• Did I miss something?

    Jul 13 2011, 23h13

    Wed 13 Jul – A Place to Bury Strangers

    I was sorely disappointed. Perhaps it was simply beyond me, but what I heard was sound. Just lots of sound, not music. There's shoe-gazing and then there's APtBS and to me they're not the same. No hypnotic blanket of sound, no emotional build-ups, no glorious revelations, just sound. No amount of throwing guitars in the air without catching them would make it sound any better. Nor would flashy lights, single notes for five minutes, a mustache, defiant looks, building up to an apex of... fuck all. Maybe beyond mastering your guitar, lies this type of music and I'm just not ready for it. If that's the case, then I'd rather keep practicing.
  • Well Well Well

    Mai 23 2010, 14h48

    Fri 7 May – Dorian Wood

    Picture the scene: on holiday in the south of France. Contrary to expectations seen naught but cold, rain and even snow, none of which are any fun when camping. We arrive in Montpellier where we stay at a friend's place. Dry and warm: all is good once again. He proposes to take us to a concert at his favourite place, Baloard. We gladly accept, because hey, bliss reigns. So one evening we find ourselves at a neat, little, headstrong bistro (Non, we do not serve French fries on principle) not at all knowing what to expect. After a great dinner we descend the stairs into the Concert-crypt, Cellars of Sound, Tomb of Turmoil of which we saw visuals upstairs during dinner.

    The support act of this evening was a three-headed collective of, what I presume were, local heroes. A guitar multi-pedalist, knob-turning button-pusher and photon-blasting close-up-filmer. Together they made loads of noise, which sometimes enticed, but mostly confused their audience or at least 'yours truly'. If this was going to set the mood for the evening, I wasn't too sure this would end a happy night for me.

    Enter main act, Dorian Wood.

    "Oh" and "Dear" were the first two words that formed in my head upon the arrival of Dorian. He is a rather... large individual whose wardrobe had endowed him with a black, fake silk, witch's garment accompanied by a red, squid-like balaclava that reminded me immediately of the meanie in "Pirates of the Caribbean". He took his place behind his keyboard and exchanged some looks with his only stage-company who would support him on guitar and some multi-stringed instrument of which I don't know the name, but which sounds totally pleasant. I was ready for anything.

    Looks can be deceiving and in some cases unnecessary, to my opinion. Maybe his exuberant clothing was needed to hide nerves or something. Anyway, I gladly forgive him. Dorian is compared to many artists on, but I could think of only one. His voice, his quirky lyrics and to some extent his demeanour reminded me of Antony and the Johnsons, though somewhat less heavy and more playful. In no time Dorian had the crowd eating out of his hand with his intense songs. He continuously reached out for and found his audience while seemingly effortlessly hopping from tragedy to cheekiness and back. This culminated in his performance of Well Well Well, which had the entire cellar bellowing the chorus in unison.

    I would like to describe my overall impression of this concert as 'tremendous'. I've found, however, that Dorian Wood's stage presence or the memory thereof add significantly to the pleasure of listening to his latest album, Bolka. If it were up to me, I'd see more of his shows and I'm curious where his talents will lead him.
  • The support that could

    Mar 20 2010, 18h27

    Fri 19 Mar – Isbells, VENcE

    Isbells are a musical collective from Ghent, Belgium that produce atmospheric and intimate music, compared by some to Fleet Foxes. They did a set promoting their debut album Isbells. Using their voices, several types of acoustic guitars, a mandolin, ukulele, slide guitar and more, they attempted to reach the Vera-crowd and in some cases did.

    Well, I'm sure musical taste is a highly personal thing and I saw many a happy face during the performance. To me however Isbells just sounded like lots of "oooohoooohoooo" and "lalaaalalaaa" with two notes on an otherwise unused bass guitar. Reverb galore, lyrics that didn't really do anything for me and a distant sort of stage-attitude that may have been caused by nerves. According to my girlfriend, Isbells' music is girly music: all cuddles and no sex. I tend to agree.

    To me this concert would have been a wasted night, were it not for the support act - or foreplay to stick to the metaphor - VENcE. Now here's a bunch of talented musicians! Cello, violin, guitar, vocals, a great little drum kit combined with a variety of influences and bold creativity got the crowd a-foot tapping in no time. These guys clearly thoroughly enjoyed what they were doing together and the way they were doing it. The variation in their songs made listening a most pleasant experience. This band might go far. Go get their album The Beggar's Butler.
  • Observing Dodos in their natural habitat

    Dez 1 2008, 0h55

    Sun 30 Nov – The Dodos, Jennifer Gentle

    The most recent episode of the Noorderzon Festival in Groningen had an interesting share of what can be categorized as 'subtle' acts booked for the main stage, such as Tinariwen, Efterklang and also The Dodos. Now for those of you that have never visited the Noorderzon festival, the main stage is placed rather unusually across a large pond. As a consequence, bands find themselves playing to a large, wet and above all empty space where they're used to seeing the thick of the crowd. This is fine in many cases, but the more intimate and/or intricate types of music tend to, well, drown before reaching the audience that gathers at the pond's edges. This happened to Efterklang and also, be it less so, to the Dodos (I missed Tinarwen's performance, but I can imagine he had a hard time too). Needless to say, I was rather curious to see how the Dodos would do in a regular venue setting, in this case Vera.

    Before that though, we were treated to support act Jennifer Gentle which tried to get us in the mood. Their style might be described as chaotic, energetic and humoristic. The singing voice of the guitarist/singer was so annoying to me though, that I wasn't sad to see them clear the stage in favour of the main act.

    The Dodos delivered. Clearly these are skilled and dedicated musicians endowed with an inventiveness that makes them unique in the musical world. From start to finish this gig was a wonderful mix of impetuous flowing beat occasionally spiced up by a rhythmic bumps and hypnotic tapestries of sound with lovely, loose threads sticking out. At times, the reverb-originating backing vocals of the guitarist/singer would go on a slight stampede, but all was saved from going horribly askew by the solid rhythmic base of the band. In the back, the keyboardist/xylophonist/percussionist would spend his time grooving out of sight on the floor, only to pop up like a jack-in-the-box to add that bit of muscle or fur when needed. Obviously this is the type of place where the music of the Dodos is best consumed and I'm very glad I did.
  • Pivot in Vera

    Out 30 2008, 0h30

    Wed 29 Oct – Pivot
    Laat ik het maar bekennen: ik ben een Pivot-leek. Ik had nooit van ze gehoord, maar het label dat ze opgeplakt kregen door de diverse media die ik raadpleegde, maakte me erg nieuwsgierig. De vloer was nog goed te zien, dus ik was kennelijk één van de weinigen.

    Op het podium verschenen in driehoeksformatie een drummer, een toetsenist/gitarist en een laptop/knoppenbestuurder die gedrieën meteen vol van start gingen. De drummer liet zijn ADHD de vrije loop en stortte eigenhandig een prachtig vat chaos over de ietwat beduusde Vera-crowd. Mijn gedachten waren net richting muziek van Venetian Snares en Otto von Schirach afgedreven toen, volledig onverwacht, een schijnbaar ordinaire disco-beat werd ingezet. Dit bleek meer de tendens te worden van de avond dan het ietwat ongrijpbare begin.

    De beukende basis werd steevast gelegd door de lap-top. Bij tijd en wijle was die zo ontzettend bruut, dat de onderbuik en bortskas het door de trillingen zwaar te verduren kregen. Persoonlijk zal ik er trouwens nooit aan wennen om iemand achter een toetsenbord te zien staan swingen. Al met al deed de muziek me dan weer denken aan een opgevoerde Efterklang (compleet met hairdo), dan weer aan een Indie-band met epilepsie en later aan het geluid van het verfrommelen van een krant, zij het 10.000 keer versterkt. Met de toegift werd ons onder andere nog een portie Salsa voorgeschoteld dat gelukkig ook langzaamaan in vette brij verdween.

    Kritiek op Pivot die ik ergens las (ik meen de 3voor12 site) was, dat de muziek de oefenruimte maar met moeite ontgroeid was. Daar kan ik me wel enigszins in vinden. Maar toch, ook in de oefenruimte kan het soms verdomd goed toeven zijn. CD O Soundtrack My Heart op zak, een welbestede avond.