Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dust Lane

When Yann Tiersen played a show at Club Soda in Montreal a couple years ago, I couldn't miss it.

Other than Tiersen himself, someone I remember well from that show was the woman next to us. She was clearly unhappy with what she was hearing. Her eye-rolling and body language of displeasure was so expansive it seemed she was trying to make even the band notice her, that she hated what they were doing. Why someone would pay for a ticket only to mock and jeer at the performer would normally have been hard to understand, but not in this case.

The first thing I noticed at that show was the absence of an accordion, making one suspect he wasn't going to perform songs from Amelie. The second was the electric guitar Tiersen played through most of the show. Anyone expecting gentle accordion and piano instrumental pieces, and that included us, was in for a surprise. Tiersen has many fans who normally listen to classical music exclusively, but what we saw could only have been described as an indie rock show. A superb and innovative indie rock show. I happen to be an indie rock fan, and clearly the woman next to us wasn't, but her attitude couldn't have been farther from ours at that show.

After the show I went looking for a recorded version of what we heard, but couldn't find one. I had started to think the tour was a one-off thing without an album to accompany it, until I finally got a copy of the 2010 album Dust Lane. The album has more old Tiersen-esque sounds - accordion, strings - than I remember from the show, but the distorted guitar and full drum kit are conspicuously present. Some songs, such as "Till the End," have an anthemic, "Godspeed" quality. Some are more indie-pop, like the Stars or Death Cab. Mostly it's something only Yann Tiersen would write, even if it's decidedly not Amelie.

Yann Tiersen has been among my favorite song writers for some time, and what I love most about him is his eclecticism and experimentation. Dust Lane is no exception. My concert-going neighbor probably wouldn't like the album any more than the show, but she's clearly a fool. 

1 comment:

  1. That was one of the best shows of the year, hands down.