The Les Cloechards – Dirty But Nice
Part-time hobos rock the stage with bizarre but brilliant takes on old classics
This article is from 2012.
These jokers, who seem French but are actually German, apparently – (their name is an amalgamation of three languages, but essentially means ‘The Tramps’) - have got their show’s subtitle just about right: They are very dirty, and they’re also quite nice too. The latter was proved at the end of the gig, when a friend fainted (very rock ‘n’ roll) and was presented with 2 free CDs by the gangly, handsome-despite-the-dirt frontman. This could have been because they didn’t want to be sued for their outrageous antics, but still, a startlingly nice gesture.
Their act is a lesson in cheerful, unthreatening anarchy. Performing songs which couldn’t be more incongruous with their mud-caked appearances if they tried, they grind, thrust and collapse their way through some classic pop and rock numbers which will stay in your memory for a long time (their 'Like A Virgin' rendition in particular will be impossible to eradicate for several years and should be seen to be believed). What’s wonderful about Les Clöchards is that they don’t really care what you think (the laaydeeez excepted, who they woo throughout) – they’re having a damn good time, so you do too, even if their show concept - dressing up as tramps wanting to be rock stars – is an unusual and slightly bizarre concept for a show.
The lads pull it off though. As well as being foot-stampingly rhythmical, and genuinely good at their instruments which appear in various states of disintegration, they’re clearly entertaining the heck out of themselves, and this transmits to the audience who act like Bowie fans in the midst of Bowiemania (very enthusiastic). The frontman is weirdly hilarious and has a stunning voice which saves the show from slipping into a bizarre satire-like skit you can’t quite put your finger on. And the drummer with the Kraftwerk vibe and voice is lounging carelessly on a frayed, roomy armchair – I mean, come on!
Bosco at Assembly George Square, run now ended.