I showed up to Nouvelle Vague‘s Irving Plaza show from Brooklyn with uncertain expectations and without my tickets. Luckily, they weren’t going on for another hour-and-a-half so I had just enough time to sneak back and forth. What I entered to was an interesting mix of young American hipsters and Europeans, mostly French. The band was a song or two into the show when I arrived and energy was already palpable. It was clearly a crowd that loved the band and with fewer than six dates scheduled in the States both audience and band were determined to make the most of it.
What surprised me the most, right off the bat was how tight the band was. When I think Bossa Nova covers of New Wave songs, I don’t think virtuosic guitar playing or such tightness from the drums or bass. Songs included “(This is Not) A Love Song,” a very well-received “Too Drunk to Fuck,” a particularly exciting “Blister in the Sun,” and “Human Fly” somewhere near the end of the night.
What really set the show apart from most others I’ve seen was just the sheer sexuality emoted by Nadeah Miranda, one of the two lead vocalists on stage. Her singing was sexy. Her movements were sexy. And the entire audience responded, as though caught up in collective wanting. This performance was brought to another level by some of the greatest recklessness I’ve seen by a performer since I saw Monotonix completely violate the performer/audience division at the Bowery Ballroom. At one point during the show, Nadeah climbed up the ziggurat of speakers on stage right and started climbing along the exterior balcony ring above the audience. The crowd was wild for it. Security raced upstairs and pulled her over the railing onto the balcony. A minute later she returned to the stage and in a most coquettish voice asked “Can you believe they tried to kick me out?”
They did not and the show kept on. The band left to an enthusiastic applause and unsurprisingly came back for an encore. What was odd though was that after this first encore about half of the audience bolted for the exits before the house lights came on. I recently heard a quote somewhere to the effect that New York audiences are almost as impatient to leave entertainment as they are to get to it. It was too bad in this case. The band came back on for a second encore. I got to be in the second row and one lucky gentleman to my right had Nadneah come off stage and practically seduce him.
Many more photos of superior quality are available at Brooklyn Vegan.