The elegant shimmy of the Gauloise-smoking new-wave tiptoes into town thanks to the hushed, breathy tones of French band Nouvelle Vague. This time around, however, the loosely-membered group helmed by Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux promises a truly different live show.
The band’s eponymous debut in 2004 immediately put the band in the spotlight. Across its 13 tracks, ‘80s classics like Joy Division’s wrenching ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and The Clash’s rabble-rousing ‘Guns of Brixton’ were put through an easy-listening filter, coming out with their edges blunted, smelling faintly of Chanel No. 5 but with a whole new audience ready to gobble them up.
Since then, Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch and Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore added credibility to the concept in collaborating on their well-received third album, 3. Still very much a covers set, their presence, along with Terry Hall and Barry Adamson, went some way to quashing accusations of cynically re-spraying a crucial period in music history for the dinner party set.
As the US and UK’s new-wave well threatened to run dry, however, it was a creative boost from their native France that inspired Nouvelle Vague to explore the true meaning of their name. In collaboration with designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Dawn of Innocence is a conceptual musical, mixing Nouvelle Vague’s music with Castelbajac’s set and costumes. Blondie and XTC may still be present - if not necessarily correct - but with a Brazilian singer Karina Zeviani now among their number and some pretty wild outfits, the city’s francophile fans will have much more to ponder at Circo Voador than first meets the eye.