REVIEW: Lou Doillon

IMG_1986 Once the muse of Givenchy and the face of Chloé, Lou Doillon was a model and actress before she began writing music. Daughter of actress Jane Birkin (muse of the Birkin Bag), and director Jacques Doillon, Lou is an icon, revered for her French style before her poetics.

I had been following Lou on Instagram in this regard, much like I follow Alexa Chung, in awe of her style but knowing full well I wouldn't be able to emulate it. Great about Perth’s editor, Sophie, introduced me to her music and once I played ICU, I knew I’d been silly to have only been envious of Lou’s shaggy hair.

In a bid of independence and a desire to enjoy the experience alone, I decided to go to the singer/songwriter’s gig at The Rosemount minus companions. There was a line to get in, and I scanned the crowd as I waited, curious to see who else had lost their heart to the French singer. A crowd was already banked at the stage, as heavily pregnant Felicity Groom finished her set with the powerful song, Higher, Higher, Taller, Taller.

It’s wasn’t long before the lights dimmed and four friendly-looking guys crossed the stage, followed by Lou and her goofy smile. I caught my breath: seeing my girl crush in the flesh was surreal. Wearing skinny-leg jeans, a black t-shirt and a furry cardigan, as usual, Lou looked effortlessly cool. She’s impossible not to like, and just as annoyingly whimsical as her Instagram projects. “This is Perth, it’s you guys.”

Devil Or Angel, an up-beat arrangement conveying the intricacies of those always on the defensive, and a song I’ve had on heavy rotation, was raspy in all the right places. So Still hit home, as I’m sure it did for many of the women in the audience. Lou explained that the song was about lovely, kind and stable guys who for some reason often highlight our own crazies, and we end up sabotaging the whole darn thing. It seems Lou is a natural born storyteller, not only through her bluesy arrangements and thoughtful lyrics, but her quirky anecdotes complimenting most of her set.

Lou has an emotional clarity that conveys past experience, and this was particularly evident in ICU, her most well-known song, and one that could not be more appropriate for post break-up feelings. The soulful song came earlier than expected, but to see it live was truly a pleasure. I’ve played this song over and over again, recounting past relationships, and remembering long lost friends. I surrendered to her exceptional voice, and saw ghosts of my past, dreaming of exes in old haunts. Lay Low follows and lightens the mood, as Lou instructs us to dance: “It’s now or never.” We respond accordingly, following all her laid-back moves.

"The thing about humans is we always survive.” Lou sits at the keyboard for Left Behind, and ruminates over personal grief, and what it means to move on. The band members huddle at the other side of the stage and hum in earnestness, expressing a solidarity we share when it comes to pain.

Places, the title track for her first album, is reverb-heavy, grabbing you by the throat and dragging you down, slowly growing in intensity then dropping into an eerie silence. This song signifies the end, but unlike other encores where I cringe at the musician’s ego, I’m sighing with relief when the modest songwriter comes back requesting the audience sings or hums along (whatever makes us comfortable) to Weekender Baby.

 The playful song ends in a joint effort from audience and performer, humming as the stage lights cease.

“We’re bumble bees,” she laughs, and it’s light again.

By: Naomi Faye