There is only one rule at this show, it is a place of love and peace, no Judgement, Only Love.” Christine and the Queens take Latitude Festival with a Vivacious and harmonious set
Five people arrive onto the stage each one of them dressed the same in a white shirt and grey slacks. They gather together facing away from the crowd and nestled in amongst them is Héloïse Letissier. Héloïse (more commonly known as Christine) is without doubt the majesty of what she dubs ‘freak pop.’ Creator of Christine and the Queens and flawless wobbly Jackson-esk dance moves she was the name on everyone’s lips at this year’s Latitude Festival. Her and her bandmates swizzle on their heels and the set begins with Christine proclaiming: “There is only one rule at this show, it is a place of love and peace, and the rule is that you get to be whoever you want to be, whoever or whatever that is. There is no judgement here, only love.”
She waves at a man in the crowd admiring his pink tutu and sequinned top and bursts into ‘Starshipper’ raining flawless moves and bubbly beats across the crowd. The electricity of her animated performance is profound as well as playful. She bounds around the stage triumphantly declaring:
“I am a little boy.” “In the words of Dr Seuss why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Identity and gender feature heavily in Héloïse’s music. Struggling for years with her own self image she created Christine; a character who comfortable in her own skin, capable of overcoming crippling stage fright and unabashedly throwing herself around in front of a crowd of thousands of people. Since her creation Christine and Héloïse have become unequivocally entwined, they are one and the distinct confidence with which Héloïse now conducts herself is monumental. Christine and Héloïse together certainly make one remarkable human being.
She leans down to the stage floor to rummage through a colourful pile of flowers, and tugging a perfect yellow rose from the bunch she holds it out towards the crowd. “This is Rhianna,” she says gently admiring Rhianna’s petals. She grabs a second flower that has a precarious snap across its middle and waves it around playfully so that it flops from side to side. “And this is me, broken, and bent, but at least I am part of the bouquet.” She proceeds to bite Rhianna’s head off, yellow petals spewing from her mouth and then breaks out into dance continuing her set. Song after song, beat after frenzied beat rolls out, ‘Saint Claude,’ ‘Ugly Pretty,’ Tilted’ all an eclectic mix from her latest album; Chaleur Humaine.
Her glowing stage presenceHer glowing stage presence is utterly enchanting, she captures her crowd with her simple catchy beats, evocative lyrics and Thriller esk contortions, which are beautiful in their obscurity. She crouches low and sidles over in front to the left of the stage, a few flecks of Rhianna’s yellow petals still clinging to her shirt and she stares directly into my camera lens so that I have to put it down in order to lock eyes with her, she smiles as the distinguished punchy beats of ‘IT’ ricochet across the tent, and she opens her mouth and begins to sing:
“With it I become the death Dickinson feared, With it I’m the red admiral on his ship… I’ll rule over all my dead impersonations.. I’ve done it, I’m a man now.”
Christine takes over, her magnetism is irresistible drawing you in and spitting you out, leaving you with a sense of profound ascension that only comes with seeing a true and raw talent take the stage. Despite her recent rise to stardom she remains humble and self doubting, giving us parts of herself that we shouldn’t really see. Though, in spite of her insecurities Christine certainly doesn’t seem bent and broken. Her confidence is utterly palpable and infectious. After she left the stage the crowd lingered seemingly unsure of what to do next, left in state of awe and euphoria by a little unassuming French woman. Her power is overwhelming and her performances lively, energetic and simultaneously sobering. Throughout she was unapologetically herself, humble, bonkers, a little boy, a woman, and most of all human.
Chaleur Humaine is widely available now and Christine and her queens are due to perform a few UK shows at the end of this year. Venue’s are largely already sold out so be quick off the mark if you want to find tickets before they disappear completely!