10 February 2011

Yann Tiersen: A True Virtuoso

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I love fancy dinners. I don’t even need to eat with anyone, I will literally cook myself a meal, turn off the lights and light a candle pretty much a few days a week. The best part is, and what made Yann Tierson so special, is that after the food is cooked I queue up the soundtracks to “Good-bye Lenin” and “Amelie” and proceed to enjoy myself just a bit too much.
            With the release of his newest album “Dust Lane,” Tiersen embarked on his tour of these great United States. This last Saturday, with a very small turnout due to the unfamiliarity with the artist here in the U.S. (and a high ticket price couldn’t have helped), Yann Tiersen played New Orleans nightclub and venue Republic. It’s a shame not too many people knew who he was though, because this certainly proved to be a very special evening.
            S. Carey, supporting vocalist and drummer for Bon Iver opened the show. Though he played a very ambient, cooled set, the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. And just as I was beginning to zone out S. Carey's band mate stands and plays an epic floor tom and keys combo that brought the energy back up quickly. While it held my attention temporarily, after twenty-five minutes I got bored and anxious for Tiersen to start.

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            Tiersen opened his set with a slow mandolin intro that he looped twice before the rest of the band came in with guitar, bass, drums, and keys. Eventually the phrase “Dust Lane,” the name of his newest album, echoed through the speakers and the set truly started. Tiersen played a mix of music new and old. I had hoped to hear mostly his music that makes me feel like I’m driving through the European countryside—his soundtracks, that is, which is mostly solo stuff—but his band joined him for nearly all the songs. In his fourth song “Kala” I got that feel as soon as two members of the band picked up melodicas that, if you go by the crowd’s reaction, was the best of the night. As he moved into “Amy” the sounds of his newest album began to emerge and the show took an interesting turn. I began to feel like I was watching—wait for it—Radiohead. Five of the six members harmonized vocally, and then abruptly paused to allow the keyboardist a chance to show off his Thom Yorke impression.

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            Tiersen switched instruments with ease. At one point he played a violin solo so beautiful no one dared to speak. Well, expect for this one guy in the back who clearly thought he was at a club night and started screaming calling a girl a bitch after she didn’t agree that the music was “gay.” For those of us in the back, it was a strange, but funny, addition to the solo. Tiersen finished his set strongly with his hit “Fuck Me” off the newest album, which included him playing a twelve-string guitar. Tiersen ended the show with a three-song encore concluding with the track “Amelie.” I left The Republic glowing.
           Republic has definitely gone through some sort of mid-life crisis, and I like it. The venue has become home to many great shows.  A short list includes Designer Drugs, Glasgow, MEN, Cut Copy with Holy Ghost, Menomena, and Class Actress as well as others. Be sure to check out their site at http://www.republicnola.com/ and get your tickets to all these great shows soon.

Article by Aaron Saltzman
Photos by Joshua Brasted
For more pictures from the show,
check out Joshua's Flickr.

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