Monday, February 28, 2011

Choir of Young Believers

I had waited all weekend for an RSVP to the new "School Night" event that goes on every Monday at Bardot in Hollywood sponsored by Chris Douridas of KCRW, mfg and valida, until it arrived at about 6:45 which firmed my resolve not to miss this show with Choir of Young Believers and Princeton on February 21, 2011.

Now, the Bardot in on the roof of the Avalon and requires journeying into the beating heart of the fatally plastic world of Hollywood Clubs. The heart is plastic too...or a digital effect. But my prejudices proved unfounded (as prejudices often do). This was my second venture into Bardot, as I was there a year or so ago for an invitation only blogger party, and like that night, I found the atmosphere and ambiance of the club quite pleasant.

It doesn't hurt that the club, built as it is on the roof of the Avalon, is pretty beautiful, with two bars, indoor rooms and an outdoor patio with a performance stage, so covered with canopies that you only know you're outdoors by the occasional glimpse of a star-filled sky through gaps in the fabric. But the crowd itself was a slightly upscale indie rock audience (those able to afford $12. drinks) but they were attentive and interested in the music and surprisingly unpretentious.

I settled down with my $12. scotch, alone in a big chair, and surveyed the stage area and the room around it. Curious framed paintings adorn the wall by the staircase, mostly of Turner-esque landscapes and reverential portraits of pet dogs, some in odd costumes. It all makes for an interesting head trip.

Spotting who I thought were the band at the other end of the stage, I went up to introduce myself and met Caecilie Trier, who plays cello and sings stunning harmony vocals when called for, and she introduced me to singer/writer/guitarist, Jannis Makrigiannis. When I told them I had been at their Bootleg performance last March and had been a fan ever since, they became curious and we had a great chat about what they're up to now. They were charming, attractive and seemed eager to talk. They stated clearly that this was not the band in full and would just be an acoustic two-piece and I assured them I had known that beforehand.

Choir of Young Believers had me grinning from ear to ear from the first note, when not wiping a tear away from my eye because the music is so moving and so emotionally moving.

It was a great opportunity to hear the compositions in their rawest form, yet they were still excruciatingly beautiful, The two songs they played from the album, This Is For The White In Your Eyes, "Hollow Talk" and "Action/Reaction", were just as entrancing, even without the full band behind them, allowing one to really appreciate each separate element that goes into the music. Jannis' hollow, haunted guitar, his plaintive voice, Caecilie's classic cello and airy vocals combined to made me wonder if they even need a band.

They filled out the set with some covers that Jannis told me were by some of their favorite Scandinavian bands, and some new material. They've been in Los Angeles for a few weeks and are staying through March, then they return home to Copenhagen to begin recording a new album. I had managed to stay right next to the stage for their set and it was so intimate, the surroundings, so pleasant and relaxed that the whole experience resembled a dream


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