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CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS @ Chevron Gardens gets 9/10


Christine And The Queens @ Chevron Gardens
w/ OKENYO
Sunday, March 3, 2019

9/10

Closing night at the Chevron Gardens in the heart of Perth City was a balmy one and it all started rather promptly at 8pm. On support was OKENYO who provided a refreshing mix of neo soul, multi-layered percussion and electronic beats mixed with succinct rap lines. It’s too hard to really box in her sound but it was Noname/ Sampa the Great-esque with more emphasis on her drum pads and attitude. She and her drummer took to the stage and on hit song Woman’s World created a strong groove to the line “I’m a very busy woman with a lot on my plate,” and it was apparent early this night was going to be one about the LAY-DIES!

Okenyo

With a perfect turnover the little amphitheatre came alive with tense anticipation before a dance troupe took their place on stage with some animated chatting before Christine and the Queens’ frontwoman and namesake Chris (aka France’s Héloïse Letissier) skipped on stage and shooed them off. She is so CUTE and petite but her presence and strength was almost tangible as she slid across the stage for her opening track Comme Si. That synth pop and her vocal strength combined with these synchronised dance moves just take it to another level. You could feel the happiness rise in the crowd as they screamed out adoringly.

To add to the quality lets talk about DIVERSITY – fuck the normal white representation, there was androgyny and unconventional beauty and mixes of race and the very present idea of sexual fluidity. Non-conforming and challenging should be the definition of contemporary and alt pop as women in this space continue to push boundaries, discussing bisexuality, prevalent misogyny, sexism etc. It almost seems laughable when a song harps on about breaking up with their girlfriend and having to ‘put the phone away’.

Christine and The Queens

In her little accent she did some linguistic gymnastics along the lines of “this is my first time in Australia and you are all so warm, I mean we are warm, it is warm and I guess sweat is really about desire, but no, you are very warm and welcoming and I am so grateful for all of you coming out here today,” before launching into her third French song Paradis Perdus – the mash up with the stunning heartless hook.

Considering the French are very proud of their own language and almost indignantly refuse to take on English, Chris very eloquently implied that this safe space was one in which to reinvent yourself and until law recognises it, to declare a state of Science Fiction. My favourite bop of them all was complete with infinite body rolls and beautiful choreography.

Christine and The Queens

With a nice little bit of insider information about her work, Chris described how her debut album Chaleur humaine was quite pastel and lonely whereas Chris is very strong and defiant. She told us how she used to worry about not fitting in and then one day just stopped caring and now she “has more time to read books and watch TV” and just like everyone else she’s just accepted that she’s a little bit Titled. Her sexual charm continued through What Must a Woman Do with a duet dance performance ending in smoke pouring from the guy’s jacket in some pretty impressive effects.

Her encore ensued after a raucous round of applause and stamping of feet with her singing from atop the stairs within the audience for Saint Claude that ensured we all got a bang for our buck. She was simply incredible – would be hard to top this one the next time she returns.

MIA CAMPBELL-FOULKES

Photos by Jessica Wyld

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