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Culture Reviews
Les Hurlements D'Leo
B2 Club 
French Invasion
By Alana Marcu
If you expect the unexpected and see where it may take you, then perhaps you are ready to experience the music of Les Hurlements D'Leo, the French sensations who invaded the stage of Moscow's B2 Club, Tuesday, January 18.

French, though useful in understanding some of their animated speeches and heartfelt words, is not a requirement. These guys are clearly more concerned with the musician's individuality and knowledge of their own instrument, not only to connect with each other on stage but more importantly with the audience who in turn catches this uplifting, self-confident electricity.

All pretenses seem to evaporate when watching Les Hurlements and you suddenly find yourself among a group who hasn't only come to hear mindless punk or "ska gypsy," music, two established definitions of Les Hurlements, you have entered a room where you will see, listen to, and feel a thoughtful, stylistically unique performance of complex highs and lows.

There is no escaping the "Frenchness" of it all which is perhaps the very core of Les Hurlements. Picture it: The trademark accordion plays its nostalgic carnivalesque tunes. The flag of three thick vertical red, white, and blue bands is draped across the black backdrop containing the words "La Republique de France en Russie." The girls upfront do the can can on the dance floor, and the people sitting at the elevated tables sip red wine instead of the usual club cocktails or beer. Luckily, there is always the boisterous shout of "DAVAI!" to remind you that you are still in Moscow.

Characteristically, each song begins with its melodic and slow overture as if the guys are just fine tuning and warming up their instruments for what is about to come. While each member radiates this punk sense of indifference and true spontaneity when the songs finally take off, during this seemingly calm start, there is a very professional, deliberate, and complete awareness over the group as if they are whimsically testing the air not only with the audience but more importantly, with each other. This may be one of their most impressive and expressive qualities which demonstrates the fact that they are no newcomers to the stage.

Once this equilibrium is found, there is no holding back. Most songs explode into a surge which inevitably rips through the room. Not only does each musician take on his own spirit and moves but suddenly the way in which he handles his instrument transforms into something of a special, almost intimate nature. Sometimes nurturing and gentle. Sometimes harsh and violent.

Overall, the performance lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes--nowhere near enough for fans who have just started to break a sweat and want to dance some more. When forced to return for an encore, not only does the band come prepared with shots of vodka and beer, they came with another 45 minutes of pure energy and commotion leaving themselves breathless, and the audience finally exhausted.

Scheduled to tour through Russia until the end of the month, there is no doubt that Les Hurlements d'Leo will go out with a bang when they return to Moscow for their final performance on January 30, at OGI but then again you never know what to expect with this eight piece French punk band and that's the way they like it.

21.01.05
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