Monday, April 27, 2009

Swaks/Hey Colossus/Zu/Kong - Nijdrop 24/04/09

Swaks, a local trio (guitar, bass, drums) opens the little festival. Swaks, the three fellows dressed in white (Modern Talking anyone? :-), play mainly instrumental guitarriff driven powerful rock music. Not that original but they play it with the right attitude. Especially the opener from their set and a few tracks towards the end hit the right spot. In between the set is a bit lame and i get a bit bored. I'm not convinced by the singing of the drummer. But as a starter, it's all right and the guitarplayer, armed with some effect pedals, does a good job. The visuals (movie collages) are ok too. A pity that most of the audience isn't arrived yet.

Hey Colossus is a British band and apparently six people are in it. During the short soundcheck, the bearded singer wakes the audience up with a short series of impressive screams. When they open the set, they surprise me not only with their energy and motivation, but also with their sound which is very good. The guitars, bass, drums, noise (keyboard/pedals) and screams/shouts all mix in equal portions to become one beast of a total sound. If you play this sort of music and you're with six on stage, it often happens that some technical errors or unequal mixing turns up, but not with this band. During the first tracks, the rhythm is fast and heavy, I urge to the bar to order a few beers and try not to miss a single piece of the set. The voices are very good and interact well, which clearly is an added value to their sound. Apart from the faster, kick-in-the-guts songs - think Todd, Unsane - they perform one long, slow and heavy track - bit more Neurosis, Melvins direction. The songs are well rehearsed (so it seems anyway) and fit very good. It's clearly not just about getting loud & berserk and don't caring where the noise ends. As they play music that isn't evident and unfortunately is not for the big masses, I hope they manage to get their act going and that the band stays together in this constellation and I hope to see them on a Belgian stage again. I stupidly forget to buy a cd from these friendly guys.

Zu is one of my favorite live bands. Together with The Ex, it's the band that I've witnessed live the most. Tonight they play well (the sax a bit too strong up in the mix) , and I see that most people react very enthusiastic on their music. I can imagine that someone who isn't that familiar with their work and with what Zu stands for, will surely be impressed. Nevertheless I get the feeling that they play on some sort of automatic pilot, i miss a bit of hungriness. A bit of a fatigue after thousand concerts? Or maybe it's me who has seen them too much... I ask around afterwards and those who've seen them already a few times have a bit of the same reaction: good but I've seen them doing better.

Kong is a Dutch band that has a long career behind them. Somewhere in the early nineties they have gathered some success with their original concept of performing filmic instrumental metalbased music while each of the four members of the band stands (or sit in the drummer's case) in a different corner of the place. Their debut album 'Mute Poet Vocalizer' and the second one 'Phlegm' are still listenable pieces of work. After a long hiatus, the bass player invited new members and they actually have a new cd out. The quadraphonic live approach still works, the public chooses where to stand, where to look at and you get some sort of dynamism, people moving through the concert room, that you normally miss at a concert. The new tracks don't do much to me. Not bad & well performed, a very professional sound but they don't add much to the earlier work. Kong impresses me the most with their older material.