Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Heavy Trash unload in France

This post is dedicated to the team at Rock Town Hall.

One of the highlights of the Angouleme Festival de la Bande Dessine were the Concerts des Dessines. Here's a taste of Heavy Trash, led by Jon Spencer, getting down to business.

Jon Spencer speaks not only the worst French you have ever heard, but forgets the name of one of the premier illustrators. But heck, c'est la vie, c'est la pierre.

The dignified guy with the silver hair is Baru, festival president. I have fallen just a bit in love with his work, which depicts working class men and their lives in an un-sentimental way, like the love child of Raymond Briggs and Paul Kelly. I like the way he draws, very tentative, feeling his way through to the character, nothing formulaic. Baru is joined by Chauzy and Flao.

Tour Baru's fantastic exhibition here.

But there is nothing stopping Jon Spencer, and when it all comes together at the end, well, it is indeed a very rock and roll moment. Or as the French say, un pur moment du rock and roll.

This year the festival presented three concerts with drawing. I was lucky enough to see all three. Fatoumata Diawara, the Malian singer and her polished, nimble band appeared with illustrator Clement Oubebrerie, his gentle watercolour and ink pen lines occasionally showing something stronger and darker.

There is more video and Concerts des Dessines at the festival website. Areski Belkacem, sorry - I'm drawing a blank, led a band through a story titled Coup de Foudre (a sudden blow to the heart/falling heavily in love) that involved masked wrestlers, femmes fatales and cross-dressing to audience heavily loaded with school kids. Who loved every biff and clinch. The music was a slithery, rhythmic set that offered endless twists and surprises, a kind of rootsy, moorish funk.

Comics and music: who knew they could be so damned groovy?