Category Archives: live music

Motel Mozaique Rotterdam 11 April 2009

As with all music festivals you have to make your call and pick who you want to see and forget that anyone else is playing. The three choices we made were Nina Kinert, A Camp and 2 Many DJS.  With The cardigan’s Nina Persson fronting A Camp I was telling everyone I was going to see 2 Many Ninas followed by 2 Many DJs.

And sadly the night turned out to have one too many Ninas and 2 too many Djs for my liking.

Nina Kinert and her band were magnificent. Playing songs mainly from last year’s wonder album Pets & Friends she won the audience over within the first two minutes. The band were wonderfully arresting with two drummers (playing facing each other and jumping up and down), cellist and guitar. Nina herself had her piano from which she produced spectacular arrangements for her haunting melodies. The two new songs she performed were among the highlights which bodes very very well for the next album. Loving Pets & Friends as I do I had very high expectations for the gig and I was blown out of the water – she is stunning live – a strange sweetly dark performer – not to be missed. Sigh!

A Camp were next and within minutes of them beginning I began to make shopping lists in my head. Nina P is a stunning lady with a sweet voice and it surely shouldn’t take much to stand out. Unfortunately the music they made sound woefully uninspired and generic. At one point Nina walked off stage for two minutes or so while the band played an epic intro. I can honestly say that was the most boring two minutes of live music I have ever witnessed. You could sense the disinterest from the audience and at one point Nina even remarked on how quiet everyone was. There’s a reason for that I thought as I remembered to put fresh milk on my list. Both Ninas performed in The Rotterdam Schouwburg which is a surprisingly great venue for live music.

I was quite excited about 2 Many DJs being somewhat different to what I would normally go to see. I loved the CD they brought out finding it deliciously fun, quirky and funky. I was looking forward to finally seeing a DJ play good music rather than just a boring repetitive beat over naff remixes. Unfortunately there were just like the rest – a boring persistent beat that rarely changed over unoriginal dance music. Why oh why? What’s the point? I also think it’s a bit of a scam as they were just playing CDs. Really, can’t anyone do that? And why does it take two of them to do that? It couldn’t have been further from what they presented on the CD – shame really. In addition the venue was Watt which is the old Nighttown. The dance floor was way too packed and despite a 30 fee for the festival ticket they charged 1 every time you went to the toilet. How anyone can justify that is beyond me.

Andrew Bird, De Duif, Amsterdam 25 November 2008

Has there ever been a better reason to go to church than to see Andrew Bird perform tracks from his forthcoming album? And to church in Amsterdam I went last night to see the mighty man in the flesh.  It is impossible to describe what an amazing live performer he is. As soon as I heard he was playing in this little church in Amsterdam I told every music fan I know not to miss it and unfortunately not one went. It’s hard to blame them as it is so incredibly hard to describe what he does without it sounding slightly nerdish. The opposite is true though – he is by far and away one of the best live performers I have ever seen, displaying skills and talent greater than most everyone I have ever witnessed make live music. 

He is one performer I think everyone should try and see at least once – he is truly spellbinding. He builds up the enormous sounds he makes by recording live, and looping at various intervals, the sounds of him plucking violin strings (which usually makes the rhythm – sounding like a cross between a piano and a banjo), playing dizzy violin patterns, clapping, whistling and of course singing. The result is the very best one-man-band on earth. It is simply stunning to watch such beautiful music being born right in front of you till the climax is this wall of incredible music that has been created in mere minutes before your very eyes.

The new songs which will feature on his new album out in January sounded magnificent. My favourites being Fitz and the Dizzy Spells and Anonanimal. You can catch a stream of the first song Oh No from the new album on his website here.