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Culture Reviews
La Fresto
Sixteen Tons 
By Fred Raphael
La Fresto is one of the hardest working performers you will ever see. While the name brings to mind expectations of a Latin band, La Fresto, is in fact just one wild French guy. His real name is Laurent Lusseau and he does it all. The keyboard, microphone and laptop are all at his disposal when he goes to work making some of the most diverse electronic music around. And work he did, last Thursday night at one Moscow’s best venues, 16 Tons.

Appearing in Moscow as part of the French Alterative Spring festival, which aims to showcase lesser-known French acts; La Fresto brings a style not commonly found in this city. While he may be little know around here, La Fresto has received a good deal praise in France especially for his earlier album “Are you doing better”. Since Russians have gone crazy for all things French since back in Napoleon’s time. It’s not surprising that La Fresto would get a warm welcome here. Having recently completed a new album, La Fresto headed to Moscow looking to make a big impression.

Crouched behind his computer with wild hair and surrounded by smoke La Fresto resembles some sort of mad scientist. As his complex and unusually layered beats start to flow from the computer La Fresto starts moving around the stage like someone was shooting at his feet, jumping, spinning and getting everyone out of their seats. Next he grabs the mic and adds lyrics, which like his music, range from light and ironic to somber and heartfelt. Finally he moves to the keyboard, which he treats like someone who insulted his mom. Musicians’ abusing their instruments is nothing new but that sort of rough treatment is usually reserved for the guitar. Never have I seen a keyboard beaten like this. First he attacked with his hands and fists slapping it around. After that he kicked the defenseless object to floor and gave it a few stomps, which proved to be fatal. Toward the end of the show he announced that the keyboard was no longer functioning, I wonder why.

After a slow start Le Fresto really got the crowd into it with his amusing song “Look I’m Dancing”. He explained in his very polite English that he had thought of the song when he hurt his ankle while dancing recently. Showing no ill effects from the injuries, La Fresto laid down a thumping beat, took the mic and went into the crowd. He danced and if you were near him and not dancing, you were in trouble because La Fresto grabbed a few wall huggers and forcibly started them dancing. Pretty soon his help was unnecessary as the dance floor got filled. Later on, he slowed things down and even took on a very serious tone when explaining that his last song of the evening would be about his brother who died two years ago in an accident.

La Fresto style is changing and difficult to pin down and his electronic music is certainly well off the main streem, which made for an interesting show. La Fresto is defiantly not for everyone and some left the show shaking their heads. Yet most were thankful for all the work La Fresto put in to help them shake another part of their body.

09.05.04
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