Thursday, 5 November 2009

French Punk: Bérurier Noirs

The thing is: Les Bérurier Noirs quickly gained a huge popularity with high-school students, those ones who wears long ugly dresses, have dreadlocks, who believe that anarchy means "smoking joints" and see Jim Morrison as the Greatest R'n'R Icon Of All The Time.

Anyway, Les Bérurier Noirs were much more than that. They gave to the far left wing a clear demonstration of autonomy (setting up concerts, labels, fanzine, giving to all the scene the aim to start) and an immortal chorus for anti-National Front demonstration: "La jeunesse emmerde le Front National" ("Youngster fuck The National Front", which is still much better than "If the kids are united...").

So for an overview, Les Béruriers Noirs were a dark-and-nihilist-Rudimentary Peny-lyrics-on-Cabaret Voltaire-sound, turned after a while into a Crass-meet-Crisis-meet-huge-success band.

The beginning of Les Bérurier Noirs is reaaaaalllllllly good. An absolutely amazing scary band sounding and looking like a homemade small guerrilla-unit band. A beat box called Dédé, some dry and minimalist riff and screaming of incredibly scary and aggressive lyrics: anti-psychiatrics ("I got a hole in my head/ thanks Mum, Dad! /Lobotomy, lobotomy"), sick and sordid tabloid tales, i/u/nsane manifestos haunted by death, nuclear war and fascist regimes.

Started as a duo (voice/guitars/beatbox), they quickly accepted anybody from saxophonists (Masto, ex-Lucrate Milk) to dancers, singers (something like 5 people to do a hooligan choir -including Helno, future Negresses Vertes), and a graphic designer. All that with the purpose to create a small force theatre (Ok, my translation sucks, do yours by yourself: "Petit theatre de force"), kind of street theatre (puppets, mask, dance, clowns and other hippy bullshit -you know, the stuff with iron balls and fire) mixed with class-war/anarchist politics vocabulary (they actually did a flyer calling the thievery of Dédé a “terrorist attack”) and punk rock gigs.

Of course it was something of an innocent quite post-modern carnival, but also revealed some of the ambitions of Bérurier Noir: Creating a cultural anarchist society through squat and punk culture. Something not far from Crass. So from the great ideological aim of autonomy and DIY, BxN start to deal with the myth of the "raïa" (something in between the extended band of mates and the punk community). Another French expression about those generations of punks (up to 1987, even after) is "punk à chien"; kind of pre-Grebo sub culture, made of dogs, bad beer, dodgy squats and lost kids on glue. Something not really glamorous. But honest. Bérurier Noir became the voice of this punk generation, against war, nuclear, far right, psychiatrics and, you know, all the stuff the punks fight against when they're not drunks.

And they started to sing of youth crew and unity. And quickly ONLY about that.

So, unfortunately, the late albums are highly unrecommended (from Souvent Fauché, Toujours Marteau, even if the half of the previous album -Abracadabroum- is... how to say that... bad.) Not only because of the lyrics, but also because of this horrible 80's heavy guitar sound. However some songs still works, like SOS, despite this close-to-stupid chorus (SOS, too many selfish on earth/SOS, War is madness... SOS, No soviet, neither US/SOS, no Islam, neither napalm/International SOS).

Just before completely becoming a French Joan Baez-with-patch-and-badge-and-dogs-and-spikes, and just at their zenith, they decided to commit suicide (read; to split) after some separation gigs. Finishing with a "Long life to free Rock"

The funniest thing is still the fact that they decided to stage a reformation (called "deformation") few years ago. And during their first gig, there started in the streets around an actual riot of punks Vs police.

Btw, on the BxN website, you can listen to all the albums/singles/tapes/compilation/flyer/.../ on streaming.


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