vrijdag 13 april 2018

The Stream live, with Out Of Skin and Sunday At Eight. Scheltema, Leiden Thursday 12 April 2018

What my impression is of Sweet Sally Sad Departure by The Stream, those interested have been able to read on in my blogpost of a few days ago. Should you have missed it, feel free to continue here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2018/04/sweet-sally-sad-departure-stream.html. An album full of ambition, setting the bar several notches higher for Jan Stroomer and his band members. Thursday 12 April was the official launch of the album and all the musicians were on stage and a dancer. Just to underscore the level of ambition this project is about.

The audience in Scheltema was looking at a black, see through curtain. Vaguely the set up of instruments could be seen in the dark behind it. There was enough music to go around, only not coming out of the PA system, but from the room behind ours where another band was playing disco and funk at another, gala party. Culture anno 2018. Making money on the one end and presenting culture in the other. It made me fear for the quality of the show as support act Out Of Skin was all but drowned out in its most intimate moments.

Culture we received, as the curtain was the backdrop for the visuals made by De Beeldjutters, behind which The Stream played 'Sally's Overture'. The show is a total experience, with Rosa Allessie, the dancer on the cover art of 'Sweet Sally Sad Departure' having the larger part of the stage available for her expressive dancing, with the musicians and singers in an L shape behind her.

The album was played integrally. I have said all I can possibly say about it as is. Live it became an experience. All the details came out so fine, with compliments for the sound mixer as the sound was superb and not too loud. (The disco had totally disappeared, at least for me.) Compared to the record the accents were more defined. A just louder hit on the snare, a clearer cut stop-starts, made the music more emotional. Like a live show can, perhaps should, be. The variety in genres came across even more vividly, simply by seeing it live.

The show being a theatrical experience, the defining moment in the lost relationship between the storyteller and Sally was played out beautifully. While Sally is at her most alluring, the "I don't care" in 'Sally' is excruciatingly painful and clear cut. When, in the end, the answer proved not to lie at the bottom of a bottle, it was time for all of us to show our appreciation of a fine show and above all the truly beautiful music.

This was most likely a one off as having twelve musicians and a dancer on stage is unsustainable. What a shame it is. This show ought to go into the theatres across the country as it will attract and be appreciated by lots of people of a certain age, like me and my friends.

And then to think that there's no guitar (except for a bass) within earshot on this album.

There was a support and an after act on the stage. When we came in Out Of Skin was playing. A trio playing guitar, violin and harp. A combination that was new to me. The soft and very high voice of Wouter Mol reminded me instantly of Jeff Buckley, in his neutral vocal style that is. The music was just as soft, but had rhythmic elements built in. And small surprises like a few notes on xylophone or the use of a floor tom with the harp. What a huge instrument it is, in such a small trio setting. I truly liked what I was hearing and if the EP the band has released, although it seems to have been released as a solo album by Mol, agrees with me as well, you'll be reading about it next month. The presentation, with some confrontational walking into the audience while playing moments and walking off the stage at the right vocal line, was well thought out in its details, catching the eye.

The evening ended, for me, with Sunday At Eight. I already had the idea that I saw familiar faces during the The Stream show, but couldn't place them. Once on stage I concluded that this is the new name of Fort Da, the band who played at the Jammer Festival with us two years ago and last year under a new name I'd forgotten: Sunday At Eight.

The eclectic musical mix hadn't changed one bit. They have only become two years better. Billy Joel like piano songs, slightly jazzy piano based songs, not unlike The Stream's (and they played a cover by that band), a ska song with saxophone and The Beatles from 1964 and other 60s pop. It all came by in a song or six, all played with enthusiasm, self-confidence and fun. Sunday At Eight does what it wants to do and what it feels like doing. That may be a hinderence building a career in music. It certainly is not a problem when you keep wanting to surprise the people listening. The band also released a first EP recently, under direction of Jan Stroomer of The Stream. Who knows, more is to follow here soon.

With the beautiful vinyl version of Sweet Sally Sad Departure under my arm I went off to the station catching the train within seconds before departure. Life can be good at times and sometimes even better.

(All photo's by) Wo.

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