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Culture Reviews
By Jeremy Schaar
Standard guitar chords with uninspiring effects, plus a punk singer’s voice without the energy equals? Boring. And such was the performance Saturday night.

Electronicat is Frenchman Fred Bigot. He’s about 180cm tall and has very short, receding brown hair. He’s skinny, but strong with taut muscles while he plays. Wearing black pants and a sleeveless, dark tan, V-neck shirt; he walked onto the five square meter stage at 23:15. Large paintings hung on the white brick walls behind him. The crowd sat at tables that surrounded the stage. There was also a balcony with more tables. About 60 people were there for the show.

He played his music with a guitar, FX, his voice and backing tracks. Asked what fans could expect from a show, he said, “If I’m in a good mood, it’s rock and roll, kind of noisy as well, but not so much in a hard-core way. It’s not free aggression. It’s more rock songs.” That’s a perfect description of his sound: rock music with some occasional noise.

The rock music part was good if unoriginal. His latest album, Voodoo Man, has been described as a deranged horror movie soundtrack. Bigot says the album “is like a story. It was inspired by a lot of 50s stuff – voodoo stuff out of New Orleans.” That early rock influence is obvious and cool. Still, he wants to be original.

So he mixed in noise, which he suggested fans “just enjoy.” That was difficult. Noise can be incredible. The feedback from a guitar, or a deadly scream can punctuate a song. But his noise lacked energy. A song is like a river – it may be crazy or gentle, but it should flow together. Electronicat was like a river with someone throwing bricks into it. He forced the noise in rather than letting it flow from the music.

Another problem was that he didn’t seem to be performing so much as working. He was all over pushing peddles and bending down to twist knobs. All alone on the stage, he had to do so much that it was impossible for him to get into much of a rhythm with the crowd.

The show started with two songs that felt empty. It was mostly the guitar and his voice. He sings so that it sounds like he doesn’t care about hitting the right note or following the beat exactly. He probably does care about those things, but he didn’t sound delightfully disinterested. He just sounded uninteresting. As the show went on, the songs filled out some and he played some cool guitar riffs and drum beats. Still, the show never got going. In the end he played for just 50 minutes. There was no encore.

The ultimate judge of a concert is the audience’s reaction. If the crowd is a hootin’ and a hollerin’, there’s no denying that the show is great. On that standard, this show was OK. The crowd applauded loudly and moved around some, but most everyone was sitting at the tables. Lots of people were talking with friends throughout the show. When someone did shout or start bouncing their head to the beat, they often turned to their friends for confirmation. Like, this is cool, yea? Actually – no, not really.

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