Last Night: Charlotte Gainsbourg at Palace of Fine Arts

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jogger, AM

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Palace of the Fine Arts

Better Than: Carla Bruni

Last night, the offspring of France's greatest contribution to pop music brought out an expat French community and fellow Francophiles in droves. 

Charlotte Gainsbourg, the daughter of Serge and a well-respected actress, is on her debut tour for IRM. It's her third studio album–produced, and largely penned, by Beck–but for many Americans, the record has served as an introduction to her music. At last night's intimate Palace of Fire Arts affair, Gainsbourg stepped out of the musical shadow of her father, showing fans she's a talented singer in her own right. 

Opening for Gainsbourg was Jogger, a two-piece electronic act that played haunting, genre-bending mixes. The group was entertaining, although the lack of lighting effects that usually accompanies live dance music took away from the show. The other opening act was AM, fresh off the Air tour. Usually a sextet, the band paired down its setup for the road, playing layered pop tunes on homemade instruments to a half-filled theatre.

When it was time for the headliner, Gainsbourg arrived quietly onstage, looking very thin in person. She stood motionless for a bit, skittish as a scared kitten. With her hands in her pockets and head down, it was clear she has yet to acquire a confident stage presence. The small size of the theatre made her seem even more vulnerable. She got off to a halting start, nervously fumbling over lyrics and referring to a notebook to remember some of the words to her songs.


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