Brass and Beats
Story by Logan Corsaut, Live Music Reporter
Photos by Andrew Mather, Editor-in-Chief/Photographer
Caravan Palace is a group that doesn’t let any drop of style go to waste. Between the fast-paced, sometimes-staccato vocals of Zoé Colotis, the sweeping brass, or the unrelenting beats, this 7-piece French electro swing collective wears their influences on their sleeve and brings everything they have to the table. Across three studio records—most recently, 2015’s <|°_°|>, or “Robot Face” they have successfully concocted a crisp mix of jazz, scat, new wave, swing, electro, house, and a few other genres (on a song-by-song basis).
So when they rolled their exquisitely unique style into Kansas City, it was sure to go over well. To a fairly conservatively-sized—but rather raucous—crowd at the Midland Theater, Caravan Palace heated it up, beginning with the airy-but-pounding “Comics,” from <|°_°|>, and meandered through a selection of the album’s other heavy hitters, including favorite “Lone Digger.”
After a brief interlude during which vocalist Colotis remarked that the historic venue made her “feel like a princess,” the group delved deep into their sophomore effort, Panic, opening with droney, bassy “Clash,” continuing on through the punchy title track, and the more lounge-reminiscent and lower-tempo “Je M’amuse” and “12 Juin 3049.” After the fiddle-driven breakout track “Jolie Coquine,” and a selection from <|°_°|>, the show closed out with the Daft-Punk-reminiscent “Star Scat,” and finally, the driving beat and buildup of “Brotherswing,” both from the self-titled debut album.
Their blend of classic, punctuated and augmented by modern, works effortlessly and it all sounds so natural. Their live show was punchy and energetic to match, including big presence and interaction, especially between vocalist Colotis and violinist Hugues Payen. With an eclectic sound matching the uniqueness of the Midland, and a dedicated, dance-friendly crowd, the swingin’ French septet certainly made an impression.
Caravan Palace is Zoé Colotis, Arnaud Vial, Hugues Payen, Camille Chapelière, Charles Delaport, Antoine Toustou, and Paul-Marie Barbier.
Click to enlarge photos!
All photos © Andrew Mather