One wouldn’t think that a band who politely merci beaucoup their way through a set could ignite a crowd fight and attempt acrobatics in a staid venue such as Irving Plaza.  But, then again, this isn’t just any normal band in just any city.

nouvellev4Touted as a “French cover band”, Nouvelle Vague has managed to make a career covering New Wave/post punk and punk classics by doing it successfully (and not in a Paul Anka way). Maybe it has something to do with being French (led by musicians/producers Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux) and employing a cast of sultry sirens to provide the pipes.  Tonight’s gig featured two of the eight chanteuses, Melanie Pain and Nadeah, in the ever-changing lineup who clearly added the vigor and sex appeal that rounds out this ever-changing cast of players.

Enticing us with a few previews to their upcoming third release, N3, it’s clear there’s a lean towards Americana country and bluegrass, rather than the usual hip-shaking 60′s bossa nova influence from their past two efforts. “Road To Nowhere” opened the night and was a slinky, jaunty departure from The Talking Heads’ original.  Depeche Mode’s “Master and Servant” took a turn down South with its easygoing jangle, while “God Save the Queen” was a shadow of its angst-fueled self.

nouvellev2The night took a turn for the worse, (yet was arguably a memorable bit), when their rendition of Wunderbach’s “Oublions L’Amerique” (a song about hating America!) coincided with an unfortunate scuffle in the crowd (amongst some patriots perhaps?).  The brilliant cover of The Dead Kennedy’s “Too Drunk To Fuck” sent Nadeah into a frenzy, climbing up amps and scaling the balcony, which was proof enough that there’s more to these kooky French girls than just good vocals.  Shimmying their way through the evening, it was refreshing to have the band back in town, and nouvellev3all can look forward to their return, hopefully this autumn when the album drops.–Andrea D’Alessandro