A new album from Bodh’aktan to whet your appetite for when live concerts return. Recorded during their last major tour across venues in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Quebec.
Anyone out there remember live gigs? For me it was a great night out in Staines enjoying a very nice evening of culture with Peter And The Test Tube Babies but all seems like a long distant fading memory now. So it seems rather apt now that we are on the verge of a semblance of normality returning that we should be reviewing a live album. The ever prolific Bodh’aktan, this is their eighth album now, recorded all their live shows from their 2019 summer tour and handpicked the best versions of eleven of their most loved songs for this release on their 10th anniversary.
Bodh’aktan formed in Québec in 2011 so eight albums is pretty damn good and judging by their placing’s on the various Celtic-Punk end of year awards they have been pretty well received by all. The songs here come from pretty much their entire back catalogue with four taken from debut album Au Diable Les Remords in 2011. Only their last album De Temps et de Vents is absent no doubt because of the lack of gigs since its release.
The album begins with ‘Nothing But A Game’ the first of a couple of songs taken from the Paleo Festival in Switzerland. From their album of English speaking songs Ride Out The Storm it’s a jolly romp that is made solely for enjoying yourself. Like all the songs here a Bodh’aktan concert is a time to forget yourself and immerse yourself and have a good time. Concerts are the life blood of Celtic-Punk and like no other genre it is all about enjoying yourself. ‘Les Dames Du Large’ is from that debut album and has a slight ‘western’ tinge to it. More thigh slapping follows with ‘La Bonne Journée – La Suite De La Capitale’ and a album standout. Catchy and lyric packed (I can’t tell you what they are saying) Alex’s voice fits superbly. This song is is from a intimate performance on the Magdalen Islands, in the heart of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a place with much symbolic meaning for Irish-Canadians. The music up to now has been fairly laid back and it can perhaps be forgiven that they haven’t packed the album with their rowdiest Celtic-PUNK songs but ‘Zimmerman’ certainly gets the blood racing. Mostly acoustic the electric guitar is placed behind the acoustic guitar but the still rocks in that way that The Pogues showed us (“the loudest acoustic band in the world”). These fella’s are great musicians and show it off with the traditional instrumental ‘Le Medley Du Mal De Pieds’ with Alain’s lectric guitar allowed to come out of the shadows and enter the limelight along with Marc-Etienne and his fiddle. Breton and Irish influences abound here as the song reels off several reels packed together in just three minutes. The next couple of songs come from a concert in their home of Québec and show the width of the bands talents with ‘Par Chez Nous’ showcasing their stadium skills with the audience singing along to a slow, swirling ballad while ‘La Bouteille Est Agreable’ shows their other side with a rockier/ punky number. The nest three songs come from gigs in Italy, Shamrock Castle in Italy and Celti’Teuillac in France. The fiddle led ‘Ici’, the Newfoundland traditional ‘Heave Away’ and the country-ish ‘Samedi Soir Au Fais Dodo’ all crowd pleasers that continue the romp! The album ends with ‘Le 31 Du Mois D’Aout’ (in English ‘August 31st’) I’m sure it has some important significance so forgive me Québécois for my ignorance. A call to arms perhaps and a pint in the air / arms round your mates ballad to round things off with the obligatory fast ending to send you off into the night sweating and smiling.
Eleven songs may seem like a short album but Bodh’aktan don’t do short songs. Their songs are given a chance to breathe and at almost 45 minutes the album is both entertaining and even on the more lengthy songs never drags. With all the songs taken from different shows you might expect the album to be a bit disjointed but it flows absolutely perfectly. A triumph of the mixing room! A great album all told but then I am a big fan and with their frequent visits to Europe it’s not unreasonable to think I may get to see them live. Certainly on this showing it will be a experience worth saving up for!
Buy De part et d’autre de l’Atlantique Backlink
Disography Au Diable Les Remords (2011) * Against Winds And Tides (2013) * Tant Qu’il Restera Du Rhum… (2013) * Mixtape (2015) * Bodh’aktan (2016) * Ride Out The Storm (2018) * De Temps Et De Vents (2019)