zaterdag 19 augustus 2017

Meeting with Bongley Dead

Bongley Dead
After having reviewed two Bongley Dead albums in 2015, 'Demo 3' and 'Demo 4', followed up by an interview I did with the band following its latest release, things went quiet. So much so that just before I went on holiday to Italy this summer, I wondered whether the band was still in existence. This proved very much the case.

Somewhere in the back of my mind there was this faint idea to try and meet with them in Italy, whenever the next time I would go there would be, but as things were so quiet, I sort of forgot about it.

And then something unexpected happened. A few weeks before leaving I received an email with an invitation to listen to the band's new album, 'Undici'. That was a cue to try and reach out. I did and received an invitation to come by. It turned out the band is from Tuscany and that was on route to our final destination further south. So we booked a spot at a campsite in Montecatini Terme and started our holiday there, with an appointment to meet Bongley Dead on Wednesday evening, in their studio in Ponte Buggianese.

During the day my girlfriend and I visited Lucca, where the town is preparing to host The Rolling Stones in September, with posters and billboards all around town (and a lot of other more or less famous artists all through the summer). A week later we have tickets for Amsterdam.

That Wednesday evening we left our campsite and followed the Tom Tom directions. We drove over ever smaller backroads until we had to be close to the studio. What followed was an evening not to forget. We met, talked and became friends fast.

The band played songs from 'Undici' and a few older ones. I was impressed with the ease they all play. All are great instrumentalists, with years of playing music behind them. Simone is a powerful drummer, without having to exert himself. It seems like it just happens, while this extremely powerful sound comes from his drumkit. Bass player Federico has the same ease of playing. Holding back at some points and playing melodic runs in the next. A huge foundation under all else.

There also was a surprise. Bongley Dead is no longer a trio. Cecilia plays all these subtle melodies under the storm Bongley Dead is. Melodies that fight their way into the alternative/indie rock, making it different from what it was and very interesting to follow as her intricate melodies weave themselves into the whole.

Singer and guitarist Marcelo is responsible for all the melodies we heard. He writes beautiful songs that deserve to be heard by a lot more people. He's a good singer and strong guitar player who fills all the holes the rhythm section leaves him. The story of his guitars was interesting as well. 100% custom made by a guitarist from another band, see Simone's t-shirt. Looking nothing like any guitar I ever saw before.

All the band played was recorded straight away, so that each member can listen to the results during the week and come up with improvements for the next session.

After the practice we all played songs for each other. Marcello played a song from another project he was working on with Simone. Cecilia played two songs from her own record and Karen and I played some songs we cover with our band Sweetwood.

Some alcoholic beverages later, it was time to say goodbye to our Italian friends. Thank you for your hospitality and friendship and I hope to meet again.

There was no time to review 'Undici' before the holidays. In the coming weeks I will seriously listen to the album and come back to you on it, as I will with Cecilia's album. In the meantime we enjoyed a special moment, something to really look back on fondly. Thank you, Bongley Dead, for a great evening.

(All pictures by) Wo.

You find the music of Bongley Dead on Soundcloud:

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