I experienced a highly anticipated concert last night. Trix in Antwerp was having it’s official kick start for their second season. It's a swell place, a small venue with cheap tickets and drinks and besides that strictly non smoking. The foreshadowed line-up of concerts is promising (see column) and so was the line-up for Friday’s concert. the entire evening was pretty relaxed, ideal for the end of the working week.
First was Soy Un Caballo, a band from Brussels. Nice people with a nice sound producing nice music. Sounds like Belle & Sebastian and a little bit like Stereolab because of the French tongue. They use guitars, vibraphones, and Wurlitzer. On their record Les Heures de Raison Will Oldham and The High Llamas join in for a duet but they were not there for the concert.
The understated, dreamy atmosphere of the music grows on you, so it takes a while before you start to get into it. Or maybe it was the liquor that did the final trick. By the way Caballo means horse.
After that came At The Close Of The Day a Dutch band. I’ve been a fan for a while now, but I never saw them live. I really don’t have much to say about it. They are one or the best band from Holland at this moment if you ask me but they don’t do anything new, which seems to be the case for most Dutch bands. I haven’t heard anything fresh and new from Holland lately. Anyway, they gave a great performance and a couple of new songs.
The actual star of the evening was Shara Worden better known as My Brightest Diamond. She used to do the backing vocals and some cheerleading in Sufjan Stevens' Illinoisemakers but she’s been touring solo for more than a year now to promote her debut album Bring Me The Workhorse from last year which was one of my favourites of 2006. Her music and especially her voice is magical. She fills the room, also with her wit and good humour. She can really capture the attention of an audience and bring it them to other places, which in this case is somewhere between Texas and the English Lake district.
What struck me the most was that she could really rock the guitar which is not that apparent on the record (Also some new song point out that the next album will maybe be more guitar oriented. I don’t know).
On the record she draws from various sources as Antony and The Johnsons, Jeff and Tim Buckley, Nina Simone to create a rather classical atmosphere. The rather unusual song structures and dark string melodies ad to this effect. But the mix of indie, folk and chamber music stays transparent to emphasize her beautiful trained voice. Also live did she have no problem to get across and on top of the instruments.
I fancy more of this. She has some older records apart from the last two but they’re hard to find, so I hope she releases a new album soon.
She ended the concert with a Nina Simone cover and Tango Youkali - which is one of my favourite Kurt Weill songs and tango’s - as a French encore to please the crowd of which there is a - badly lip-synched - youtube video from a concert this year in France.