".and I said, maybe I could write the review in the style of Herman Dune? / Then my friend said to me- 'Nick, that would be a bit pretentious" /
So I said, Okay I will not."
Having embraced stereo on their current album "Giant", French anti-folk outfit Herman Dune were in turn embraced by KCLSU on Wednesday night. The last time they were in London they played the intimate Spitz - memorably manning their own merchandise stall - but now their biggest concern was filling a bigger venue, rather than working out the change from a twenty.
A roaming collective (founding member Andre no longer tours), as a live set the band are joined by support act Turner Cody who plays a propulsive bass, while Angela from The Babyskins provides sugary backing vocals. Beginning with just singer David-Ivar and multi-percussionist Neman (who plays the tambourine off his chest), they commanded the audience's attention from the get go with a minimal take on 'My Baby Is Afraid of Sharks'. Players tag in and out like an indie wrestling match, but the effects are far less predictable, from the bogle-worthy 'Baby Bigger' to the Steptoe and Son trot of 'You Don't Know Where I've Been'. At a time when reviews are obsessed with bands being 'tight', their messy approach was rather refreshing.
The best received songs were for the two most upbeat songs- current single 'I Wish That I Could See You Soon', but also 2005s 'Not On Top' which suggests a good mix of new and older fans. Note to audiences everywhere- if you can't clap in time, don't. It's that simple. After these exertions, 'Song of Samuel' featuring David-Ivar alone with just his electric ukelele, was a touching and frequently comic tale of a master, his daughter and a Jewish violin teacher. The world of Herman Dune is uncomplicated, where a plea from a girl to 'please sing something ace' can make 'a safe place', and you biggest fear is that when you are away she will 'find a new boy to spoon', but 'Song of Samuel' touches on something more permanent- the redeeming powers of music. So go and get some Herman Dune; it will make you feel better.
Words by Nick Dunmore, photos by Kate Turgoose.