donderdag 31 mei 2012

Live in the QBus, Girlyman with Glossy Jesus

You can listen to 'Nothing left' by Girlyman here
or listen to 'White and blue' by Glossy Jesus here.

This one goes out to my new music friend Marc from Seattle. Here's the story on Girlyman as promised. Stay in touch!

Maybe I should apologize upfront for a few things I’m going to write, but this is what happened to me on this Tuesday evening and expresses just how utterly surprised I was. So indulge me on this. As happens so often  to me in the QBus, I had no idea where I was going to. I’d been working till 20.55 and decided to go at the last moment. Enough time left to prepare the rest of the work on the train on Wednesday.

Glossy Jesus was already playing when I arrived. Several weeks back I’d seen the band sound checking and heard a few pretty good songs in the background while enjoying a beer. The show was pretty good. The band has some more than average songs on the repertoire and some pretty good singing. Most songs are more or less in the same tempo though and that could have been a problem for me if the show had been longer. This half hour was very much okay, with one or two songs that go way beyond nice. In other words a great band to warm the audience up in their own right.

And then Girlyman took to the stage. Two girls, two guys, some appearing younger than others. From a distance I stood wondering when the drummer, clad in a fine suit, shirt and tie, stern glasses and a mop of curls, like it has come into vogue with soccer players who don't trend with mohawks, was going to shave for the first time. Looking at the bunch of cds the band had released through the years, I suspected a new rhythm section or hired hands for this tour. Within the first chorus of the first song it became clear that the QBus audience, not a big turn out this time I’m afraid, was going to be in for a treat. Heavenly singing, three part harmonies and subtle playing was going to be our prize for the evening. The two girls and the guy sang so incredibly well together, that every so often this magical moment appeared, when the different harmonies seem to blend into oneness, a sort of ringing tone overriding the individually sung notes. The first songs reminded me of gospel, soul, Simon & Garfunkel, seventies bands specializing in close harmony, a singer-songwriter with harmonies.

Girlyman by Wo.
Every song instruments were changed between the three in front. Guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, electric guitar. If there were keyboards involved Nate handled duties. JJ plays drums and does not sing. Then one of the girls told a story about a terrible phase in her life and on the side of this said that drummer JJ was her partner. Okay, I thought, isn’t JJ a bit young?, but also so they are playing longer together than I thought. I had started to like the way JJ was drumming. Every part of his body drums along. It looks very mathematical, as every movement is accentuated somehow individually. I know only one other drummer, the ex-drummer of Zita Swoon, who drums this way. One big bodily flow of stops and starts, while flawlessly keeping the rhythm. Truly fascinating to see. To complete the picture. Doris is this very pretty Japanese girl and Ty a slightly tough looking lady with boots, shirt and tie, while keyboardplayer/singer Nate’s dream is to have sung in The Andrew Sisters.
Songs are introduced, but also a lot of tuning strings was involved as not all songs were in standard tuning. Nate behind his keyboard does not have this challenge, so he invented one for himself: to compose a song on the spot. Girlyman apparently even has a cd with just these songs. In one there came an impromptu “In the US every child is allowed to drive a car”, starting with the cue “canal”, as Leiden has a lot of them. I couldn’t help but quip that “they are not allowed to drink in bars” and the song was picked up from there. The fun thing is that drummer JJ picks up the rhythm, the two tuning ladies chime in and the first contours of a song start happening in front of our eyes. Twice!

Girlyman by Wo.
It happened during one of the tunings. Drummer JJ took of his coat and turned out to be a she! Life is full of surprises and best be taken as they come. Boyishwoman could have been the name of the band also. Another surprise was when Ingrid Elisabeth was called on stage. Ingrid plays with the band Coyote Grace, but tours with Girlyman through Europe as driver, cd salesperson, sometimes bass player and tapdancer. Almost certainly I can state here that the QBus had its première of tapdancing. With Ingrid being a very girl girl, there was another contrast on stage. But back to the music. All through the show Girlyman kept me spellbound, greatly enjoying their music from up close, as I had moved very close to the stage, not wanting to miss a thing. Despite all the stories above, this is what shines through most, this beautiful music. These great songs and fantastic singing.

It all ended with a version of ‘Staying alive’, including fancy, synchronized hand waving and pirouette drumming at the end! As far as I’m concerned Girlyman could have played for another hour or two. I was totally mesmerized by the singing and the songs. The pure power and joy of singing and playing songs is what the band gave the audience. Pure admiration was given in return. I don’t think there was one person in the venue that will not bring a friend next time. Girlyman deserves to be heard. Those that were there, can say they saw the first show on the continent. A great big wow! from,


They have four more shows in NL 1 - 5 June.

You can buy Traces by Glossy Jesus here

You can buy Supernova by Girlyman here

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