Voiture is a DVD documenting French band Cheveu's 2006 tour of the Eastern US and Canada. I had previously only known Cheveu as pals of the great Tyvek (with whom they share a split 7”), but by the end of the DVD, I was a bona fide fan.
Much of the DVD content is not unlike many other road movies. There's plenty of footage of the band performing inside circles of hardcore kids bobbing along squarely, and playing at radio stations to befuddled DJs. There is a lot of running late, backstage vandalism, belching, and combating stuck-in-the-car doldrums by shouting along to “Highway To Hell.” The band plays shows for three people, complain about the lack of ˜wanking' opportunities on the road, and blatantly drink and drive (this ain't France, boys!). There's even some brief nudity.
But Cheveu are no ordinary band, and it's their personalities—appropriately amplified by their music—that makes Voiture such a delight to watch.
One scene shows a band member innocently frolicking on the beach, playing gently with horseshoe crabs, then cuts to the band attaching one of the creatures to the hood of their car with packing tape, where the morbid souvenir rides with the band for some time (weeks?) until it is removed to inspect the goo underneath. The sun has, by this point, rendered the once-living hood ornament a sticky puddle of white ooze.
Guitarist Etienne should have his own television show—he is the perennial band cut-up, a crude, nose picking shit-disturber who runs from the invisible ˜crack men' of Detroit and repeatedly sexually penetrates his own belly button for the camera. When he sarcastically remarks about the amount of footage taken of the band in the back seat of the car (the three band members, their videographer and all their gear crammed into a rented Saturn no less), he asks the cameraman “What are you going to call your movie? Car?” This was hilarious even before it was explained to me by my French-speaking wife that the title of the DVD actually is French for “car.”
As for the music, the band's lineup of vocals / guitar / keyboard allows for fierce new wave elements, and on tunes like “Clara Venus,” the drummer-less band proves it can hold its own with any hardcore band this side of Bad Brains. Their boisterous take on punk rock is certainly disarming, and a whole lot of fun to watch.
The band generously include footage of bands they played with along the way, and Home Blitz, Viva L'American Death Ray (whose performance nearly steals the show), and Tyvek all make appearances. Great stuff. [Tes Fesses]
-James Jackson Toth
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