we love dancing and…

We saw Rachid Taha and Vieux Farka Toure on Friday night, one of the few occasions when something held in the Royal Festival Hall actually felt like a proper gig. Taha’s shtick is somewhere between a Clash-influenced dub/punk mix and North African things like rai (it sez here – I wouldn’t really know to be honest). On the night, there was a hell of a lot of a sort of French 70s big-clattering-soundspace racket that even folk like Daft Punk are tempted by.

For a self-declared punk, he also does a good Mick Jagger act. There was a lot of showboating and wanking about with the audience and jokes in French that made less sense to me than anything Farka Toure said when he wasn’t speaking English…or French. The punk tradition of contempt for stage business obviously didn’t get across.

yes, he really means it

However, he does do a lot of fucking great dramatic funky noise, and eventually the whole hall was dancing, quite an achievement given the venue. Oddly enough, there was a sort of steel helmet faction in the front left hand stalls who took a long, long time to get on their feet; I theorise that the rest of us were the cheap seats.

Of course, we’d miss bombastic frontmen if they weren’t there; someone noted they were in a spotlight and apparently set about recreating the cover of the Wild Beasts’ Two Dancers. (Actually, there’s a prediction I should be declaring victory on.)

hey, you know the Wild Beasts album cover?

Vieux Farka Toure had done a note perfect show earlier on; he got hauled back to take part in “Rock the Casbah”, which got going after the longest daft intro ever and eventually rocked the concrete.




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