Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Drums at La Fenetre jazz venue in Paris

La Fenetre is a great addition to the jazz venues in Paris. It's a little black box set in a wonderful old industrial courtyard. But, in contrast to many other black box theatres, they've spent time and energy on converting it acoustically so the music actually sound good (and not like you're simply sitting inside a large shoebox with a band at one end). It's a bit off the beaten path east of Bastille, but it's worth the wander. And a walk up Rue du Charonne with its trendy cafes and clothing stores and design emporiums is never a bad thing for window shopping and people watching.

I saw the Drum Trio Pacatom. There was enough percussion instruments on stage to provide the rhythm section for five bands! Perhaps with La Fenetre's placement in an industrial building they are presenting the kind of noisy bands that a lot of other venues are having to restrict. However this night didn't really seem to fly: perhaps the trio just had too many instruments on stage. They pulled off a fun set and I liked their intentions, but they seemed almost lost in their instruments, and the trio really only got going when they settled into a fairly standard rock/funk groove and let fly. In the quieter passages they didn't seem to be exploring the range of sounds that all those instruments could produce and I found myself rather bored. Once, at a drum festival, I had the pleasure of watching an ancient Indian drummer captivate a hall of 3000 people for almost 20 minutes with nothing more than a tambourine. I remember finding myself on the edge of my seat listening to him play. Perhaps sometimes it is best to keep things to a minimum.

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