zaterdag 14 december 2013

Sophie Hunger live: enchanting and majestic, Patronaat 13 December 2013

Photo Wo.
Sophie Hunger came into my life in the winter of 2013. 'The danger of light' was an album I liked. It was not only original, but also quite intriguing, with all the different sort of sounds being explored in the eleven songs. (Click here for the review.) When I read that Sophie Hunger was coming to Haarlem, I wrote the date in my agenda. Something told me that this could be something special and believe me it was.

From the very first notes of 'Rerevolution' it became clear that we were celebrating music. The atmosphere was solemn, stern even. The people on stage were singing four piece harmonies. Utmost concentration. Sophie behind a grandish piano, a cello, organ, bass and drums. Also in sight were guitars, electric and acoustic, a trumpet, a flügelhorn and a glockenspiel. Where necessary instruments were switched, even a piano switch during a song, fluently from cello to piano, from piano to the flügelhorn. All to make one person shine: Sophie Hunger. It reminded me a lot of the show Blaudzun did in the same venue almost two years before. Though he never shone like Sophie did.

Photo Wo.
Sophie Hunger sings live even better than on record. From low, normal to high screams. All with a lot off ease and very clear sounding. The last is a great compliment to the sound mixer. The sound was near meticulous. The venue was made smaller, so the venue was full for its, not normal, size. The sound ultra clear, never too loud, doing right to all the subtleties in Sophie Hunger's music and singing. The light show was also beautiful. With subtle lightning the musicians were captured in light beams as if in cages of light.

The music is not your every day pop. Elements of singer-songwriter, jazz, pop and, for a lack of a better word, cabaret German style all came by. In a long solo on the piano Alexi Anérilles went of in uncharted territories of free jazz. Playing with the tempo, playing notes outside the scale, going off the edge completely, to come back into the song, all the while followed by drummer Alberto Malo. Not much later Sara Oswald did the same on the cello. All the while Sophie Hunger is out of the spotlight enjoying what her musicians are doing. Cheering them on from the sideline. It were these moments that the audience went from clear appreciation into participation. The fire was burning from that moment on.
Photo Wo.

One of her most beautiful songs 'Souldier' she kept for the end of the set. Sophie Hunger surprised with an a capella version of Z'lied für Freiheitsstatue. With a highlight for the variations sung by Sara Oswald. It all ended with a front stage unplugged song. Intimate as the whole show was at heart, amplified or not. With an audience that was enchanted. No talking through any of the songs. A rarity these days in larger venues.

Sophie Hunger was pure magic. A singer that deserves a much larger audience than she had in Patronaat. Fans of Blaudzun can buy a ticket to her show with their ears covered. Next time in the Netherlands a slot on 'De Wereld Draait Door' and Giel Beelen in the morning should do the trick. The short version? I had expected Sophie Hunger to be good, but this good? I just love surprises.


You can listen to Sophie Hunger live here.

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