maandag 7 maart 2016

The LVE live. Mezz Breda, Friday 4 March 2016

Photo: Wo.
We have closure. From the first single of what was to become 'The LVE', to the album and from an interview to a live show. 'The LVE' circle is there.

Mezz is the pop venue of Breda, close to where a long time ago I had swimming lessons in primary school, in fact on the far corner of the same street, with no Mezz or anything resembling it in sight. Breda is a long time behind me and so it was my first time in Mezz. The LVE played in small festival called "Ik zie u graag" with Flemish bands exclusively, smeared out over three days in different months.

Short & Blake. Photo: Wo.
After arrival we were ushered into the café, where a small stage occupied the long side of the room opposite the also long bar. The evening started with the duo project of The LVE singer Sara Raes with her colleague Eva Tulkens and their loop pedal machines. Songs were built, from a piano chord to get the right key, through voices only. Layer after layer, with a minimum of percussion added, a song came to life. The songs may originate with other artists, they become totally their own. 'Short & Blake', as the ladies call themselves, created their own world, charming, sweet and serious. The two voices blended with the vocal layers into multi-harmonies and vocal percussions. Technology gets us a long way. Something that would not have been possibles some years ago and now is normal. A charming start of the evening.

The LVE came on stage. There were no pretensions, what you hear is what you get. Gerrit Van Dyck and his band have created their own world of soft toned songs, with a hint at the romantic side of life and dreams. Music that begs listening and concentration. The small nuances, the little extra lines in the vocals and instruments, make the songs come alive on the record. But is The LVE able to translate its sound on stage as some the songs are typical products of the work inside a studio?

Photo: Wo.
The short answer is yes. From the mash up of samples of the songs on the album by Sara that the album starts with that moves into 'Milky Seas', the band made its songs come alive. A little different than on record as layers have to be stripped away, but the balance was there. That may be what impressed me most: the fine balance between the musicians and the harmonies.

Five different voices carried, cherished and cuddled the songs where possible, the different instruments did the rest. Super relaxed drumming, the bass, supporting and filling the songs or doing a melodic run, guitars that both moved in and out of rhythm to solo and back, the keyboards taking care of a musical carpet or fine piano notes. Sara sings all the nice female parts that mark off the lead singing of Gerrit. Little sparks of magic jumped out of the speakers for most of the show.

Photo: Wo.
The LVE is a band in which the members are totally at ease with each other. No one is trying to outsmart another as all keep the common goal closely in mind: making the best music possible together. Lead guitarist Bert is the most modest lead guitarist I've ever seen and still does everything that needs to be done. Playing so many beautiful little lead lines and a few wolloping solos as well.

Ideally the set could use two songs that are a bit more up tempo and/or with more dynamics within a song, songs that might catch the non-believers as well and make them listen to the rest. For the rest, as a believer, I was totally convinced. The LVE played its songs in a way that not only does right to the studio version, but also made them sparkle and shine on stage. This band is ready for the next step. With a great record under its belt and the ability to translate it on stage, there ought to be nothing stopping The LVE.

Before, inbetween and after the shows The Collectors spun their records. Two gentlemen of a certain age played 45s and specialised in b-sides or obscure version. 'Helden' instead of 'Heroes', 45s of The Velvet Underground, a remix or a b-side cover of a famous song. Something to enjoy and at the same time put me on the wrong foot on a regular basis.

Finally for the Mezz, great sound in the cafe, people. Not too loud and very clear, doing the band justice.


You can listen to 'Closer' here

and buy 'The LVE' on the Bandcamp site of the band:

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