The Parisian duo headline Fortuna POP!'s 3rd Annual Winter Sprinter, a smorgasbord of alternative musical talent. First-off, it is worth mentioning the performance of Edinburgh's Withered Hand, AKA Dan Willson. If you can imagine actor Charlie Day (of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' fame) as a tortured, yet very talented artist then you're not too far away from his sound. His performance draws praise from David-Ivar Herman Dune during his set.
Showcasing a vulnerable and charming nature, the Edinburgh artist draws upon influences such as Leonard Cohen and Neil Young combining them with his own idiosyncratic lyrics to an enthralled and entertained crowd. He even features Black Tambourine singer Pam Berry on a few of his songs, sharing that he's known her "since I was very small," as he charmingly puts it.
Parisian brothers Herman Dune are probably one of the coolest indie duos on the circuit. Since forming the band in 1999 the twosome have so far managed to elude mainstream success - and it doesn't really seem to bother them. A recent claim to fame was tempting Mad Men star Jon Hamm onto their video for radio-friendly 'Tell Me Something I Don't Know', but tonight, they are at home at Angel's hip, intimate Lexington.
The duo mix in a smooth vibe as their introduction to tonight's show - an instrumental piece - is the perfect way to introduce themselves, and they move from song to song with minimal fuss. A simple electric guitar and drum set up, unfortunately with no Beirut-style horns tonight, the pair rattle through numbers from 2011's 'Strange Moosic'. A mono style microphone delivery is present throughout, which brings to mind Kings of Convenience's geeky charm.
It's understandable why there is so little interaction with the crowd. David-Ivar shares that this week he came to London and did something unrelated to performing music for once: “I visited the grave of William Blake. What do you say about a grave?” he puts to the crowd.
Other entertaining and hilariously awkward anecdotes include a band trip to a Mexican restaurant: “I went to a chain place for food. I wanted to say something to the waiter but what do you say to them? The burrito is the same every day." It's good to know that not all French men are smooth by default. You still get the awkward ones.
However, musically, Herman Dune more than make up for their rough-hewn moments as they really are a solid, listenable and slick live act. You can hear that they've been on the live circuit for years. The duo round off the the evening with an atmospherically excellent cover of The Velvet Underground's 'Pale Blue Eyes'. Minimalistic, understated and often good fun, Herman Dune are anti-folk, anti-fuss and worthy of your time.
Words by Michael Somerville