Show Review by Ava Hervier
Last Tuesday at Point Ephemere, Paris, the British/American duo BIG DEAL honored their Parisian audience with a delicate folk electric and elegant pop-noise concert.
The sky is vacillating between electric blue and dark grey tonight above Canal Saint Martin, and the sun spreads his last golden rays before heading west. Braving the never-ending Winter (it is only technically Spring), a little more than 150 people are here for a Californian Night in gloomy Paris, put on by La Route du Rock. It’s 9:30 pm. Informed at the last moment, I’m right on time to see BIG DEAL’s gig. Touring to support their new album – titled June Gloom after the weather pattern at the end of spring in Southern California- it seems like the British/American duo BIG DEAL ordered the appropriate atmospheric conditions to accompany their Parisian performance.
Point Ephemere is a cool Parisian venue. This place was an old supply store building. Ten years ago it was remodeled into a multicultural art center with a 300-person capacity concert hall. Perched on the edge of the Canal Saint Martin, it is well known in the city for welcoming year-round a great number of rock and electronic international bands. Sharing the line-up with SPECTRAL PARK and THE BABIES, Alice Costelloe and her bandmate, Kacey Underwood gave a delicate and elegant pop-noise concert to their French audience.
I slipped into the hall and before the gig starts, get the chance to steal a few minutes of beautiful Alice finishing to set up her guitar, alone and blond on the vacant foggy stage. Then the music starts. “Bonjour”… “bonsoir” “bonne nuit” “bonjour”…. whisper Kacey and Alice into their mics. Heads swing around while the band meticulously moves from one song to another. The audience is serene and attentive. Aged 20 to 35, there’s more boys than girls, and it’s a mix of rock addicts, band fans and hipsters, happy and receptive to BIG DEAL’s sound.
Supported by a bassist and a young female drummer (it’s too rare not to point that out), the duo plays a fifty-minute set of electric ballads with no encore. Grungier than the last album, the sound of June Gloom is somewhere between gracious folk and an aggressive rock. Alice and Kacey voices melt. Their two guitars, followed by the drums and the bass, run fast alongside each other, like two determined horses. Trusting each other, they shyly but surely take us by the hand to follow their journey through sounds and motions. The set is melancholic, soft and cold, like a delicate but rough romance. Like rose petals dropped on the pavement. The duo glances touches of lightness, and we recognize this mix of juvenile insouciance and gravity that already characterized their two released albums.
A young woman on my right shyly hums the old album song Talk lyrics “all I wanna do is talk/ seeing you fucks me up/ I dont wanna hear about her.” All songs are about love, life, introspective questions: “If you play with me you play with fire you play with fire”, whisper the two singers, like a couple. Alice’s aerial voice brings us high up in the air while Kacey, letting himself go, breaks with the static position of everyone who seems to want it more physical, carnal. BIG DEAL’s rendition of Teradactol deserves a special mention, which is distinguished from the rest of the set by its broken structure.
Warmed up, I go back home and end up dreaming I’m a big hairy animal driven blindfolded through California by two musicians on a gloomy June day. In their car.