I rather fell for Mesparrow last night, with her Mary Quant hair and her set of loop pedals. Mesparrow (Yes: Piaf/sparrow - They are both small in stature and big in voice, that is where the comparisons end.) was supporting Fránçois & The Atlas Mountains on the first night of Vive La France 2012.
She begins with a basic accapella loop, and sings over the top, taking breaks to add in vocalised orchestrations and harmonies, some twee beat-boxing, sound effects, and on one occasion some gutsy heaving and puking sounds. Each song builds up in this way, before she pares it down, stacks up some more loops and brings her little symphonies to and end. How on earth she can remember what fits where and when and how, heaven knows, there seems to be so so much going on at every moment and each interlocks perfectly into the whole - truly captivating pop!
She took a break to play a smokey torch-song on a huge electric piano, then more multi-part compositions, then closing with a fragile china-doll rendition of 'My Heart Belongs To Daddy' breaking into a bluesy stomp for the choruses, and stuttering the last line over and again like a broken talking automaton.
Then came Fránçois & The Atlas Mountains. The last time I saw him, it was just he alone in the huge Duke of Yorks cinema, creating a cascading wall of echoing drum and acoustic guitar, almost apologetic for his presence on stage. The ("first french signing to the Domino Recording Co") Fránçois of 2012 fronts a taut band of flailing and diving musicians intent on spreading their sweet indie/afro-beat fever and producing a joyful mountain of shimmering lo-fi dance-pop.
I reckon just about EVERY single person left the Green Door Store with a smile on their face and a heap of French joy in their hearts.