Franck Carducci & Band

February 23, 2014 - 't Blok, Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (NL)

I'm quite familiar with the music of the French musician Franck Carducci. Ever since he recorded his amazing debut album ODDITY (2011, see review), I've been following him. The personal interview I held with him (see interview) certainly helped me to learn a bit more about this talented multi-instrumentalist. Carducci is not only a good musician in the recording studio, but also on stage. I saw him perform with his
Franck Carducci
band in March 2012 and now, almost two years after this wonderful concert at 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (see review), I got the chance to witness him again at the same venue. However, this time the line-up of his band was completely different. No longer musicians participated whom he had met during his stay in Amsterdam, but instead he put his band together in his hometown Lyon, where he was born and bred.

Just like two years ago they started with Achilles, the opening tune of his debut. Again this piece was introduced by music that sounds like a part of a film score. During a short intro Christophe Obadia − one of the two guitarists next to Mathieu Spaeter − and keyboardist Olivier Castan did a 'sword fight' as can be seen on the cover of ODDITY. Both musicians looked as if they were actors in a Highlander movie. After this short'fight' the other musicians joined them to perform a splendid version of Achilles. During this piece Carducci took care of the lead vocals and played on the double-neck Shergold twelve-string bass guitar wearing a red coat and a hat that could have been taken from the
Mary Reynaud as "Alice"
Mad Hatter, a character from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Underneath the hat his face was painted, while the other band members were dressed in black.

Next was The Quind, another strong piece from the debut album. The piano intro was a bit longer than the original studio version, but it certainly wasn't less enjoyable. Before the band started Alice's Eerie Dream, Franck Carducci explained the story of Alice In Wonderland and how Alice turned into a hooker. This time she was visualized by special guest singer Mary'Alice' Reynaud. Carducci met her after one of his concerts and she eagerly wanted to perform with him and so he gave her the role of the innocent Alice. Next was Closer To Irreversible, the first new track that will appear on Carducci's second solo album which will possibly be released later in 2014. I noticed that you have to listen to this piece more often to discover its beauty.

Closer To Irreversible was followed by Torn Apart, another new song. Right from the start this piece revealed itself to be a true prog rock beauty that sounded like a track from his debut. For the next song, the Genesis cover Back In N.Y.C. from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974), Mr Carducci got a black leather jacket from guitarist Obadia, who took over his bass guitar in order to let him completely focus on the vocals. Halfway through the band stopped and kept quiet for a couple of seconds; then Carducci asked the audience whether they would like to hear the final part of this song or not. Well, they certainly would and the band perfectly ended this great prog rock tune.

Before the final track from ODDITY was performed, the third brand new song called Artificial Paradises could be enjoyed. As far as I'm concerned this was the best new piece of this concert. Thanks to this fabulous composition my expectations for the new album run even higher. The Last Oddity had a nice ending in store, because this brilliant song was followed by the final part of the well-known Genesis epic Supper's Ready. It contained the sections
Christophe Obadia plays his didgeridoo
Apocalypse In 9/8 (Featuring The Delicious Talents Of Gabble Ratchet) and As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet). This way Carducci and his band ended a brilliant regular set.

Without leaving the stage the musicians started the first encore. Initially I found it difficult to determine which song it was, because their version of Supertramp's School got a different intro. Instead of the harmonica Obadia played a didgeridoo! After this excellent cover we could enjoy another cover that Carducci also played two years ago, namely Whipping Post by The Allman Brothers Band. Again it was performed the way Frank Zappa used to cover it. During the previous concert the fire alarm went off in the building, but this time there were no unpleasant surprises. However, a surprising action came from Laurent Falso . He gave a short drum solo before finishing the concert by a fantastic version of Rock 'n' Roll. During this fine up-tempo piece, originally recorded by Led Zeppelin, Obadia jumped off the stage to play the guitar among the visitors and he even climbed upon the bar; not for a drink of course, but to finish a marvellous show.

I won't easily forget this two-hour long gig by Franck Carducci and his amazing live band. Wow, they really know how to entertain an audience! The visitors hardly had the time to consume the snacks that were offered by the organizers of this superb musical event. They were probably just as speechless as we were!

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Live video

by Henri & Roel Strik

X The Last Oddity (13:25)
X Achilles (15:03)
X The Quind (10:08)
X Alice's Eerie Dream (19:40)

Setlist Carducci:

The Quind
Alice's Eerie Dream
Closer To Irreversible
Torn Apart
Back In N.Y.C.
Artificial Paradises
The Last Oddity
Supper's Ready:
VI Apocalypse In 9/8
VII As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)
Whipping Post
Rock 'n'Roll

Pictures Franck Carducci by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Carducci:

(left to right)
Mathieu Spaeter:
backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
Mary 'Alice' Reynaud:
tambourine, lead and backing vocals
Olivier Castan:
keyboards, backing vocals
Franck Carducci:
bass, double neck bass/twelve-string guitar, lead and backing vocals.
Laurent Falso:
Christophe Obadia:
electric guitar, didgeridoo, additional bass guitar, backing vocals

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