Posted in metal | music | pictures on May 2, 2010

words by Kim Kelly, photos by Greg Cristman

Alcest

Though barely a month after their first show EVER in Bucharest, Alcest hit the US for a string of dates that included The Studio at Webster Hall on Thursday, 4/29. Presented by Haunting The Chapel and The Blackened Music series, the show, which featured black metal greats Woe and the post-punk/goth/industrial Have a Nice Life, was the second Alcest outing for Kim Kelly (she also went to the Philly show), who filed the review in this post. Read it below, with Alcest's setlist, more pictures and some videos too... -BBG

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I hadn't originally planned on going to this show, since Alcest, Woe, and local openers Haethan had already done a more than admirable job of kicking ass in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. However, that old saying "you can never have too much of a good thing" reeled me in, and I found myself squeezed into the Chinatown with several dozen other lost souls headed towards the Studio at Webster Hall.

I got into the venue halfway through Have A Nice Life's set, and settled in to soak in the elegant mélange of influences that makes up their multihued sound. The seldom-seen trio band wove fragments of shoegaze, post-punk, industrial, and the sheerest slivers of black metal into something that is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with on recording, but fell a bit flat in a live setting. At times awkward and stiff, at times wildly enthusiastic, Have A Nice Life were a more than logical accompaniment to Alcest's grayscale soundscapes, but should have logged a few more hours in the practice room and on shittier stages before accepting the task of opening for the French maestros.

Philadelphia's nastiest export, recent Candlelight signees Woe, took the stage, and promptly burned the motherfucker down (figuratively speaking, that is; I don't think Webster Hall would've taken too kindly to unprovoked arson, though it would have been pretty black metal of 'em). Furiously intense and positively crackling with energy, the blackened quartet ripped through a handful of favorites off 2008's A Spell for the Death of Man as well as some new material off their forthcoming Candlelight debut, delivering one of their best performances to date. A band to watch, and living proof that American black metal truly is out for blood.

Alcest mastermind Neige had delivered a deeply affecting performance at the Philadelphia stop on this tour, but by the time he and his trio of hired guns made it to Manhattan, the frail Frenchman's voice had given out was forced to sit out tonight's show. Mute and sleepy-eyed amidst the billowing fog and blue lights onstage, Neige concentrated on peeling off riff after gorgeous riff of fairtytale black metal and shoegazing post-rock while guitarist Zero took to the mic - and totally pulled it off. Backed by Gallic black metal royalty Fursy (Amesoeurs, Les Discrets) and Winterhalter (Amesoeurs, Peste Noire, Les Discrets) and shot through with an increased number of instrumental passages, Alcest's set included such delicate favorites as "Les Iris," and "Sourvenirs D'un Autre Monde" as well as several songs from their ethereal latest, Escailles De Lune, and was as dreamy, beautiful, dynamic, and expansive as any fan of the band could hope for. Sore throats and stray cats be damned - this shit was downright magical. One can only hope that the gentle souls of Alcest will slip back to our shores again soon.

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Woe @ The Studio at Webster Hall

Alcest @ The Studio at Webster Hall

Alcest Set List (via)
"Printemps Emeraude"
"Les Iris"
"Solar Song"
"Ecailles De Lune (Part I)"
"Sur L'OcÇan Couleur De Fer"
"Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde"
"Percées De Lumière"

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Comments (10)

Great review of Have A Nice Life. I'm so glad you paid close enough attention to even be able to count how many people are in the goddamn band.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2010 2:36 AM

Spectacular performances that are rarely

Posted by Activekita | May 2, 2010 9:07 AM

Way to be sensitive about a shitty band, Anon. Have a Nice Life gave me secondhand embarrassment - when the lead singer started banging his head into a speaker I just couldn't keep the laughter in anymore.

Woe did a fantastic job. Saw them at Public Assembly (I think opening for Krieg) and this show was even better than that one.

Alcest played a great set, but it was bizarre to see fangirls crying in the crowd. What the hell?

Posted by CL | May 2, 2010 10:55 AM

Chicago setlist:

Printemps Emeraude
Les Iris
Solar Song
Ecailles de Lune - Part 1
Sur L'Ocean Couleur de Fer
Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde
Percees de Lumiere
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Elevation

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2010 4:26 PM

so many pictures.. why?

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2010 6:47 PM

haha fangirls crying in the crowd? WTF! nice review and pics though...

Posted by Anonymous | May 3, 2010 9:36 AM

Because Greg's a great photographer. These photos are awesome! I'm really happy this dude took so many.

Posted by Sam | May 3, 2010 11:08 AM

Have A Nice Life were embarassing for me to watch, but Woe kicked so much ass, they definitely made up for it. And of course, Alcest was so amazing. Excellent show. The candles on stage were a nice touch, too.

Posted by Anonymous | May 3, 2010 2:33 PM

Thank you for the kind words, Sam! It was great to meet you.

Thanks also to 9:36, glad you enjoyed the photos.

greg C

Posted by greg C | May 3, 2010 6:00 PM

Have a Nice Life's Deathconsciousness record kicks ass! Live...needs practice...

Posted by Anonymous | May 3, 2010 9:05 PM

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