Live Review: Équipe de Foot, Paris, France, May 28, 2019

What French duo Équipe de Foot is to garage punk, fire is to the Notre-Dame de Paris: They both burn it the fuck down.

Indeed, the band is as incendiary in its sound as it is blasphemous in its choice of non-Gaullist inspiration. For a pair so proudly French (onstage, Alex and Mike wear jerseys of the French national soccer—er, “football”—team), the group draws from a broad palette of 90s American rock.

These boys from Bordeaux tap into Seattle grunge (albeit looser and less teeth-gritting) and Midwest emo (while jollier and less polished). In fact, such ramshackle indie rock, performed so earnestly yet with a discernible wink, would fit snugly on Sebadoh masterpiece Bakesale.

Touring in support of the just-released Marilou, Équipe de Foot plays with abandon and confidence, thrashing through some real gems: the METZ-ian “A Little Disagreement,” the poignant “Fireworks,” the playful and wailing “Stammering.”

But the new LP’s standout track, the raging and reflective “I Could Go To Sleep And Die,” encapsulates the band’s goofy charm, for while it treats heavy topics such as death and regret and self-doubt, an ice-breaking giggle or frivolous interlude is never far off. 

And why not? If Nero can play the fiddle while Rome burns, why shouldn’t Équipe de Foot kick out the jams while half of Paris’ grande dame is reduced to ashes?

Eric Bensel