Thursday, October 24, 2013

65daysofstatic and sleepmakeswaves @ Mocvara 11Oct2013

I rarely come late to a gig but I also rarely check the itinerary for the gig.

I find that “door at 20:00, support at 21:00 and headliner at 22:30” often boils down to “door at 20:00 and after that you’re in the club, conversing, buying drinks and having a generally good time so why would you need to know when particular part of gig starts!?”.

I checked the itinerary of this gig and subsequently I was late. I was not pleased with myself.

But I was very pleased with beautiful, crystalline sound in Mochvara set for sleepmakeswaves. It was beautiful right as I entered through the door and it was equally great wherever I went through the crowd. They have this exquisite melodic guitar unhindered with effect and its sound was meandering around people inside nicely packed Mochvara hall. I thoroughly enjoyed all the songs played live there and I enjoy listening to them at home so go check their bandcamp page and have a taste test - maybe you will like them too, because - let’s face it! - who wouldn’t love the band that presents itself with a sentence “we write love songs about delay pedals” ;-)

Sleepmakeswaves climbed off stage and went to merch stand in the vestibule* and looking so up close I’ve noticed that apart from awkwardly standoffish manner Alex Wilson is really an extremely attractive guy. I lingered a bit while sipping on my cold beverage, mostly lost in a daydream, and then went off to check how the stage is coming along.

Stage master for this occasion was Frank Forman and I thought this a good sign as Mr. Forman is guitar specialist so this could mean that upcoming 65dos show will not be so electronically based as last show in Zagreb was, or so I was told. Since I also prefer their more post-rockish sound to their tranc-y electronic one noticing this was a great joy.

And when the show started this joy was multiplied countless times.

Sound was really, really excellent, they were in good spirits and the audience was mellow, good willed and up for some dancing. And I danced too.

Frank played a song with 65s and I clapped happily when he was thanked and introduced until my hands went numb. I liked that.

When I particularly enjoy a gig I just surf on a wave of happiness, completely forgetting which songs I heard and how long does it last and I’m not thirsty or tired and don’t have to pee and this wonderful, warm, cottony happiness completely hides me from reality. There’s just me and the music. Dancing. 

That is how it was.

I’m gonna do it again.

*this strikes me as definitely the best word for Mochvara bar area so I’m using it. Deal with it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Portman, Elephant Stalker and Hesperian Death Horse at KSET 03Oct2013

On Thursday October 3rd evening I went to KSET to hear Portman promote their new album The Man Who Carries a Light.

As I walked through the door Elephant Stalker started to play.

They are magnificent and I love them to bits.

I first listened to them in Spunk with Rens Argoa and Moraines on 15Jun2013 and I remember being rendered speechless all through their act. I also remember asking Rens Argoa guys how is it possible that we have such treasure within our grasp and that they are still not widely acknowledged and all of us sighing and exchanging familiar glances of complete non-surpriseness.

We are acutely aware of where are we living at, it seems.

And yet, such magnificence exists here to regale us.

Elephant Stalker were great this night also.

As KSET was nicely packed from the very start I chose to watch them from gallery. The sound was excellent and they were in good spirits, frontman jovially spoke to the audience:

“And now we will play one of our songs, from EP available on bandcamp. Whoever knows the words can freely sing with us.*”

There were also some jesters in the audience as I clearly heard someone sing “Na na Naa Na” during one catchy passage.

After a quick breather, Hesperian Death Horse were next.

I did not like this. I did not like this one bit.

I do not know what actually happened but there was a problem with the sound. Quite opposite from Elephant Stalker, sound for HDH was terrible to say the least. It was too loud and it was tuned so just bass sounds were prominent and the rest of sound landscape was muffled nearly into non-existance. It was so unpleasantly loud that I could feel my innards trembling with the bass. I was also surprised by the selection of tastes Elephant Stalker - Hesperian Death Horse - Portman as HDH sounded like something from completely different music book. It was pretty cold evening so I didn’t feel like standing outside but I got as much away as I could, right by the checking room, and it was still too loud and muffled.

When they finished I talked to acquaintance a bit and I shared my concern:

“As I did not listen to them before I’m not sure if this is what they are supposed to sound like but I think this visceral unpleasantness would be really a cheap trick for someone in this musical genre. “

But he chose to answer with sarcasm and condescension on top of blatant disregard of objective parameters and, I shit you not, with:

"I may not know anything about art but I know what I like."**

... so I think this acquaintance phase can only go downhill from here. Sometimes human relations are so simple and easily predictable.

To top this off after I got home I did listen to Hesperian Death Horse album on bandcamp and it seems to me that this was not a cheap trick but sound-setting error as they actually sound great on the album, with varied and bright musical picture and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the album, with no unpleasantness of any kind.

When Portman went on stage sound was again excellent (re-set maybe?) and the frontman was just like I remembered him from Maybeshewill concert in Attack! plus a beard. I frequently remember subtle details about a person’s gait and “feel” they leave on people and pervasive quality (“aura”) they carry with them and I remember this particular mixture of standoffishness and penetration like most particular bouquet, intoxicating and wonderful in its essence, if somewhat somber in nature.

 They played excellently and I have already at that time listened to their release about a dozen times (even if it was only released that same morning) and I was sad I had to leave for home after just three songs but my kid had "Bread Day" celebration tomorrow morning and she remembered to tell me she needs freshly baked goods just as I was leaving for concert. So I went home and baked, pleased with the results of both the gig and baking session.

* Them being instrumental band makes this comment funny
** saying atributed to Orson Welles, btw

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Yawns at Tvornica 27Sep2013

I went to see The Yawns play at Tvornica last Friday.

Day was long and preceding week positively terrible and I was just in the mood for some fresh indie and a tiny bit of socializing and this evening was just a perfect score.

Afternoon was coldish and it rained so evening did not feel promising for a bike ride. Around half past nine I sat in my car and picked up a friend and we drove to town, chatting away. Streets were empty and we found a parking spot fast and we came to Tvornica to find it nearly empty. I had a tiny bit of fun joking with the bouncer and inside there were few girls and barmaids and we got a drink while more people gathered. It was a busy evening with two more gigs that I know of and a club called Klub opening night. Overlaps of gigs that count on the same audience are so funny in a town this small. Few more of our music friends joined so we made more scene jokes and sipped our drinks.

At one moment small group of people passed by us and went on stage. I did my homework and listened to their materials before I went to see them and I found them interesting and very listenable so maybe you too should give them a go and check out their bandcamp page. My favorite is I Win.

Most noticeable thing seeing them live was their age. They seem so very, very young. But they come across as very nice, civilized folk and their frontman talked quite a bit and regaled us with his directness and unpretetiousness.

He introduced the band, told us they have come from Scotland and thanked the hosts for wonderful meal and he continued to amble and speak of personal details in between songs and to introduce every song to us with a few words:

"This one is called: I believe in UFOs. You know, the flying saucers"

There were so few of us in the audience, maybe 20 together with Mali Pogon personnel, but it felt nice and heartfelt from both sides, both to listen and to perform, it seemed. I was thinking about how funny this is, how much of attention and grandeour does the band naming themselves "The Yawns" would actually expect.

"This one, color, I don't know what do you call it in Croatian, like that [shows something by first guitarist] - that color! Brown. That is my favorite color."

They have loveliest, most beautiful bass player I ever saw live. Wonderful color and grace, sparkle in her eyes and real proficiency in playing.

And they have played all the songs they had. All. And it was over.
Small group of people went over to them and asked them for merch and talked with them for a while and it was so great to see this; fans so overwhelmed with joy they can converse with the band and band so overwhelmed with joy to be loved and sought in some distant spot of the planet far away from home.

And then they packed their stuff in under ten minutes, I swear.

I never saw enything being done so efficiently. One moment everything was there and in the next stage was a blank canvas.

We lingered contently a bit over our drinks and then went into the night.