Caravan Palace


While waiting in line for a drink, I overhear several conversations about the dramatic turn that Caravan Palace have made with their most recent album Chronologic. These conversations were not ecstatic at the departure from the electro swing of old. I have to say, I share their apprehension as to whether the show will live up to the wild and wonderful live video recordings from previous years. Chronologic is more pop or summer house than past albums, but I’m not here to review the album so I find a seat on the balcony and wait for the show to begin.

The Albert Hall is the perfectly decadent setting for Caravan Palace. From the get go, their energy is infectious. Any concern that they may not have maintained the whimsical delight of earlier shows is instantly forgotten. They are more than just a music show, they are a full cabaret of light, sound and movement. They have the playful stage presence of bands like Hot Chip. With all band members dancing around the stage and manoeuvring to various instruments, you could be forgiven for thinking you are watching these incredible musicians just jamming. Yet their set is so tight and polished, even down to the rehearsed dance numbers from delightful lead singer Zoe Colotis. They are one of the rare bands with choreographed dance pieces that don’t have to be a guilty pleasure.

Drawing from albums old and new, they manage to fill the set with every hit. With very few breaks, the party doesn’t stop. New songs ‘Miracle’, ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Plume’ win the previously apprehensive crowd over with ease and sound incredible. They merge wonderfully with the older tracks littered through the night. These recent tracks sound like they have been picked straight from a beach party playlist, and everyone from front of stage to the upper floors are up and dancing.

Martin Berlugue and Lucas Saint-Cricq prove to be stars of the show. Playing trombone, saxophone and clarinet, they make their way to centre stage at least once a song. This tried and tested mechanic never gets old and gets a loud cheer every time it occurs. They are fantastic and even the other members of the band watch on as they do their swing thing, especially during the unanimous crowd favourite ‘Lone Digger’.

Caravan Palace have destroyed any apprehensions as to their new ventures, proving no matter where they take their sound, they still deliver a scintillating performance. Any mutterings about the direction of the latest album are diminished and exchanged for exclamations of “best night of my life”. No matter how many lines are written here, you can’t get a better or more accurate review than those five short words.

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