. They warmed up the audience brilliantly with their excellent renditions of songs by the Beatles. The Backbeat Three provided a perfect complement to the main act and as such, the evening proved to be a first class night all round with great music in a lovely venue offering live music at its best. I’m already looking forward to the next time French Boutik are in the UK on tour.
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