Gothamist headed out to Joe's Pub on Saturday night to catch a lovely set by Nouvelle Vague. If you haven't heard, they are (for all intents and purposes) a cover band fronted by three French women who sing punk and new wave hits from the 80's in a jazzy Bosa-Nova style. Despite whatever reservations you may have about the concept, it works remarkably well. They certainly succeeded in making each song their own, at times completely unrecognizable from the original.
On stage the girls playfully danced and interacted with each other and the crowd, at one point insisting on a "call and response" for the Dead Kennedy's classic "Too Drunk to Fuck". This made the middle aged crowd giggle in embarrassment. Most of the show was more reserved, however, with the girls singing beautifully orchestrated songs with a just a hint of familiarity to keep our attention. It was a very satisfying experience.
However, no matter how well done the act may be, they will never shake the stigma of what they really are: A novelty act. It's hard to compare them to anyone else we would normally go out see because there is no potential for them to grow. No room for expansion. We strongly recommend seeing them live because what they do is done very well, but like every gimmick it will eventually wear thin over time. It's well worth enjoying while you can, though. They will be at Joe's Pub again tomorrow night, and then at the Canal Room for CMJ on Wednesday.