Sydney Festival: Asa and Féfé

Last night was my third Sydney Festival event. It was a gig, part of the festival’s So Frenchy, So Chic series, and took place at the Keystone Bar at Hyde Park Barracks. I like that as a festival venue: it’s downtown and feels busy, and has a good mix of semi-indoor (in the tent) and outdoor areas that flow very well.

First was Asa, whose gentle, jazzy set was pretty average for the first few songs. But the groove and impact picked up as she went on. Her soulful songs – part R&B, part rock – became catchier and punchier. And she’s irresistibly likeable herself: she dances, she plays the trumpet, she chats with the front row, and she looks like a funky librarian.

Soon followed Féfé. He and his band were fun from the start. They play hip-hop with lots of pop and funk. And he will not leave the crowd alone: the (moderately obliging) assembled listeners had to do our fair share of hand waving, clapping, jumping, singing, running left and right, and screaming. That almost all of the songs were in French was fine. Between Féfé and his DJ there was lots of energy going on, and the point was clear: have fun.