vrijdag 31 januari 2014

De Staat live in Patronaat, Haarlem. 30-01-2014

Photo: Wo.
De Staat came, De Staat saw and De Staat won. Old Julius could not have done better. On a stage exuberant with bright lights, predominantly red, against a backdrop showing the I-con artwork, De Staat played a set in which everything that makes the Nijmegen band so good came together. Pounding rhythms, rhythmic artistry, close harmonies, super tight playing and enthusiastic showmanship.

This gig was the last leg of the Dutch club tour. Band and fans were ready to celebrate. One thing stood out. The fans of De Staat are on average young. The result was that in the loud, pounding songs a moshpit was created that filled up fast.This was the main difference with the afternoon show at Werfpop in 2012. In the thick mud most people sort of gaped at what was going on. Here everyone was there for De Staat and showed it.

Photo: Wo.
De Staat thrives on rhythm. In this sense hiphop is surely a part of the cocktail that makes up De Staat. The easy way that Jason Derulo's 'Talk dirty' was turned into a De Staat song, shows how close its music is to hiphop (and shows the influence of Radio 3 dj Giel Beelen as most bands bring their early morning show cover song to the stage afterwards). The loud pounding of 'Witchdoctor', the rock-dance song that is in the premier league of rock dance, made the fans go berserk, with the band fuelling the fire. But it's not just rhythm in this sense. De Staat excels in weirder, more complex rhythms and makes them sound easy along the way. Rhythm and counter rhythm on two guitars and singing as well. Rhythmic effects that leave me behind in awe at times.

Photo Wo.
Next to that there is almost always a melody on keyboard or lead guitar over these rhythms that makes the songs stand out. The two or three piece harmonies do the rest. Sometimes just by alternately shouting ho, sometimes in beautiful harmonies. What is special is that the songs that work best live, are not necessarily the songs I prefer to listen to at home and vice versa. This is an element that definitely is uncommon, at least for me, at gigs. I want to hear my favourite songs. De Staat totally pleased me by doing the opposite. Relentless pounding heightened my senses and the party I was part of. All these elements together make De Staat stand out and special. Make it a band to treasure and follow in the future.

Another very special item is that guitarist Vedran Mircetic plays the role of the bass player in most bands. He doesn't move at all. Only to change guitars. While bass player Jop van Summeren plays a role in the festivities in singing and moving around a lot. His bass synthesizer gives De Staat elements of the way Soulwax presents itself live. De Staat has four extrovert presenters and one interested in playing only. The extroverts certainly include drummer Tim van Delft, who never misses a cue to be part of the fun. The final solo was special also. Keyboard and guitar player, rapper and singer Rocco Hueting plays a car horn solo in the final song. I had seen this before, but it remains something special to see. Finally, Torre Florim, the lead man of De Staat, is growing into the-larger-than-life personality a front man needs to be on stage. Charisma is growing here.

Photo: Wo.
De Staat seems to be at the top of its game. The question is are other countries ready for its music? Hearing and seeing the quality on offer, the answer ought to be yes, but history shows that Dutch rock bands seldom break big abroad. No clue why that is. De Staat offers a combination that could be winning, but whether it is possible for them to go all the way? We'll see. In the meantime I'm quite pleased having seen the band again in a great venue like Patronaat, where the sound was near perfect and just before the brink of getting too loud. Well done.

Wo.

If you like to read more on De Staat on this blog:

I_con

Werfpop 2012

and there are many more interesting articles, interviews and stories to find.

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