En Attendant Ana // Live Review & Photoset

February 9th | The Lanes

Photos: Jon Kean

Any grammar nerd will tell you that ‘En Attendant Ana’ is a subordinate clause, an adverbial, a beginning of a statement rather than a statement in itself. You are, quite literally waiting for the main bit of the sentence. It’s all about the anticipation. Sundays (especially Sunday nights) are very much the waiting rooms of the weekend, watching the working week approach. So it was a distinct pleasure to be so pleasantly distracted from the approach of Monday at The Lanes by Parisian sanguine janglers, En Attendant Ana, supported by Bristol’s own Hamburger, a free show courtesy of the generosity of Waxslax.

The days when Hamburger play their own regular headline slots, rather appearing lower on the bill and threatening to steal the show, cannot surely be too far in the future. Opening with a five-part harmony on ‘Seafood’ was a statement of bold intent. Their other six songs were no less bold in construction or delivery, with Fearghall, Liv and Katie consistently harmonising and three guitarists interweaving with the bass, keys and drums.

‘Summamush’ brought warm, breezy indie and an August festival feel as Storm Ciara gusted with gusto outside. ‘Gone’ was a slow rocker. Set closer, ‘Supersad’, with its lyrical declaration, “But it’s no good, I’m fuckin’ miserable” brought many a smile from those present. Either than made the assembled crowd a bunch of sadists, or alternatively it was the uplifting, elating musical swell carrying those frowny words that pleased.

Headliners, En Attendant Ana, stacked their set with tracks from their 2020 release, Juillet, as well as a pair of old faithfuls from 2018’s Lost and Found. It was their second-ever UK show. On the strength of what followed, they could easily become one of those bands about whom those present on Sunday could claim, “I saw them before they really took off.”

Bands have to sound good, otherwise they don’t really work in a sound-related entertainment medium. Needless to say that En Attendant Ana sounded bloody marvellous, as did the sound system at The Lanes from which their excellent noise emanated. ‘In/Out’ and ‘Do You Understand?’ from the new album, and ‘Violence Inside’ and ‘This Could Be’ from their first album really resonated. But they were also fascinating to watch. Dynamically, Margaux Bouchaudon was the central figure, standing front and centre, singing lush lead vocals, playing guitar and keys, whilst also engaging those present with her hawk-like stare.

Behind her, Adrien Pollin played a minimal drum set-up with minimal movement of the torso, yet he seemed hyperactive from the elbows downwards, propelling the songs forwards. Vincent Hubert lurked in the shadows of stage left and of his fringe, but joined Adrien in creating an irresistible driving force, and giving the band’s poppy C86 jangle a more hard-edged post-punk undertone. Lead guitarist, Maxence Tomasso, was still and focused throughout, providing a lot of the fizz and flare from his wide right position.

The pièce de résistance came from the trumpet playing of Camille Fréchou, especially her solo on their set closer, ‘Words’. If you’re worried how a trumpet fits seamlessly into a traditional band set-up, just get the album and you’ll get it. Whether joining the rhythm section in emotive blasts, or taking part of the tune, it was one of many things about this band worth waiting for and well worth seeing again when next they return.

See the video for ‘Words’ here: