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NOV. 9 & 10
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There’s nothing subtle about Les Tambours du Bronx. Hailing not from the New York borough but from France’s industrial Nevers region, this 20-man percussion ensemble relentlessly bangs out hypnotic rhythms with pickax handles against large metal oil drums. Now on its first North American tour, the crew formed in 1987 when its members spontaneously chose to get together and perform at the “De Nevers a l’aube” (“From Nevers till dawn”) festival. Pleased with the results, they remained a unit and began fine-tuning their approach. Les Tambours have since released four CDs and have wowed European festival crowds with their live-show meld of walloping beats, strobe lights, and insistent movements. Likened to Stomp’s industrial clang, the harsh tribal gallop of these French stickmen also shows roots in Japanese taiko and kodo drumming, African and Bahian polyrhythmic pounding, and clanging European and American industrial rock. On their most recent release, the 1999 effort ironically titled [silence], these Bronx bombers deliver 11 three- to six-minute-long audio projectiles. “Requiem” is punctuated by the crash of broken glass, but it’s the simple marching-drum propulsion that drives the piece. “Etouffez la Ventoline” overlays electronically distorted vocals on a head-nodding, forceful rhythmic pattern. Throughout the album, the drummers demonstrate that they’re more fascinated with intensity and power than with chaos and confusion. At 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, and Friday, Nov. 10, at the Barns of Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. $30. (703) 218-6500. (Steve Kiviat)