François R. Cambuzat (guitar, voice)
Gianna Greco (bass, voice)
The last time Putan Club played in Barcelona, they were a wonderful surprise because I’d been unfamiliar with their music. This year’s performance was enhanced by a sense of sharp anticipation. In fact, the friend from London who was with me last year even flew out just to see them, arriving a few hours before the gig and returning home first thing the following morning.
So what’s so special? Two things. First, the music and second, the attitude which informs it. The combination is why there’s no one else quite like François Cambuzat and Gianna Greco.
Previous labels applied to their music (by me, among others) include ‘punk’, ‘industrial’, ‘noise’, ‘avant-garde’, and so on but on repeated listening and a second sweat-soaked closer look/listen, I’d say labels are misleading. You could just as easily categorise them as ‘world music’ given that underneath the bludgeoning and exhilarating volume lie some intricate non-Western rhythms and accents – Arabian nights and North African days… Pretty damn noisy world music, to be sure, but it’s as good a label as any, if you need one.
So forget music industry categories. Putan Club are loud. Putan Club are relentless and often heavy. Putan Club play electric guitar and bass over deceptive drum rhythms and percussion tracks programmed with exacting care. Putan Club herd and intimidate their audience, somehow without a trace of aggression. Putan Club sing with throat-killing intensity. Putan Club sweat for their music. Putan Club’s music makes it impossible to stand still.
As for the attitude… in a post-performance/pre-encore ‘speech’, the inimitable Monsieur Cambuzat explains their stance: eschewing record labels, ignoring the traditional music media, steering clear of “boring” Northern Europe, playing up to 250 shows per year (many in China, Asia, Africa…) and making it work quite nicely, thank you very much. Free, unfettered, and couldn’t give a fuck about anything except playing the music – a festival crowd or a room of 20, both get the same complete dedication, the same experience. If I were given to bad mulitlingual puns (which apparently I am), I’d say they were “de puta(n) madre” (sorry).
And finally, at the risk of embarrassing them both, in conversation François and Gianna also seem to be two of the most unassuming, charming and lovely people I’ve ever met. In the 21st century, there’s no need for contrived unpleasantness or cult of personality, just music that moves the listener expressed without restraint…
For all things ‘Putan’, start your online explorations at putanclub.org