By Burt Scheer
On Saturday, September 24th, 2022, Fievel Is Glaque brought a unique, experimental twist to the Portland music scene before heading to Seattle to continue their tour. The Coachella II festival they were featured in was hosted by Yellow Room’s bassist and vocalist, Jordan Krinsky in North Portland. The other headliners included Sea Moss, Dim Wit, Woogie, Boreen, Source Material, Eric Shlappi, and Wing Vilma.
In between songs, Boreen acknowledged the significant loss within the music community of Pharoah Sanders, the legendary saxophonist who passed away earlier that morning. Not only did Sanders push the limits of jazz farther, he often preached about how music is a healing force. This message reminded the organizers of music’s ability to help those in need and affirmed their fundraising goals for the night. All proceeds for Coachella II went directly to The National Network of Abortion Funds. The intention behind this event fiscally supported safe and accessible abortions and reinforced the power that the music community can yield.
Fievel is Glaque is composed of Zach Phillips and Ma Clément who serendipitously met and formed Fievel Is Glaque in Brussels in 2018. Since then, they have collaborated with various artists from all over the world at their shows. At this show in particular, Phillips played the keyboard and Clément sang vocals. While they have only released one full album, they released two new singles, “The River” and “Go Down Softly” on September 2. Their first album, “God’s Trashmen Sent Right to the Mess” (2021) was created with a low budget, twenty something other musicians from various places ranging from New York to Southern France, and a lot of experimenting.
The innovative and improvisational nature of their music, reminiscent of older jazz and punk groups, was apparent at the show. One of their accompanying musicians rotated between the saxophone and the flute, adding fresh new chord progressions throughout the set. There were several instances where Phillips paused a song to change the volume or pace of either the bass, flute, or sax. These interruptions displayed an admirable amount of precision and care to how the songs were heard by the audience. It was obvious that Phillips and Clément wanted the crowd to hear their lyrics, sax, and bass in their highest form and wouldn’t stand for anything less.
Because they only release songs in their live version, hearing them in person only heightened the listening experience. They are certainly a band who understands the importance of how different spaces contribute to production value, which was reflected with how they organized the set and performers on stage. The order of the set was clearly flexible, as Phillips and Clément frequently negotiated over which songs should be prioritized. Fievel Is Glaque straddles the line between many different genres, from jazz to post punk. Despite this variety, they beautifully mimic the free flowing, ever evolving nature of jazz. Watching this set felt like simultaneously going back in time and seeing what the future has to offer.
Fievel Is Glaque is currently touring with the Anglo-French avant-pop sensation, Stereolab. If you are a fan of Stereolab, experimental jazz, post punk, French music, or lyrics that are constructed from the inner subconscious, I would suggest listening to Fievel Is Glaque’s latest releases. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in music from a band who was loosely named after a socialist Mickey Mouse figurehead!