Monday, May 22, 2006

It's over

A couple of reviews/impressions from last gigs.

a) 1, 2 – cauri!

It was a great event, full of excitement, although really different from the previous Skaņu Mežs party. First of all, because of the venue – an area of the Riga port territory, which is recently given away to different artists who are welcome to develop their projects there. But all this is just a technicality, in reality it is just a wonderful place – semi-industrial objects from the Soviet times on a bank of the river Daugava and a picturesque panorama of the city.

The main floor was located in a rather large hall, which looked like a former factory. I started warm-up with some electrohop/IDM, and soon Tim Exile followed with his live performance. Standing behind his laptop, screaming in a mic and dressed in a pink jacket with angel wings attached he looked (and sounded) so wicked. His music was a bit harder than on the last records, more hardcore/breakcore, but at the same time being playful and inventive, because of the thorough live processing (at least, that was the impression I got). It was a shame that Tim was chosen to play so early, when people just started gathering and not being ready for fierce dancing yet.

The next was some local industrial guy Marchwitza, who were into some kind of electronic body music, I guess. I didn't see him much, but people said he was cool. Meanwhile I went to check another party nearby – a small open-air sound system run by friends and surrounded with a cosy and lively vibe. It was free of charge plus the weather was beautiful, so no surprise the spot was crowded. After many years I saw Martinez Gonzales playing his own tracks there – amazing melodies, smooth bass, and summer-time mood! (I should write something more about this guy for those who don't know him yet, e.g., non-Latvian readers.) After him Android (a half of Alexandroid project, Lo Recordings) was spinning some really nice, intelligent techno tunes. Everybody was dancing until police came and stopped the party.

OK, back to the main stage. Cobra Killers had started there. They are two girls from Berlin, melting noise, industrial, electopop and spooky melodies into weird collages. Still it was more about performance – actually they sang on top of the pre-recorded songs. Both were dressed really kinky – high heels, short skirts, long stockings etc. –, and acted in a sort of provoking way, but still keeping some distance (so berliner). The sound could be better, especially vocals from mics. The only enjoyable place was right in front of the speakers.

After the Cobras Ned Beckett – a Warp DJ – began his laptop set. Many interesting tracks, but, again, the sound was too ravish and the venue – too echoing, not really appropriate for IDM stuff. No, I mean, people enjoyed it as an underground rave party, where a booming soundsystem and feeling that this was something special were enough, and where you do not give a shit about some specific things like acoustic parameters, sound clarity etc. No doubt, it was indeed something special as the Warp artists don't come to Latvia every week. Then again it was mine and DJ Drazza's turn to play until the end. It went quite freestyle as far I remember. In fact, by that time we both were already quite drunk, but somehow it goes well together with Skaņu Mežs traditions and the general mood in these parties.

To conclude with the party was kicking, and I'm sure that the quality of sound in this venue is just a matter of time. I hope they will keep rocking on, and we will see there many other great artists.

Some more photos here.

b) Vive la Fête

They played in Luxembourg recently. It was very nice, kitschy and elegant pop music or electropop to be more precise. I was expecting to see just a duo – Els Pynoo and Danny Mommens – but there were three more players thus forming a real live band. Indeed their music was even more live than in records – they used live (processed) drums, bass, guitar, and synths, of course. Because of guitars their music was a bit reminiscent of another cool electropop band – Ladytron.

All of them had long hairs hiding their eyes, besides the guys who were playing keyboards and bass had black masks on their eyes, if I'm not mistaken (a bit like Chris Corner in his I am X project, which is also fine e-pop stuff). The guys had black haircuts as in their song Schwarzkopf: "Les cheveux noirs comme une pop star, C'est ce que je veux pour ce soir" (Black hair as of a pop star, that's what I want tonight). Naturally, Els Pynoo – the lead singer – was the most distinctive with her blond hair and sexy ballerina outfit.

They did their performance professionally and artistically despite that the crowd was quite reserved (well, that's Luxembourg, plus it was a working day). Vive la Fête is a typical party/discotheque band, and obviously people hadn't had a proper warm-up. Regarding their music it may be not something very original or sophisticated, but it is good of its kind. A bit silly, melodic and groovy songs about having fun, sex and party. Yes, basically about party – the longer, the better.

However, everything comes to its end. The final encore song they played without Els – it was a cover version of old good classic Ça plane pour moi originally composed by Plastic Bertrand in 1977. Mommens had a long guitar solo and afterwards he just passed his guitar into the crowd (amazing, I had never seen anything like this). Few moments and they are gone. Cheers! La fête est fini, vive la fête!

p.s. the photo of Els Pynoo (VLF) is kindly given to me by Gilles.

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