zaterdag 17 december 2016

Blaudzun live. Patronaat Haarlem, Thursday 15 December 2016

Photo: Wo.
Blaudzun, Johannes Sigmund plus a six piece band, must have had a mixed experience on stage. That had little to do with the skills and interplay of the band. It had to do with the audience. In a not sold out Patronaat, the audience was willing, but not easily won over. That had everything to do with the new songs on 'Jupiter - Part 1'. Anyone who's read my review, knows that I like the album and the direct quality it has. It seemed that most people present did not agree with me or perhaps simply did not know the new songs (sufficiently).

Where I'm concerned it went a little differently. Having seen Blauzun on the tour following 'Heavy Flowers' and 'Promises Of No Man's Land', I was bothered by the uniformity of the new songs in a live setting. The music is what I call "hoekig" and I'm really struggling to find a word that corresponds to what I mean in English. Online translations present several words, but they just do not apply to music. So, let me point you to the title song of the new album and find out for yourself. It's about rhythm, with a lot of instruments all in that same rhythm, making the music uniform. On record there's more variation due to the mix allowing instruments to escape that uniformity. Live the mix was less favourable in Patronaat. The lush arrangements that were on stage especially on the 'Heavy Flowers' tour, when Blaudzun simply blew me away, were all gone.

Photo: Wo.
And then it happened. Just when I started thinking it's time something happens here, the band went into a 100% rhythm outing, jolting the audience from its relative stupor and inducing a kind of African trance, that was cheered on loudly when it was over.

With more and more older numbers being let into the set, the enthusiasm grew as well. Something all acts run into when they progress in their careers, the legacy recordings everyone wants to hear over the new songs. Even I was struck by that feeling.

'Heavy Flowers' featured very prominently later in the set, which got the room wild. Sing-a-longs started happening. Smiles and dancing all around. Despite the much more elementary set up of the band, despite seven people on stage, yes, the music definitely came alive. The band seemed to relax more as well. Perhaps we were too early in the touring scheme? Who will tell? With three encores we were spoiled but paid back in kind: 100% surrender to the band.

Back to 'Jupiter - Part 1', part 2 was announced as being in the making and to be released soon, Blaudzun does what was totally normal in the 60s, recording, touring, releasing all in one. Things will come alright with the songs. Playing the album once again while writing, I'm again enjoying the album without a doubt. When the now new and the older songs are blended more in future gigs, Blaudzun fans will enjoy them all. The songs have power, rhythm and style. It just takes time to familiarise and let's not forget the extremely powerful legacy to contend with. At the close of 2016 Blaudzun remains one of the more interesting acts of NL. Foreign readers, you should try it sometime.

Wo.

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