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David J And The Gentlemen Thieves At Los Globos, Sunday April 27th 2014

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David J and Olivia Belafontaine

Before he took the stage, David J’s backing band gave us a taste of their own music as a band which goes under the moniker Sky Parade. They became the Gentlemen Thieves later behind the ex-Bauhaus bassist, but first the quartet played a nervous, foot-tapping, pop-rocking set with devastating and layered guitars and pounding drums… Suddenly, I had the Dandy Warhols in mind, and I thought that it was probably because I had just thought about the Brian Jonestown Massacre during the previous set. Seriously, there was this same efficiency at making great hooks with a lot of swagger … but when I googled them once at home – who has the time to do any research before going to a show? – I found out that one of their videos ‘I should be coming up’ was, not surprisingly, produced by Courtney Taylor and was featuring Zia McCabe! Plus frontman Tommy Dietrick was part of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. 
So everything comes around and I felt right at home. They had a song with a more cinematic psychedelic dimension, kind of big-sky-large-horizon-western-y songs, and there again they sounded great, playing familiar territories with urgent rhythms.

It was way past midnight (closer to 1 am actually) when David J joined his Gentlemen Thieves on stage, and despite being tired, I became fascinated by this elegant British man, who is quite the legend,… a founding member of Bauhaus? Please! David J looked like a gentleman among his gentlemen thieves, who was named after actor Peter O’Toole. With his hat – that he didn’t quit much during the show – his short blond hair, his thin glasses and classy costume,… and I almost forget the long grey mousseline scarf, he had the look of an intellectual who took some distance from the goth imagery. Exactly like the songs from his new album due in May, ‘An Eclipse of Ships’ (‘a female-centric’ album which was entirely funded through Kickstarter)… the songs were breezy acoustic ballads that could have been written by a young indie artist.

He certainly had some acting talent, with the elegance and the melodic intonations of another David (Bowie), his gestures on stage were theatrical without exaggeration. He was certainly not Nick Cave or Tom Waits but he had some of their storyteller abilities, often giving some background behind his songs, whatever the song was about a girl watching a black and white French movie, a girl working at the door of a strip club or a girl murdered in London’s King’s Cross (‘Candy on the Cross off his 1992 ‘Urban Urbane’ album). He played a mix of songs of his new album, but also many Love and Rockets’ tunes and probably people were expecting more Bauhaus’ songs? I know that I was, but he only did ‘Who Killed Mr. Moonlight’ and I heard the girl behind me whispering,…’amazing’.

Everything was about the atmosphere with David J and he installed it very fast with just a harmonica and an infectious guitar riff going in circles during the opener ‘Bound for Hell’, a bluesy train-song that gave a fantastic and hellish ride from start to finish. With his acoustic guitar and his dark voice singing ‘You can’t go against nature’ during ‘No New Tale To Tell’, he built a fascinating rocking psychedelia, or took adventurous rhythm changes during ‘Rain Bird’. I was rather uneducated regarding his solo career or even his work as a member of the band Love and Rockets, and I got an enlightening digest in one night.

The train-theme came back at the end of the show with ‘Kundalini Express’, one of the loudest songs of the set which brought exotic dancer Olivia Belafontaine on stage for a semi-nude grand finale. And that was another perfect ending for a man who loves theater and cabaret and has just recorded an album which is described as ‘a journal of the heart and a paean to Woman as muse ‘on his Kickstarter page. David J has managed to use Bauhaus’ heavy dark shadow at his advantage, he certainly shined during this last song when he put his guitar down to play bass (he was of course Bauhaus’ bassist) but the rest of the show was very diverse and surprisingly upbeat for the man who wrote ‘Bela Lugosi is dead’.

Setlist

Bound for Hell (Love and Rockets song)
Shelf
Dust in the Wind
Hot sheet Hotel
Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh
You Suit a Rainy Day
Rainy Bird (Love and Rockets song)
Who Killed Mr. Moonlight (Bauhaus)
Candy on the Cross
Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
The You of Yesteryear
Dog End of a Day Gone by (Love and Rockets song)
No New Tale to Tell (Love and Rockets song)
Waiting for the Flood (Love and Rockets song)
Haunted When the Minutes Drag (Love and Rockets song)
Kundalini Express (Love and Rockets song)
not performed:
Holiday on the Moon (Love and Rockets song)
Yin and Yang (Love and Rockets song)

Pictures of the show here.



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