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LA BARRICADE (Paris) – 13th May 2013

May 19, 2013

Fleur Offwood and the Conifers:

Fleur Offwood and the Conifers.  On first perceiving their sound and taking in their looks I was rather disappointed that the drummer was wearing jeans and the bassist/trumpet player a t-shirt and that the singer (presumably Fleur Offwood) has a tattoo on her upper right arm.  I didn’t consider their look to be appropriate or conducive to their sound, but I only considered it to be slightly askew, and slight variance from the norm is what I always find most troublesome. But, the more that I observed of the set of Fleur Offwood and the Conifers I realised that their look was probably perfectly applied to their sound and personality – the group does not have a pretentious bone in its body …. but playing to seven people might detract from the natural pretension of people sometimes.

Fleur Offwood and the Conifers are certainly not doing anything new and nothing unique, and they will never influence anybody.  But, they bring a modern edge to an archaic sound, and this is highly significant.  An archaic sound in the modern era is unacceptable because it shows that the person/people producing that sound are ignoring or choosing to forget what has come between the present modern era and the past moment where the sound is emanating from. The singer, I believe, may have a good voice but chooses to sing consistently off key – this is an interesting choice (if it’s a choice) but it works for her and the group – the music and lyrics of the group are quite absurdist, and so is the singer’s voice. Fleur Offwood and the Conifers play a very parisian style of music and are very parisian – I can’t imagine them ever playing in any other town.  This is certainly not a criticism.

During my brief stay in Berlin I saw spaces similar to that of la Barricade’s bandroom.  The main difference of course between the Berlin spaces and la Barricade is that there is no pretension at all present in the air at la Barricade and everywhere that one turns in Berlin one has the distinct whiff of pretension in one’s nostrils, especially in the spaces similar to that of la Barricade’s bandroom.

Artists such as Fleur Offwood and the Conifers (listed as ‘Fleur of Wood’ on la Barricade’s website) can only gladden one’s heart, with the trumpeteer’s serious look, and the singer’s solid and stern eye contact with her public of seven people.  It’s most appropriate that Berlin is seemingly the official home away from home for all slightly alternative pretentious types hailing from Melbourne – their hearts, I’m sure, can rest easy there.  It’s quite a long way to go to fail, but at least the city panders to their pretentious streak more than any other locality.

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