L’Aupaire puts on a fun-filled show that lifts the mood of even this Ebeneezer Scrooge.
This review should be prefaced with something of a disclaimer. Until a few hours before the show, I hadn’t heard of L’Aupaire nor was planning on attending their show. Due to another reviewer feeling under the weather, I gallantly stepped up to the plate…There are worse work-related concessions one must make than giving up an evening to attend a concert. Having very little to go on, then, I went into Lido somewhat blind. L’Aupaire had provided a pleasant enough background music to a hastily eaten dinner before I headed out.
First impressions were somewhat inconclusive. Their first record, ‘Flowers’, is the kind of amiable pop that has a large amount of success with audiences too discerning for ‘the mainstream’. Singer Robert Laupert has a good voice but suffers from a (post-Hozier?) inclination to sound as though they are doing a bowel movement. The lyrics also feel somewhat adolescent. I did, however, find myself singing ‘Rollercoaster Girl’ to myself for the duration of the bike trip there and mostly the album had left a good impression. My biggest concern was being the oldest person there.
I arrived outside a quiet-looking venue and checked my messages to see my friend had bailed on me. I then wrangled confusedly with the woman on the door regarding the change of names for the magazine. Much frustratingly poor German later, I was inside and, unsurprisingly, not in the best of moods. Immediately I saw the outside of the venue was quiet only because seemingly everyone for miles was rammed inside. I waded through the stubborn Germanic crowd and took up position in a rear corner behind the safety of the sound desk.
I dare say the following show would’ve brought a smile to the most miserable of people. Theresa May would’ve cut loose and had a shandy. Laupert took to to the stage with what seemed like the sole intention of allowing everyone to have a good time. The first few songs were an easy kind of white-guy funk: in their best moments, L’Aupaire could be a (more sober) Paolo Nutini. Earnest thanks and meandering patter between songs betray a genuine pleasure at being onstage that is charming. Tron-style lighting effects interacted well with the band’s all-white getup.
Laupert left the stage and the rest of the band jammed for a long time to what can only really be described as an EDM freakout
A couple of slower songs (‘Chemistry’ and ‘The Rainmaker’) failed to connect so well with the crowd and there were notably louder cheers for familiar numbers. In particular, the songs from the debut were rapturously received and sung along to. During ‘Waterfall’, slow enough to justify Laurpert sitting down, one lighter rose above the crowd. The band jumped from 80s cheese to electro-swing vibes easily though sounded best during upbeat numbers (‘You’, ‘Goldrush’, ‘The River’). My new favourite, ‘Rollercoaster Girl’, appeared later in the set and set off an audience-wide singalong.
One interlude between songs was notable mostly due to how jarring it was. Laupert left the stage and the rest of the band jammed for a long time to what can only really be described as an EDM freakout. With epileptic lights (inducing flashbacks to a 2010 Muse show) and a heavy techno sound, it came almost out of nowhere. I feared for a moment that my body was processing some latent undigested edible, but this was a false alarm. The two gentlemen in front of me were thoroughly entertained, so perhaps it was intended as a Berlin crowd-pleaser.
Whilst the audience reacted best to old hits, generally they were lively and danced around having a great time. Laupert’s enthusiasm gave a lot of energy to the performance that when it connected, did so well. He cut a sympathetic figure, chatting affably and dancing fairly badly along to the band on every possible occasion. After the usual preliminaries, the encore began with L’Aupert alone performing a piano-led rendition of single ‘Whole Wide World’ (not to be confused with the Wreckless Eric classic) which was chorused throughout the room. It was nice to hear Laupert in a more intimate musical setting.
Finishing up by plugging the coming album and finishing with ‘Cinderella’, L’Aupaire left the stage. There were lots of cheers, applause then the crowd filed out. It was outside Lido that another of my main misconceptions was dispelled. Far from being an audience of people younger than me, there was a wide range of cohorts filing out looking well-satisfied. They chatted enthusiastically, pleased with the show, And I suppose that I counted myself amongst that number. It had been a thoroughly entertaining and professional show, one that had lifted even my negativity. I sang ‘Rollercoaster Girl’ all the way home, too.