The floor at the House of Blues bounced Saturday night as the crowd threw its arms in the air for Caravan Palace, and jumped to Charles Delaport’s pounding upright bass and Payen’s dancing bow in “Scar Scat.” The concert was the “swinging dream” that Vocalist and Dancer Zoé Colotis alludes to in “Suzy,” another song that had the room filling up with hands to the sky.
The show was packed with swing dance choreography, excellent lighting (as Violinist and Vocalist Hugue Payen promised) and extremely fast transitions between the set.
Caravan Palace presents a true majesty like none I’ve seen all year. The speed at which Colotis sings, synchronized with Antoine Toustou’s perfect scats amazed Chicago fans, and made the band appear like super humans – or as its most recent album indicates – robots.
This is the real kind of EDM, which features real instruments that remind us of eras of leisure, not just of money-making. Caravan Palace is a band that exhibits articulation, both on stage, and recorded. I noticed Colotis paying extra mind to the words she sang, as the movement of her mouth created a pronounced dimple in her cheeks. She always smiled.
“Are you all still happy?” Colotis shouted, knowing well the effect Caravan Palace has on the human spirit. Its beautiful live blend of swing, gypsy jazz, Argentinean tango and electronic dance brought me to the streets of France where natives are entertaining themselves and one another. It brought me to the 1930s to the most romantic speakeasies where flappers are enjoying life and each others’ company.
And that’s what every audience member felt at the House of Blues Saturday. Each band member added his or her flavor to the show. Payen’s violin strokes coincided with Toustou’s robotic scats, albeit that of a robot with a full personality – while Delaport’s upright bass gave each song a heartbeat. Camille Chapelière glided across the stage with his deep and dark saxophone, Arnaud Vial brought us to the streets of France with his dancing fingers on the guitar, Colotis gave us a swing dance performance and Paul-Marie Barbier made the music itself dance.
As I listen to Caravan Palace discography following the show, I can only wish that hearing the music in my ear buds will bring me the happiness I felt among the audience at the House of Blues.
I met Vial, Toustou and Payen at the end of the show, and all were extremely amicable as they patiently signed beckoning fans’ new t-shirts and vinyls. Their personalities onstage reflect their true selves, with the intention to enjoy life in the company of others.
If you have yet to experience Caravan Palace live, or are even discovering its music for the first time, I highly recommend giving the band a go. Don’t be surprised if you start to believe you are one of the band’s best friends after a show.