French singer Héloïse Letissier isn’t a known name in the United States. Neither is her group, Christine and the Queens, at least not yet. Christine performed in New York City for four nights in November, two opening for Marina and the Diamonds, one headlining Webster Hall and a final late night spot on The Daily Show. Her personality and presence could be described as a mix of Florence and the Machine and Stromae — a combination of ferocity, dance moves and Frenchness (Stromae is Belgian but does sing in French). Her song “Tilted” is perhaps the standout of her debut album Christine and the Queens (Neon Gold / Because Records) and it was one of a couple of songs she played in front of a live studio audience.
At Webster Hall, Christine was able to incorporate her visuals into her sold out show — at Terminal 5, the stage was set for Marina, and Christine had to perform atop a pink shag rug. The visuals varied, but at times the band used them to project guest vocalists — including Perfume Genius’s contribution and Philly rapper Tunji Ige on “No Harm is Done”. Both of these tracks which incorporated into last month’s US album release. The mostly French crowd loved every minute of her genre and sometimes gender-bending set frequently cheering her performance. As BrooklynVegan noted, “her performance went back and forth between appearing stereotypically feminine and stereotypically masculine. The same could be said of her two male dancers.”
When Letissier paid tribute to other “fierce female” role-models, including Beyonce, Rihanna, Marina and Grimes, before adding herself as a possible member, she received even more applause. Musically, in addition to “Tilted”, “Paradis Perdus”, a cross between French singer Christophe’s song of the same name and Kanye West’s “Heartless.” was another highlight. The show was unfortunately brief as Christine and the Queens only have one album but Letissier was all smiles as she promised to return next year with new material. New Yorkers should expect to see her soon Christine and the Queens have planted their flag.
Terminal 5 11/9/15 (Opening for Marina and the Diamonds):
Webster Hall 11/11/15: