Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ducks don't need satellites..

Phew, can someone put the brakes on this week? It's already Thursday and I feel like I'm stuck back at Tuesday. Of course this makes quite a nice change.

This has been a week filled with music.

Monday saw Mr von S and I hot-footing it to a part of town we haven't spent much time in (which is everywhere except Kreuzberg, Neukoelln and Mitte) to see an old school friend playing in an orchestra. Now, don't get visions of Brahms or Schubert. Instead, imagine yourself in a scene from 1972's Cabaret (because we ARE in Germany after all) and replace Liza Minnelli with once-was-a-concert-pianist Montmorensy. Just as infectious as infectious as Liza's trilling, Montmorensy's tracks have been doing laps in my mind the past few days. In particular, as the title suggests, the tune Ducks Don't Need Satellites

Perhaps it's the funny title, the easy repetition in the song or the almost melancholic feel the song carries, but the lines "Give a 'quack', get a 'quack quack' back" should be enticing enough for you to have a listen to a couple of his songs.

I was rather impressed with Montmorensy. Firstly, his compositions are telling of his classic, orchestral background; the music was beautiful. The arrangement of strings in some pieces really got my skin all plucked-goose-like. Secondly, the man can perform. In a room of 200-odd people, his voice was clear and strong, his piano-playing faultless (to my untrained ears, anyway) and his use of Denglish (German and English, like Spanglish) got the crowd on-side and giggling with every Australian-accented 'Danke schoen'. The mix of songs - serious, not so serious, orchestral, ballad-like, poppy, also made sure that a variety of tastes were catered to. 

Montmorensy playing at Bar jeder Vernuft (if you look very carefully!)

The performance - held as part of his first album release - was great fun. We sat next to two German woman who looked like they also loved every minute. I'm not sure how much they had had to drink before we got there, but there was lots of clapping and cheering from both them and us (sober). 

Backing it up on Tuesday night, we encountered a very different musical performance. 

I had missed seeing Lykke Li in Melbourne in 2009 due to my inability to buy tickets in a timely manner. However, friends had been more organised said her performance was great. I kicked myself; it was something that I regretted on numerous occasions, such as when talking to people who had been at the concert.

Well, it's not something I regret quite so much anymore, because - you guessed it - I got to see Lykke in Berlin! Hooray. 

Following up her first album, Youth Novels, her sophomore album Wounded Rhymes is a bit of a different Lykke. Where Youth Novels was naive and fun, Wounded Rhymes is darker; it makes me fear that poor old Lykke may have been thinking of self-harm while writing it. The back-story to the album is that LL was involved in a bit of a love triangle, and from the contents of the album, she didn't get the man. 

The pain was obviously good for her, creatively. In performing, Lykke actually came off a little bit nuts. Like the psycho ex-girlfriend. Dressed head-to-(camel)toe in black lycra, she swathed herself in what looked like a black bathrobe, and at one stage covered her head and the microphone with the excess fabric. Flailing around stage in song-breakdowns like Kate Bush in Wuthering Heights, wrapping herself in the stage curtains, her brunette hair a frazzled birds-nest, Mr von S and I both remarked that she didn't look so healthy. A recent interview she gave with local English-mag EXBERLINER was a great example of the kind of nuts I'm talking about.

Lykke looking particularly pained

Anyway, the music. Look, she played us Dance, Dance, Dance, and her collaboration with Kleerup, Until We Bleed. I was pretty happy about that, as was the rest of the crowd. But her mic was heavily filtered with lots of reverb, her backing singer gave her most of her power, and sans ear-piece during the encore (which the crowd struggled to even get, more on that below) she was sharp, sharp, sharp.

I think I've mentioned before on the blog that the Deutsche Volk can sometimes be rather reserved and law-abiding - like only crossing the street at designated crossings, on the green man, and shunning anyone who doesn't. I haven't really seen this behaviour at other musical performances I've been to in Berlin, granted those have mostly been in nightclubs, but it was clear to see the Lykke was wanting the crowd to go wild for her. Instead, she got a couple of 'woos' and polite - but not out of control - applause. She told the crowd they were 'the worst ever'. Ouch, Lykke. Just 'cos you got dumped doesn't mean you can go around giving everyone 'tude. But that's what's she's doing. And so sadly, the naive, sweet Lykke of Youth Novels is gone and the grumpy, adolescent Lykke is here. For now. Perhaps her next album will be about mortgages and job security?

PS - Sarah Blasko was the support act and she was gorgeous. She's like a little doll! Go the Aussies!

Hai Sarah!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...