Live Review

Heloise & The Savoir Faire, Brooklyn Bowl

If there is any place where disco still is alive and strong, aside from roller rinks, it is bowling alleys.

If there is any place where disco still is alive and strong, aside from roller rinks, it is bowling alleys with their fair share of neon, retro furniture and trashiness. That’s why Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl is the perfect venue to showcase Heloise & The Savoir Faire, whose flamboyant showmanship can easily steal attention from the lanes and whose stage act seems to be perfectly highlighted by the giant disco ball in the middle of the performance space.

Heloise & The Savoir Faire, the New York based band, best known for being one of the early signs to Elijah Woods’ Simian Records, is the type of band that must be seen live. Their music, which quickly transports you back to the ‘70s and ‘80s, is irresistible to which to dance, with cheeky lyrics about what it would be like in Disco Heaven and partying uptown, downtown and throughout Manhattan. The band’s stage act is simply unforgettable with keyboardist Joe “Juge” Shepard and Sara Sweet Rabidoux enacting elaborate choreographed dance moves and scenes, ranging from air guitar to lap-dances with Heloise.

The atmosphere is set with an opening performance by Massachusetts dance-punk troubadours The Bodega Girls, who fill out the stage with electronic beats, plenty of tambourines and a fair amount of shouting to rev up the crowd and spirited dancing with songs like ‘She’s Into Black Guys’, which pretty much explains themselves. Heloise enters the scene in a white toga and black tights, the lights turning her skin a Day-Glo orange, which fit the scene perfectly as she opens with the alcohol-infused lyrics of ‘Downtown’.

The band run through a number of their hits, including ‘Odyle’, which, along with the thumping disco beat, always pleases with air guitar dance moves and staged posing with Heloise, Juge and Rabidoux sometimes on top of each other. The classic moves, which are modeled almost exactly from their music video, showcase the band’s break-dancing and high-paced fun. Other songs are not played exactly verbatim. The extended dub intro to ‘Canadian Changs’ creates a near dream-state with the soft beats mixing with tales of chinchillas, gorillas and bananas before breaking into a pop-disco line that would make any of the Gibb brothers proud.

The band introduce a number of new songs as well, with perhaps the intellectual, nay nerdiest, of the group being ‘Grendel’s Mother’, accompanied by faux medieval costume fighting by Rabidoux and Juge with staves. The experience, somewhere between the epic quality of opera and the bubble gum of the 1970s, leaves everyone in the bowling alley wishing their bowling balls were disco balls and their bowling shoes, roller skates.

Tags: Features

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