After a somewhat hesitating begin Moke left the LVC behind smoking. Which I didn't expect any more halfway through the show. Moke presented itself as a decent, tight band with a a fairly strange mix of influences tossed in, which I'll come back to later. The transformation to a great rock outfit took place somewhere in the final quarter of the show.
Singer Felix Maginn presents himself like Bryan Ferry's younger brother. Very, very stylish in a tight suit and tie. His fellow band members clearly know what they're wearing also. I saw Maginn (and drummer Rob Klerkx) for the first time as singer of the band Supersub in the same LVC as support for Dodgy. Supersub was on equal footing in Britpop prowess to Dodgy easily, but never broke. Moke did and it was about time to check it out now the band played LVC.
I'm glad that I did. Although I was surprised a few times at what I heard. The keyboard sounds sometimes come straight out of the 80s, there were one or two songs that could have been sung by 70s camp icons Guys and Dolls, so mellow and poppy. What saved almost each and every song in that direction was Phil Tilly's guitar licks, hooks and fills. Whether a dark bass note progression, a high accent or rhythmic noise, nearly every song has a signature Tilly guitar moment, lending Moke a little extra over other bands.
The brunt of Moke's music how ever is pure pop or Britpop if you like with a melodic rock angle in there. In a few songs the band actually nears perfection and is able to produce that on stage also. Felix Maginn's singing is very good and, listening from my angle, effortless. The harmonies provided by keyboard player Eddy Steeneken are just as good. In other songs, like 'Here comes the weekend' the slightly uncomfortable verses seem almost at odds with the great power pop of the chorus. Just what makes a song interesting when done the right way, like Moke does here.
What makes Moke stand out also, is that the band is not afraid of silence in its music. Phil Tilly sometimes seems to lean on his guitar as if its a counter. Only bass, played very assuredly by Marcin Felis, and drums pumping or just a keyboard with or without guitar. It impresses as there are loads of dynamics in the different songs, it makes songs stand out and formidable. Add to that that Moke is not afraid to play a silent song like 'Almost home', despite the fact that half the audience was talking and shouting to each other, and it's clear I'm revealing highlights of the show to you here.
The band led us into a grand finale, including a beautiful cover of David Bowie's latest hit single 'Where are we now'. By then Moke had captured the audience although they had to work hard to do so. Well deserved captivation it was. Moke is a band that is worth watching live!
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