With their 3rd album of covers, 3 -- or “trois” as chanteuse Melanie Pain put it -- out this month in Europe and September in America, Nouvelle Vague played one of the first dates on their current tour at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza last night.
While Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux may be the masterminds behind the group's punk and post-punk interpretations, singers Nadeah and the aforementioned Melanie Pain were the stars of the live show. Nadeah in particular, was ever-charismatic, glamourously voguing in a sea of filtered violet and deep blue lighting. Apart from being a photo opportunity, the sober first half mainly showcased cuts from the new album, punctuated by the opening track, “Master & Servant,” and the Violent Femmes' crowd pleaser, "Blister In The Sun."
After a couple anti-American numbers, Nadeah took it up a notch by scaling the balcony railing mid-song, side-stepping her way across and back before a security drone pulled her over the side by the wrists. In turn, the energy of the set climbed with hits from Bande A Part and their self-titled debut: including Joy Division's “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Public Image Ltd's “This Is Not A Love Song,” “Too Drunk To Fuck” and an especially fabulous version of “Friday Night Saturday Morning,” which gradually sped up in tempo and worked the audience into a frenzy. At the end, fan-girls and their dates stomped the floor and screamed for more; Nouvelle Vague obliged with two encores, finally closing with “Bela Lugosis's Dead” and The Cramps' “Human Fly.”
Despite a lackluster new album, Nadeah and Co can still headbang and thrash their way through a show, albeit in the most graceful and fetching way imaginable.