Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

Get Out More...............................Gig Review

YANN TIERSEN (last night, Glee Club, Birmingham)


“We are five,” declares the French virtuoso as he strides onto the stage with his band-mates. He might be trying to help the hard of counting, but more likely Tiersen’s emphasising that this is a gang ROCK thang, light years away from the cutesy melodies of his best known work - the soundtrack to Amelie.

True, at one point in a 90 minute minute set, he dusts down the old piano accordion and acts the Parisian boulevardier, but mostly this is ravishing “head” music, accommodating punky speedfreaks and blissed out old hippies, usually within the course of the same song.

My money says that Tiersen’s got Pink Floyd’s “Meddle” in his record collection, and a bit of Hawkwind too, but he’s not afraid to three-chord thrash when the needs arises.

Flitting between violin and rhythm guitar, the main man has the studious, if slightly befuddled air of a geography teacher who’s suddenly found himself on stage; he loses himself in his work becoming a model in concentrated violence as he fists away at the strings.

He’s chosen his compadres well; the guitarist moves from fluid, ambient shapes to the extremes of string torture, getting his axe to yelp like a sackful of squealing pigs, sometimes with the aid of a Black and Decker (no doubt borrowed the last time he popped around Thurston Moore’s house to help out with the shelving).

Blimey, even the bassistseems like a musician - although he barely acts like one, swigging from a mug of tea (tea!) between songs -while high up in the mix, there’s the sound of the Ondes Martenot, a keyboard which delivers a theramin-style “whoooooo-oooh” to the proceedings; any moment now, The Daleks could arrive. Ron Grainer and The Radiophonic Workshop would have been proud.

Mostly these lush but temperamental tunes are instrumentals, though as the occasional vocals are mostly in French, it’s all a wash of sound to Anglo ears in any case.

If there is a criticism, it’s that there’s kind of inevitability about the dynamic.

Like Nirvana every noodling, wibbling quiet exists so that a ferocious LOUD can follow.

For all that, this was a rare night of musical exploration lapped up by another capacity Glee Club crowd.

Fancy writing us a review? Who knows, we may be able to get you in for nothing. Contact For more details of gigs at the Glee Club go to You can also check out Martin Longley’s review of another Yann Tiersen gig here and leave a comment on our message board.

The Stirrer Forum

The Stirrer home

valid xhtml

©2006 - 2009 The Stirrer