dinsdag 9 december 2014

Mini Mansions, live Melkweg, 7 December 2014

Photo: Wo.
Being a support act seldom is a pleasure. Hardly any one is there for you, the sound is often sub-optimal and the audience uninterested. Mini Mansions ("mini mensjes"?) overcame all that.

Mini Mansions is another band with an unusual set up. A keyboard player (Tyler Parkford), a drummer (Michael Shuman), but with an incomplete drumkit and a bass player (Zack Dawes), playing like a lead guitarist. The first two alter lead and harmony singing duties. The bass was slightly dominant in the first half of the set, distracting from all else that was going on. The effects used on the bass sound changed the sound of the band every few seconds, over-compensating for all else that appeared to be missing.

Right at the first tones I thought, oh, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark is back in fashion. The sound was so terribly 80s, just think 'Enola Gay', until the bass started to do its thing that is. That changed the sound for sure.

Photo: Wo.
The songs sort of went on like that. Until a song called 'Creeps'. With its sharp, alternating between bass and keyboard, accented notes, each on the other beat on 1 and 3 or 2 and 4, the song pricked up my ears. 'Creeps' seemed to be around 10 minutes long, although it could have been two songs also, and kept my attention the whole time. And not only mine. Mini Mansions won over the hearts and minds of the larger part of the audience. No talking, that is the first sign things are going well for a band.

There was a cover of Blondie's 'Heart of glass' in an almost menacing version of the song. Slowed down, bereft of all its disco elements, what was left was a hollowed out song, that convinced none the same. By then either the balance in the sound had become better or the bass had a less prominent roll in the songs or I had stopped giving the instrument my undivided attention. Like the change from three guys moving/dancing a horse shape around to a real horse in 'Warhorse'? Whatever the reason, I had started to listen to the whole band. Moving to its rhythm, paying attention to all nuances in the music.

Photo: Wo.
During the final songs of the set, the Los Angeles based band kicked in the pedal a bit deeper and got more and more people in the audience moving. The applause at the end was, genuine and long for a support act.

Concluding I'll admit to having been surprised by Mini Mansions and for certain when I take in consideration the way they sounded at the start of the set. Not that I have a single melody still in my head, for that the songs were to nondescript for a first listen. I may go and try to find the upcoming album 'The great pretenders' at the beginning of 2015 and see what Mini Mansions sound like on record.


You can listen to 'Death of a girl' here.


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