Concert Review: CITIZENS! @ L’Usine – Geneva – October 25th 2012

I don’t remember anything about my first birthday, however I will definitely remember for a long time the first anniversary of the Liberation.
It was one of those very rare moments where even fuckin’ poshy Geneva looks like the swingin’ London. This all due to the CITIZENS!, a UK based band that managed to raise from the London Indie scene thanks to the support of Mr Alex Kapranos, Franz Ferdinand’s singer (not a bad credential to start a career in the indie rock industry) who were in town. The band has recently published a brilliant début album called Here We Are and after a summer spent touring Europe’s best festivals  their French label Kitsune sent them to Geneva to spread their musical groove. They delivered a great show, proven by the fact that the usual shy swiss crowd that filled the venue danced and sang to their tunes and requested for more at the end.

The set started with Caroline, a great tune to set the tone of the night, Tom Burke (the singer) welcomes the crowd with a surprisingly good level of French, not sure if he had prepared all the sentences but it’s always a great way to connect with the fans, specially in the traditionally cold Switzerland. Reptile follows without breaks and just after 2 songs everybody, band and fans are warmed up and ready to rock and dance. On Let’s go all the way (which reminds me of a Maximo Park rhythm) Tom showcases his vocal skills with a great falsetto, a risky move live but he mastered it without problems. Love you more is introduced again in French, asking the fans to make some noise, and after 2/3 tries Tom is apparently happy with the public answer and kicks off the song, on this one we see the bass player moving to a second drum (a very Franz Ferdinandesque trick) for a reinforced rhythmic section.
After this ambiance is hot and sweaty, Tom takes his jacket off showing his very bold leopard shirt, actually the whole band has very peculiar shirts that if you don’t live in East London or you are in a band you wouldn’t dare wear that easily, specially in Geneva. She said comes next and while in the beginning the lead guitarist is singing Tom jumps in the crowd and sings the rest of the tune from the middle of the crowd that makes space for him and people get camera out to take an original picture, another great move to get the people on your side.
Before the end: True Romance, the first single, one of the best clips of the year and definitely one of the best songs so far in 2012 and live it’s probably even better than on the record. After the traditional fake end of the concert they come back for the 2 songs encore with a little anniversary gift for yours truly: coming back on stage Tom asks the crow to shout for…. The Liberation!! (or la Liberation, in French, as it called us) a very unexpected surprise for us, we had met him quickly before the concert and when we offered him one of our mythical badges he showed some interest for our movement, nice guy, I still owe him one!
On I wouldn’t want to Tom plays key board, the stage is small and the people on the first row can easily talk to him, Tom’s in a good move, he looks like he’s enjoying the moment and when asked where did his socks go he answered with: “Socks are for bourgeois pigs” generating an amused reaction within his band friend that were wearing them, he then added, “That’s what happens after 6 months of tour!” This slower song sounds amazing live and it’s the perfect introduction for the final smack down that comes with I’m in love (with your girlfriend). We are all jumping and dancing to the lyrics of Mr Burke and when, all of sudden, the song is over we are left with hunger for more. Unfortunately we will have to wait for the next visit to Switzerland, the next album when they will have a longer set
So, summary? Great night out, great concert. The singer knows the little tricks to warm up the fans and he’s backed up by a solid instrumental 4 piece that gives a new definition to rock-pop music of the new millennium. Yes, some song might sound too close to Franz Ferdinand, but hey, that’s probably the (nice) price to pay when their singer is your producer. We managed to get to know them a little bit at the improvised after party at Le Cabinet, nice down to earth guys that are enjoying their run. We highly recommend to buy their album and if you are lucky enough to have them around, make sure you get your tickets for their gig, it’s more than worth it. We wish them a long fruitful musical career, we will follow them closely, expectations are high but they have luck: Future is on their side.
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