French Horn

GIG REVIEW: French Horn Rebellion & Patawawa @ Eagle Inn

For the first time in seven years, U.S. brothers Robert and David Perlick-Molinari ( French Horn Rebellion) have embarked on a U.K. tour, this time joining forces with Derbyshire synth-pop outfit Patawawa to promote their recent joint single, ‘Mr. Romantic’. Both bands are purveyors of disco-indebted pop, so the prospect of a co-headline tour promises a smorgasbord of funk.

From their neon microphone cables to their Bez-like dance moves, few bands look as though they enjoy being onstage as Patawawa (Sam Wilmot, Rory Lovatt and Beth Garrett). With Lovatt on guitar and in charge of samples and Wilmot and Garrett trading off smooth vocals, Patawawa’s escapist disco has the audience eating out of the palm of their hands from the get-go. Songs such as ‘Four to The Floor’, boasting choppy Nile Rodgers riffs and 90s house saxophone are perfect dancing fodder. A small group near the front know the words to every song, much to the delight of Wilmot, who feeds off their reaction, his dance moves getting wilder by the minute to match their energy. Set closer ‘Patagonia’ is a slab of synth strings and funk guitar noodling, a fitting end to a sweaty set.

French Horn Rebellion keep the party mood going, opening with exuberant 2017 single ‘Magic’. The brothers Perlick-Molinari are ably backed by Pink Flamingo Rhythm Revue, helping fleshing out their electro-pop for the stage. Oftentimes, electro-pop bands struggle to translate their studio recordings to the live environment, but French Horn Rebellion avoid this pitfall. The eponymous French horn is deployed early and often by frontman David, much to the delight of the crowd. Robert produced MGMT’s debut EP, ‘Time to Pretend’ and there are flecks of the MGMT sound here, along with classic 80s tropes such as vocoder-laced backing vocals. The brothers part the Red Sea of the crowd for a  dance-off during Marching Punks (from 2016 album ‘Classically Trained’), pitting the two sides off against each other. Unsurprisingly, the side on which the Patawawa members are dancing ends up having the best moves. Patawawa are called up to the stage for a big finale consisting of Mr. Romantic and a crowd-pleasing, almost EDM-inspired cover of Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’, with several in the crowd calling out for more music afterwards, to no avail.

Both acts are not to be missed live, fans of sheer unadulterated fun can only hope that French Horn Rebellion don’t wait another seven years to return to these shores again.