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Stereo Total
Art Garbage Experience
By Lisa Cochrane and Neil Smith
Stereo Total’s third Moscow appearance celebrated the fifth anniversary of the club Art Garbage – reviews of recent gigs elsewhere promised an entertaining Friday evening.

French born Fran?oise Cactus, (Van Hove) and Berlin native Brezel G?ring are Stereo Total. Together for almost ten years, the pair has established a strong following, evident in the large number of people filing into the courtyard area of Art Garbage from the early hours of the evening.

The open outdoor area of Art Garbage gives a very comfortable European feel, maybe spoiled somewhat by the very ‘naff’ yellow sun umbrellas. The retro lounge music played live on original vinyl created an enjoyable atmosphere in which to eat and drink in the lead up to the main act.

The crowd eagerly awaited the start of what promised to be a great show, and handfuls of Russian locals, a few arty Ex-pats and a lot of French and German cult followers began jamming into the side room from 10pm.

In contrast to the outdoor area the room itself has a very Russian design. A small, square shaped room made of brown brick; it has a shelf close to the ceiling which boasts a number of clay sculptures, portraying some recognizable people of Russia’s past.

10:45 pm, into a room already clouded with smoke, Brezel G?ring took the stage with an appreciative roar. Clad all in black - PVC pants, leather jacket, short sleeved business shirt and tie, he is in stark contrast to his partner who appears dressed casually in jeans and a flowery shirt.

The set made up of a wide mixture of songs ranging from 70’s disco, to punk, to garage rock, to rockabilly, and in languages including French, German, English and Japanese, is performed with a chemistry that certainly proves why they have been together for almost 10 years.

The pair very casually spoke earlier of their coincidental meeting in Berlin. Already involved with musical projects (Brezel was in a band called the Sigmund Freud Experience, Fran?oise in a garage band called The Lolitas), they wound up living on the same street, where passing hellos turned into regular conversation, and ended with the recording of their first single “Allo j'?coute”, and eventually becoming Stereo Total.

Driven by their desire to travel, and need to connect with audiences in their own language Stereo Total proceeded to develop a wide variety of styles and sing in a number of languages, casting the net very widely indeed.

A crowd favourite from Friday’s performance was definitely Supergirl. Brezel enjoyed winding the crowd up with his soft voice and lively rhythm, while Fran?oise charmed with her own brand of comic satire while playing everything from the tiny drum set to her red heart shaped guitar.

If nothing else Stereo Total gave this crowd an experience with no musical boundaries; short catchy song tunes in more languages then were understood by most (sorry, no Russian… yet!) , and they managed to entertain the packed room with no particular stage effects of any kind. Devoted followers and new Russian fans can look forward to Stereo Total’s new studio album to be released later this year.

05.06.04
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