French shoegazing band Alcest arrived at the Highline Ballroom in NYC with opening act, California based folk singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle. Alcest is known for accurately using distortion, feedback and distorted vocals to form a distinct sound, one not often heard. While the sole description of the music might sound odd, when actually listening to it, one can sink into a zone of full calmness. An odd effect when considering the characteristics of the music itself. Truly it is this that makes Alcest so appealing, a band who can easily transcend into a mellow, soothing sound without losing it’s heavy distorted riffs.
Alcest is indeed a unique pearl in a bucket of sand and with such a unique take on music, there seemed to be no better opening act than Emma Ruth Rundle. The California native is no rookie to the music scene either, forming a part of musical groups like Red Sparowes, Marriages, and Nocturnes. Her debut solo album Some Heavy Ocean was released on May 20th of last year. Her style is really stripped down, from her vocals to her musical arrangement.
Perhaps folk rock would not be the quickest suggestion for an opening act, but it is correct to say her soft sound was a great calming ground for Alcest and their heavier alternative metal sound. Alcest of course was the main act of the night and was awaited with much anticipation. The band began their career in 2000 originally as a 4-piece band and now currently composed of Neige (lead vocals), Winterhalter (drums), and live members Zero (guitar) and Indria (bass). Alcest’s sound is so enchanting for a reason– it is based entirely on a concept, an island lead singer Neige calls “Fairy Land.” It connects to a experiences he lived through as a child and intends on creating the bands sound as a real interpretation of what he remembers this island being. When considering this, it only makes the music and entire zen zone you enter all the more special. A very personal and special experience of his life can be explored by simply listening to their music. The band has released four albums to date, all of which can introduce you into this wonderful world. Alcest played many of their best songs such as “Summer Glory”, “Là où naissent les couleurs nouvelles” and perhaps their most memorable “Autre temps” as a special encore.
If ever given the chance, Alcest is a must see band for anybody to experience their mystic live performance. Not to mention they are truly one of few to bring a different perspective, concept and all around approach to the genre of metal. As mentioned before, a special musical act worthy of having all the support they can receive from the music scene.
Emma Ruth Rundle: