dinsdag 31 oktober 2017

This Leo Sunrise, Moon Moon Moon, Lost Bear live. Saturday 28 October 2017, Vondelbunker Amsterdam

This Leo Sunrise. Photo: Wo.
Those following this blog have noticed how the releases of the independent label Tiny Room Records have found their way to these pages over the past year. Three acts of the label played a show together at one of the most unlikely venues I have ever visited, a former air raid shelter under the bridge crossing the Vondelpark. In this Vondelbunker shows of all kinds are organised by people who are always strapped for cash to keep the initiative going.



This Leo Sunrise
opened the evening. This isn't the best band I've ever saw, nor does the band have the best singer I know, but what it is extremely good at, is creating a special atmosphere and build up its songs with these little layers, that makes the initial mood shift into a next. Texture is added and an inner tension is brought into the music that is searching for a release. This often comes in the form of a violin, that takes on the lead role in the tightly playing band. I notice that this band holds some fine musicians that have the ability to hold back and release at the right times, without egos getting in the way. With her harmonies violin player Violet Meerdink adds a little angel dust to the music, giving it just this little extra. This Leo Sunrise plays on a thin line where I am concerned, but more often than not I find myself moving with the changes and being surprised where I find myself next. Often with a smile on my face. Intriguing band, to say the least.

Moon Moon Moon. Photo: wo.
Moon Moon Moon
is the bedroom project of  Mark Lohmann, where he does everything by himself. On stage this setting is not an option. Where I expected to find Mark behind a stash of things with keys and musicians around him doing the rest, I am introduced to a guitarist fronting a five piece band. His project is brought to the stage ever more, especially now that Moon Moon Moon is part of the Popronde. It is one thing to make music in your bedroom and quite another to present it on a stage. It is here where the five piece still have some meters to make. With the songs they had me before the show started, the next step is to perform them. Each of the five musicians has the ability to play. In fact I was quite impressed by what I heard in some of the songs and I haven't even started on the harmony singing four of the five bandmembers indulge in. An audience, however, may appear as a large entity, even a mass of people, in fact each person is an individual and that individual needs to be convinced that you are playing for her or him only. That is the challenge Moon Moon Moon faces now: to perform. Manage that and even during the quietest of songs people will remain silent. What was good to hear, is that the lo-fi recorded songs, with a strong dependency on atmosphere and noise, get a fine treatment in a hi-fi live setting, where they all come alive in well worked out arrangements. As I wrote, five fine musicians are on their way to become a band.

Lost Bear. Photo: Wo.
Lost Bear
is a band that is together for nine years and it showed. The band rocked out, (too) loud and to me proved that they can open for any Pearl Jam show where ever in the world. With a fantastically tight drummer and two guitarists who supported and enlarged each other's contributions, it was the bass player who was allowed to be the loosest of the bunch. Add to that a singer who creates some chaos in different ways: not knowing his lyrics, walk around looking like a raving lunatic, drink lots of beer, knocking the still filled bottles over over, while wringing sounds from himself, reading the lyrics from the inner sleeve of the LP someone hastily handed him. Lost Bear is a sight to see as well. The music seemed to get better by the song and just like its albums the music could go off in several directions, with hardly any pause or even none. Just some lingering feedback and the next song started, hardly giving me time to pause and think about what I was seeing and hearing. When somewhere during the show it was mentioned that the singer was leaving the band, I understood immediately this was bad news. This was not because he couldn't remember his lyrics, that much was clear. Afterwards I was told that Lost Bear has 200 (!) songs in need of finishing. A pool for a lifetime for most artists.

It was an interesting evening in the Vondelbunker, with three bands in total different stages of their development, but all three with, equally different, music deserving to be heard. Do not expect, dear reader, to have heard the last of Tiny Room Records releases on this blog. Expect the last one of 2017 in the coming month, by Garciaphone and we will all be surprised in 2018.

And the Vondelbunker. Yes, it is the weirdest venue I have ever gone to. The toilets are jammed, the Dixies outside are dark, but the beer was cold, the quality of the sound system in combination with the acoustics was a lot better than I had expected. Thanks to a person who was constantly working on the sound from his iPad. Once upon a time this must have been a squatters venue and it looks like the last remnants of the era are still lingering around. Make no mistake, I felt very welcome as a first timer. If you like to know more on the Vondelbunker, see here:

https://vondelbunker.nl/

On the releases on Tiny Room Records, see here:

http://www.tinyroom.nl/

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