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France’s electro-rock We Are Enfant Terrible got me out of the office on a summery Thursday afternoon when all I really wanted to do was take a nap.  After becoming addicted to a few songs on their Myspace page, I knew I’d kick myself if I missed seeing them live, so instead of sleep, I downed an espresso and ran to The Delancey to catch their 6:15 set.

At this early hour, the room was predictably on the empty side, with a few French friends of the band and college radio kids crashed out on the couches, but as soon as the Enfant stormed into their hit “Snap Dragon”, the room filled.

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We Are Enfant Terrible look as good as they sound.  (It’s sweet that the first show they played was opening for Peaches in 2008).  Fronted by the cool, statuesque Clo Floret, along with multi-faceted guitarist/keyboardist Thomas Fourny and precision drummer Cyril Debarge, who has ants in his pants and enough facial tics and absurd antics to make his own French farce, it’s almost impossible to look away for a second of their set.

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From the brash “Lobster Quadrille”, a standout from their EP Thanks for the Fish, to set closer, “Anything Less than Extraordinary is a Waste of My Time”, this band had the crowd collectively wowed.–Madeline Virbasius-Walsh/WAET photos by Tear-n Tan

Later in the evening, the party-worthy act from Boston, Yes Giantess, who recently toured with Little Boots, blend pop culture remixes, high synths and honky tonk hooks that sound stolen my first and third Casio, all followed by a bass-heavy build and atmospheric sundae. Think bubble tea with curry.

Though they had massive technical problems, Giantess persevered.  Fans in the packed basement were patient, but since the set was a series of pauses and false starts with a few high notes keeping it together, it seemed people were avoiding clapping as a sign of emotion.

Wanna know how your set is? Check the comments and the twitters.

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Over at Arlene’s Grocery, Toronto’s Let’s go to War were a surprise hit of my CMJ. I basically got laid while this duo of producers laid on their crunchy beats and smart lyrics.

They were a part of the Canadian Blast showcase, so their bacon compatriots dutifully formed a horseshoe around the center stage in this venue not usually known for the choosiness of its acts. At first, this looked dismal: a guy with a mic and his cohort on the decks, the type of show one expects at Club 205, one rambling MC one after the other making me drink too many cognacs to pass the time.

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Yet Let’s go to War played with the intensity of five Justice sets combined, with an overt wit calling out MIA, “Hey MIA, when are you going to come to my country and save the poor?”, as well as a few all too accurate bon mots about modern cocaine culture.

“The Whole City’s Got a Cold” is a perfect anti-coke (or pro?) anthem: “I’ve got this little girlfriend/she’s European she doesn’t leave her house without Colombian powder…/ sniff this city.”

How much does it cost to be addicted to performance? It’s terrifying, in theory, to take party sounds like set closer “Burning Down the Disco”, that undoubtedly pack warehouses in Toronto, (events where you dance like a dervish for six hours), and transplant your act to a vibeless room in front of a barely-moving crowd.  However, MC Peter John does this affably, even when there’s barely a response to his sing-a-long.

You were waiting for my approval? They’re the second greatest thing I’ve heard this year at CMJ, and the bastards are photogenic too.  I managed to take three great shots with a camera that should be recycled for sausages.

To put it plainly, Let’s go to War sound as if Kanye West, MIA, Ed Banger and Peaches stopped the posturing and made music again.–Zabatay

 
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