See photos of the Brooklyn soul-pop singer's ambitious and intense London show.
Text: Robert Darnell
Photography: Dmitry Serostanov
“Man, you guys are so serious”, Autre Ne Veut observed of the crowd after blitzing through another track at Birthdays last night, perhaps feeling his emotional outpourings weren’t, as yet, being reciprocated by the Dalston crowd. With his face continuously tightened in tension, pain and pleasure intermingling with exhaustive pace – and legs occasionally nearly buckling under the weight of it all – it has to be said, the Brooklyn man’s live show feels like one worth taking seriously. The tumbling shuffle of Warning is like a caged animal let loose; at its end Autre Ne Vuet melts toward the ground, regrouping through momentary respite. It can’t be all that common for a venue like Dalston’s Birthdays to have a “pin drop” moment, but that’s what comes for the stripped-bare keyboard and voice intro on World War.
That mid-set wish for un-seriousness was eventually granted, though, because by the time _Counting_’s wails blare out, you could sense a tangible moment of release across the basement space. As heads bopped and hips shifted from side to side, he rap-sang delightfully through Mykki Blanco’s section from the remix, and for just a moment you feel like the ambitiousness on display could easily pack out a space 10 times this size. Then, after thanking the crowd, with eyes firmly back toward the ground, Autre Ne Veut and his two-piece band made for a brisk exit, leaving us to breathe it all out.
Click on the photos below to launch the gallery.