What's that wafting this way? The stink of well-aged cheese? A ripe bouquet of sex and spilled wine? The craven stench of wartime neutrality? It's far too easy to skewer the French for a cheap laugh, which might help explain why the Consulate General Of France In Los Angeles and the French Embassy have gotten into the business of show promoting. From September 23 to 25, the Henry Fonda Theater will play host to the poorly named but quite promising Ooh La L.A. Festival.

French pop has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance of late, with old-timers like Daft Punk and Phoenix experiencing a popularity boom, and newcomers like the Perez-approved, rather fantastic Sliimy offering promise of something sustainable. None of those will be joining in the festivities, but those making the date are nothing to lift one's nose to.

The Goldenvoice-produced event is front-loaded with a headlining Wednesday-night set from synth-pop satyr Sébastien Tellier, preceded by Gonzales, frequent collaborator to Feist and Jamie Lidell and the current Guinness World Record holder for longest concert by a solo artist (300 songs in 27 hours). Knowing Gonzo, who puts on an incredible show (comedy, virtuosic playing, goofball rapping, guests, audience lessons), the crowd was enrapt the entire time.

Taken from Gonzales' 2007 DVD, From Major To Minor:

Opening the first night is experimental electronic duo Cocoon, while Thursday's lineup features covers act Nouvelle Vague performing all of Hollywood, Mon Amour, a 2008 tribute to 1980s film music that the group oversaw.

Preconceived notions about Frenchness not yet shattered? How about now:

Emilie Simon, who'd actually whip Natasha Khan in a Kate Bush-off, and arty folk-poppers The Dø round out the second night's bill.

Not to be forgotten, night three is reserved for the French electro, eschewing any obvious choices (Ed Banger?) for three genre-smearing up-and-comers: Brodinski, the Shoes and Jamaica (a.k.a. Poney Poney).

Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

LA Weekly