Franck Carducci

Support: Mary Reynaud and Jaimy Priestman

February 1, 2015 - 't Blok Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (NL)

After reviewing his album Torn Apart just before release for another website, it was time for me to finally see Franck Carducci and his band live, at 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk, where ProgFrog arranged a Sunday afternoon gig. With the album blearing from the speakers in my car, I really enjoyed the one hour drive to the venue, ready for an afternoon full of music and fun.
Jaimy Priestman

Jaimy Priestman

That afternoon started rather well, when presenter Anthony Priestman announced that Franck Carducci would be accompanied by not one, but two support acts. The first one of those was Anthony's own son, Jaimy Priestman, who got on stage with his acoustic guitar and got a well deserved round of applause a few minutes later, for a nice rendition of Tenacious D's Tribute. A young man ready to guard the future of real music.

Mary Reynaud

After the applause died down, Franck appeared on stage to personally congratulate Jaimy with his stage debut and to announce the second support act. Support act may be a bit of an understatement here though, since his background vocalist Mary Reynaud was there to perform a short solo set. As she said herself: '
Mary Reynaud
To fill in, while the men put on their make-up, which takes a lot of time apparently'. Some laughter followed, as she told the audience she wasn't allowed to bring her own guitar and had to use the 'big guitar' of Mathieu Spaeter, one of the band's guitarists.

A well received set of acoustic guitar accompanied songs followed, in which Mary showed what she can do with her voice and her facial expressions. She happily guided us on a short walk through music, starting with Under The Fig Tree, which she wrote together with Christian Labonne, followed by the Sheryl Crow cover Wildflower. Then she went back to her own Sad For Nothing, followed by Make It Together, a powerful song written by Franck and his uncle Gilles Carducci. It was not completely clear after that whether the 'we want more' from the audience was directed at her performance or at the kisses she blew into the audience. A wonderful singer, with a great voice - Franck sure made the right choice, both for support as for backing vocals.

Franck Carducci & Band

After Mary left the stage the lights went out, and dark shadows in black and white masks appeared on stage. Short, loud riffs were played, while the lights flashed on and off - the intro of Torn Apart certainly makes for a spectacular opening show. When the lights went on completely, the stage was for guitarist Christophe Obadia, the body behind the massive guitar intro of this song. Next to him, the somewhat shy, long haired man in a grey t-shirt, who announced Mary's performance earlier, had changed into a colourful leather outfit - Franck the entertainer and his band had entered the stage. From the first second they rocked, and after the short 'You can't always get what you want'
Franck Carducci
interlude that is part of this song, it was clear that they 'owned' the audience: Christophe stepped to the front of the stage during the reprise of the opening riff, and on his signal everyone joined in screaming 'Hey!!!!'

From here on, the audience was treated to a great show, that seemed to be far too short. Tracks of the new album that were already great on my audio set only got better live - the ener gy of this band is phenomenal. The singing of Franck on Closer To Irreversible (unfortunately, Franck did not take Steve Hackett with him on tour for this one) and Artificial Paradises can make you shiver, even more so when Mary joins in on backing vocals. Add to this the sometimes beautiful, sometimes plain loud and heavy guitar solos of Mathieu and Christophe, and the picture is almost complete. Almost, because there are two more band members, the drummer that has to keep it all together, Nicolas Chonageokoff, and keyboardist Olivier Castan, who can make notes fly from left to right over the stage (we have photos and video at Background Magazine to prove it).

After these two tracks, we were treated to Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll, a song that Franck announced as ' the metal track I always wanted to write and play'. The power blasted off the stage on this one, and Franck used the opportunity to show why bass is his main instrument. I almost sold mine the same evening, but decided to not give up and keep practising. This was followed by Artificial Love, where the vocal only intro made me shiver once again. A beautiful song, even live - and here Nicolas could do his thing as well.

Then, from the dark a didgeridoo appeared, played by Christophe, while Mary did a dance with a rainstick (not that we needed more rain that day). This lead into the intro of Achilles, from Franck's first album, ODDITY (2011, see review). Surprisingly, after that intro they went back to the wonderful A Brief Tale of Time (thank you for the excellent keyboard work Olivier) from the new album before playing The Last Oddity. After the climax of that song, it was time for a tribute to one of Franck's favourite bands, Genesis, so we were treated to two parts of Supper's Ready: Apocalypse in 9/8 and As Sure As Eggs is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet).

A lot of fun on stage
That was the end of the show, but not really - after a short break the band reappeared on stage, not unexpectedly, and Franck put on the Mad Hatter's hat, for a nice live rendition of Alice' s Eerie Dream. As he announced it, 'the story of Alice, who got kidnapped by the red queen. The red queen turned Alice into a prostitute'. A prostitute Alice, depicted by Mary then spent her time trying to seduce the male band members throughout the song - which she didn't really succeed at, nor at making them make mistakes in their playing. Theatre on stage - with less props than Genesis used in the Gabriel era, but definitely amusing.

After this, Franck announced the last track of the afternoon - and because that same week the world lost Demis Roussos, this was not the bands usual closing song School. Instead, they went unrehearsed into an idea that came up on the bus during touring: Aphrodite's Child's The Four Horsemen. With Franck and Mary alternating on voices, this was a more than worthy tribute to the big man with the falsetto voice. A great song, and a great rendition - nothing to add.

And so ended a great afternoon in Nieuwerkerk, with a band that demonstrated what playing live is about, or should be about: play well, entertain the audience and leave room for each other. That last thing I simply have to say here: Franck and Mary are the face of the band (although Christophe makes a good third), but when the guitar or keyboard take the lead in an instrumental, they not only step back to make room, but sometimes disappear from stage completely. Maybe I see more in that than there is, but it works for me. Franck Carducci and his band know how to entertain an audience, thank you!

Angelo Hulshout (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

Live video

   Henri & Roel Strik

Achilles/ A Brief Tale In Time (20:20)
The Last Oddity (15:46)
Alice's Eerie Dreams (12:24)

Setlist Jaimy Priestman:


Setlist Mary Reynaud:

Under The Figtree
Sad For Nothing
Make It Together

Setlist Franck Carducci:

Torn Apart
Closer To Irreversible
Artificial Paradises
Mr. Hyde & Dr. Jekyll
Artificial Love
Didgeridoo/Achilles intro
A Brief Tale Of Time
The Last Oddity
Supper's Ready:
   VI- Apocalypse In 9/8
   VII- As Sure As Eggs Is
      Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)
Alice's Eerie Dream
The Four Horsemen (Aphrodite's Child)

Pictures Franck Carducci by Arthur Haggenburg

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Click on the picture to enlarge.


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Line up Franck Carducci:

(left to right)
Mathieu Spaeter:
backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
Nicolas Chonageokoff:
drums, backing vocals
Mary 'Alice' Reynaud:
percussion, lead and backing vocals
Olivier Castan:
keyboards and backing vocals
Christophe Obadia:
electric guitar, didjeridoo, backing vocals
Franck Carducci:
bass, double neck bass/twelve-string guitar, lead and backing vocals

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