Grrr . . . Blogger is being a massive pain and isn't letting me switch over to the new Blogger, which is giving me problems in posting from Flickr. If anyone knows how to help, please let me know! In the meantime, you can just click over to my Malajube pics here.
MALAJUBE w/ ALEKS AND THE DRUMMER, 2/23/07 @ Beat Kitchen
Even though I only got their new album the day of the show, I was intrigued to see the much buzzed-about French Canadian indie-rocker Malajube as they passed through Chicago last night. I feel like it's rare to have a foreign band make an album entirely in their first language and have it take so quickly in the US (the only other one that comes to mind right now is Dungen).
Amusingly, in the past week upon telling people we were going to see Malajube, fellow radiofreechicago writer Kirstiecat and I were told by two different sources that the band was supposed to be extremely attractive. I don't know what we were expecting, but I think our expectations were probably too high as they turned out to be your typical scraggly hipster kids (maybe the rigors of touring have taken their toll?). You can judge for yourself in the accompanying photos.
The band kicked off their short set with their most notable song, "Monogamie," probably the most light-hearted song off of <>Trompe L'Oiel. Though most of the tracks on the album are rather dense to begin with, live they proved to be even heavier than on record; they spent their fair share of stage time jamming out with some serious guitar riffs. In between songs singer Julien Mineau would charm us with his cute french-canadian accent and say self-deprecating things about the French (even though I don't know if French-Canadians fall under the "arrogant French" tag), and the set overall was fun and energetic. My only complaint was that the sound was not ideal; though I realize we can't understand anything anyway since the lyrics are in french, it was really hard to hear the vocals over all the fuzz. Maybe it was my fault for standing too close to the monitors. I'd be interested to try to see them again when 1) I've spent more time with the album, and 2) there's better sound (or I just stand farther from the stage perhaps).
Meanwhile Aleks and the Drummer opened with a unique set reminiscent of Pit Er Pat with their jagged keyboard sounds. A couple songs were sung in what I believe was Polish, and Aleks had a great stage presence, even though she was wearing what appeared to be a lampshade for a shirt. Still, that couldn't take away from how pretty the singer is, or how photogenic. Having never even heard of this band before tonight, I came away pretty impressed.
Finally, apologies for the sub-par photos, but this was by far some of the worst lighting I've had to deal with in a while. The best pictures were used with flash, and I otherwise tried to catch the flashes going off from other cameras, to little avail.