tempobet yeni adresi
like this concert review

05/02/2013 :  - Review of the GRAUZONE Festival in Amsterdam on 1st February 2013

Review of the GRAUZONE Festival in Amsterdam on 1st February 2013

Concert
Cold WaveMinimalPost PunkPunk

[85/100]   
05/02/2013, Philippe BLACKMARQUIS

It was the first edition of "GRAUZONE", "a young and ambitious, multi-disciplinary festival devoted to the best in ‘new wave’ music and art". On the program, no less than thirteen bands with a musical spectrum spanning punk, post-punk, synth pop, electro and cold/darkwave but also films, exhibitions and of course afterparties. Well, honestly, this festival was a huge success. The Melkweg venue was full with a majority of people in the 40s and 50s and it was even difficult to move around. There were three stages: the main stage was mainly devoted to the 'legendary' bands from the 80's, the 'Old Stage' was occupied by (mostly old) punk/post-punk bands and the third stage was a small exhibition room, all painted in white, where minimal-wave and cold-wave bands were scheduled to appear. It's true that these bands usually need less room to play but there was clearly a lack of comfort for the artists and the public in this room. A shame because the bands which played there were from far the most interesting bands, in my opinion.

The first act to appear in this Media Room, Linea Aspera, was eagerly awaited. In just a few months, the London duo, composed of Alison Lewis (Vocals/Synths) and Ryan Ambridge (Synths/Programming), had become one of the most promising bands in the synth-pop genre. Their music is very catchy eighties minimal wave topped by an amazing, sensual and haunting voice singing extremely intelligent and touching lyrics. Unfortunately, at the beginning of January, the band announced that they were calling it quits. Their show in Amsterdam was therefore the last opportunity to see them live on stage.

The room was packed when the band started playing "Synapse". Alison Lewis had a wonderful presence with her beautiful silhouette and her very sensual and mysterious voice. Ryan Ambridge was focused on his keyboards. I don't know whether it was because it was their last concert, but there was a lurking violence, a hidden tension during this set. Then the band played "Malarone", a song for which Alison Lewis directed a wonderful, very organic video and the hit "Eviction", a fantastic song she wrote about the death of her cat. During "Detachment", the violence I was talking about became tangible as Lewis started screaming like crazy. It became even crazier on the last song, "Kinabalu", a recent song, more experimental and more industrial. Lewis walked into the audience and moved frantically, screaming like a panther. Ambridge was making as much noise as he could by hitting his keyboard and the show ended in a complete fury. An amazing set, much too short but so intense! We are looking forward to hearing the new projects of these two amazing artists.

Setlist: Synapse, Malarone, Eviction, Lamanai, Syncretism, Detachment, Kinabalu.
Watch them perform "Kinabalu" below...
After the concert, I took the unique opportunity to talk to Alison Lewis about her passions and her future projects: read the interview here or watch it on Youtube here.

Meanwhile, on the main stage, A Certain Ratio gave an efficient show. This legendary band from Manchester created the funk-postpunk genre in the late 70s, together with Gang of Four and later Talking Heads. The band's name is taken from the lyrics of Brian Eno's song "The True Wheel" from the album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). On stage, a complete band with 5 musicians was accompanying the singer and bass player Jeremy "Jez" Kerr. The atmosphere was hot with soul and funk vibes, and the audience, though relatively quiet, was enjoying the music, especially on classics like "Do the Du" and the last two songs of the set: "Be What You Wanna Be" and "Shack Up". Have a look at an excerpt from their show ("Wonder Why"):

Due to the overlap with the previous concerts, I couldn't attend the show of Ulterior. But I've seen them three times, among others at the BIM Festival (review here), so I know them quite well. Their music is a mix of raw post-punk music à la Stooges and darkwave-electro. It is reminiscent of Sisters of Mercy but with more edge, more pure aggressivity. We were told that their show was less violent, less intense than previous shows.

In the Media Room, Das Ding, the project of Dutchman Danny Bosten, gave its first (!) concert. This electro-pioneer released dark and danceable electro in the 80s, through his cassette label Tear Apart Tapes. The band had technical problems but as a whole, they delivered an interesting set, making the link between past and present. A nice opportunity to go and listen to his recent album, H.S.T.A.

After a quick beer, it was time for Chameleons Vox, the project which Mark Burgess, the original singer of the legendary English band Chameleons, created to revive his repertoire with a new live band, which now includes also the original drummer, John Lever. I consider The Chameleons as one of the best postpunk bands, not only for the music but also for the extremely intelligent and poetic lyrics written by Burgess. On the main stage of the festival, Chameleons Vox played a wonderful set. Burgess was magnificent: he recently cut his hair, which made him look even more like in the 80s. Obviously he has decided to play bass on stage again and it looked and sounded great! After "Swamp Thing", the band played what I would call a 'classical Vox set' including hits but also rather less known songs, hidden jewels like "Soul In Isolation", which lasted more than 9 minutes! At the beginning, Burgess' voice was a bit drowned in the other instruments but as a whole, the sound was very good! I particularly appreciated "Monkeyland", a song that they don't play so often. Watch the live video below! At the end of the show, I had to leave but the band played the classic "Second Skin", one of my 10 favourite songs of all times. I was told that Burgess even indulged in some stage diving at the end: shit, I missed that!
Setlist: Swamp Thing, A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days, Looking Inwardly, Perfume Garden, Monkeyland, In Answer, I'll Remember, Soul In Isolation, Singing Rule Britannia (While the Walls Close In), Caution, Second Skin.

Then I hurried up to the Media Room for another much expected minimal wave/cold-wave band: Lebanon Hanover. I had already seen them in Brussels at a concert organized by Romance Moderne and I was eager to see them again! This duo formed in 2010 includes Laurissa Iceglass, originally from Switzerland, on vocals, guitars and synths and William Maybelline, from England, on vocals, bass and synths. They take their girl/boy vocals, razor sharp guitars and brooding bass-lines to create some sort of synthetic apocalyptic pop, reminiscent of Siouxsie, Cure, Bauhaus or Xmal Deutschland. Some people compare them to The XX but they are much better! In fact, they should have the success that The XX has, in my opinion. Like the other bands in the Media Room, they struggled a bit to get a good sound but as a whole, the set was great! With their songs, they managed to create a very dark atmosphere, which took us in some sort of trance. After two widely acclaimed albums, they confirm their status of leaders on the minimal wave scene. Check them playing their latest single, "Gallow Dance", below:

Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to see Zounds, Fehlfarben, Frank (Just Frank) and The Mob. Clearly, it wasn't a good idea to let so many bands play on three stages in such a short time. Maybe a lesson for next year's edition? After a short cigarette break, I hurried up to the main stage for the show of Echo & The Bunnymen. The famous postpunk band from Liverpool was playing a special long set, revisiting its classical albums from the 80s. As usual, the light show was minimal (Ian Mc Cullogh doesn't like spotlights) and the band was constantly playing in the dark. You could barely see Ian's face but with the camera flashes you could see that he was wearing a beard. Following "Going Up", the usual opening song, the band played "Rescue", the first highlights of the show and the fans began to move and to sing along: "Won't You Come to My... Rescue". The band went on to play "Villiers Terrace" and in the middle of the song, they played excerpts from "Roadhouse Blues" (Doors): fun! The first part of the concert ended with "Seven Seas" and the beautiful "Bring On The Dancing Horses". Then it was just a string of jewels, with "Over The Wall", "All That Jazz" and, to finish, the absolute classic "The Killing Moon", while "The Cutter" brought the final... cut to the concert and the audience seemed to be satisfied with the show. In the encore, they played "Nothing Lasts Forever", with the usual hint at Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Lips Like Sugar". A great show musically but in terms of human contact with their audience, Echo & The Bunnymen are only an 'echo' of what they used to be....
Setlist: Going Up, Rescue, Do It Clean, Pride, Villiers Terrace / Roadhouse Blues, Seven Seas, Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, Bring On the Dancing Horses, Rust, Over the Wall, Never Stop, All That Jazz, The Killing Moon, The Cutter. Encore: Nothing Lasts Forever / Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed cover), Lips Like Sugar

Due to my planned interview with Alison Lewis (Linea Aspera), I only watched a few minutes of Newclear Waves: it sounded much more techno than minimal wave! Clearly Alessandro Adriani feels the need to let his music evolve. I am curious to discover his next releases!

At the end of this festival, the conclusion is that Grauzone has immediately earned its place among Europe's best 'dark' festivals, alongside Summer Darkness, BIM or Amphi. Let's hope that next year, there will be less schedule overlaps between acts and that the lineup will give a greater importance to young new bands, which represent the future of new-wave!

Thank a lot to GRAUZONE and to Natasja Alers aka Trish Trash for the perfect organisation!

Philippe BLACKMARQUIS
05/02/2013


 

Next reviews
DIORAMA • even the DEVIL doesn't care
NICOLAS WINDING REFN • Bronson
THE GODSPEED SOCIETY • Killing Tale
INKUBUS SUKKUBUS • The Goat
JOSH WHITEMAN • Shadowplay, The Making of Anton Corbijn
MS30 • T.I.A.
E-CRAFT • The roots
STEPHEN MILBURN ANDERSON • Cash
AN PIERLE • Strange days
MODULATE • Robots EP

 

Other reviews from
• Dubhfest, Poperinge, 05.11.2016
• The World of Hante
• JazzContest, Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen (26/08/2016)
• An impression of Castle Party
• Wave-Gotik-Treffen 2016: Part II: There once was… (the history)
• Wave-Gotik-Treffen 2016 - PART 1: If only it could always be winter and always night...
• Record Store Day 2016 at Wool-E Shop
• Coalescaremonium: a gathering of like-minded as we like it
• Coalescaremonium editie 4
• The history behind Waveteef

 

Same genre: COLD WAVE
THE MIDNIGHT COMPUTERS • Anxious
HYSTÉRIE • Deuil
MANNEQUIN • From a distance
RINGFINGER • Pressure
DAGEIST • Sexy
MOONLIGHT MEADOW • Moonlight Meadow
NAIROD YARG • Nairod Yarg
THE DEVIL & THE UNIVERSE • Endgame 69:
MEAGER BENEFITS • Crawling
MANDIVULA • Nonsens

 

Same genre: MINIMAL
SHE HATES EMOTIONS • See The Light (Single)
MORE EPHEMEROL • Obituary Templates
L'AVENIR • Requiem And Live
STAATSEINDE • Dreiheit
RADERKRAFT • Smart Control
SELOFAN • Vitrioli
SEMIOTICS DEPARTMENT OF HETERONYMS • Semiotics Department of Heteronyms
VIOLENCE • Le Flux de la Nature
CONSPIRACY COVEN • Conspiracy Coven
DARK DOOR • Inferno

 

Same genre: POST PUNK
THE MARS MODEL • FrancoBelga
NEW MODEL ARMY • From Here
CABARET VOLTAIRE • Chance Versus Causality
A CERTAIN RATIO • ACR-Box
VEIL OF LIGHT • Inflict
WHERE WE SLEEP • The Desert
SUBMOTILE • Ghosts Fade On Skylines
THE MEMBRANES • What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away
VARIOUS ARTISTS • DARKSIDE OF THE CON III
UNDERTHESKIN • Negative

 

Same genre: PUNK
VARIOUS ARTISTS • A BRIEF HISTORY OF: THE SPECIALS, SKA AND TWO TONE
ERNEST MOON • Ba-Jesus
THE SPECIALS • Encore
PAUL MADDOG AND HIS BAND AISLING • Winter In London
RAT SCABIES • Rat Scabies - P.H.D.
STRUGGLER • The Gap
VIRGIN IN VEIL • Deviances
CULTURE SHOCK • Attention Span
PUFF • Living In The Partyzone
STENDAL BLAST • Ein Abschied - Das Letzte Konzert

Music reviews

05
07
JAYE JAYLE
PRISYN
03
07
PORTION CONTROL
Head Buried
02
07
AIMA & THE ILLUSION OF SILENCE
Music for certain rituals
28
06
VARIOUS ARTISTS
PERIHELION 2134
24
06
COLD IN MAY
Isolation songs
19
06
UNITCODE:MACHINE
Paper empires

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

NEWS

08
07
Darkwave Artist DISSONANCE Announces New Maxi-Single 'Precipice;' A Lament Of Personal Struggle
07
07
Darkwave Band STYKFAKTOR Reveals New Single, 'Distance' - An Emotional Struggle With Social Distancing
07
07
FRONT 242's Daniel B. celebrate his 66th birthday with the release of 6+6
04
07
Industrial Band RIOTLEGION Announces The Release Of Machine Liberation
03
07
I Wanted To Tell Her by Ministry turns 37 years this month!
15
06
Today it’s exactly 41 years ago since Joy Division released their debut studio album Unknown Pleasures (15 June 1979).

Concert reviews

31
12
EUFORIC EXISTENCE, ZYNIK 14, WULF7, DELERITAS, CAUSENATION
EBM is still alive (part 1) - Club 52, Eernegem
25
11
SUPER DRAGON PUNCH !! + AMBASSADOR 21 + SUICIDE COMMANDO
MAGASIN 4, NOV 8TH 2019, BRUSSELS (BELGIUM)
21
08
LES NEGRESSES VERTES
Live @ Moods Festival, Brugge - Belgium - 2.08.2019
07
08
DIARY OF DREAMS, STAR INDUSTRY, YOUR LIFE ON HOLD, A SLICE OF LIFE, LA SCALTRA
Summer event - za 3 augustus, Schoten
06
08
DE DELVERS, STAATSEINDE
Genste Feesten, Kinky Star , 28 juli 2019
14
07
MIDNIGHT OIL
MIDNIGHT OIL Live @ Rock Zottegem - Belgium - 05.07.2019

GET A COPY OF OUR MAGAZINE
SEND TO YOUR HOME

INTERVIEWS

06
07
J.ROBBINS
'When someone has a song and they’re struggling about - what’s the best way to present it...'
04
07
LAIBACH
When they banned Laibach, we said 'great, let's move further'!
27
06
BURTON C.BELL (FEAR FACTORY, ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS )
'It all comes from my head – whatever I’m feeling, whatever I’m thinking of.'
27
06
RODNEY ORPHEUS / THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX
I Think I’m Still As Revolutionary And Opinionated As Ever...
25
06
THE COLOURS OF SILENCE
Isolation Is Good For Art. Embrace It And Use It

PHOTOS

13
03
SIGLO XX
Porta Nigra Aarschot
13
03
ROME
Porta Nigra Aarschot
13
03
THE ROSE OF AVALANCHE
Porta Nigra Aarschot
13
03
THE DANSE SOCIETY
Porta Nigra Aarschot
13
03
THE ARCH
Porta Nigra Aarschot
11
03
FRONT 242
Pulse Namur Isnes
11
03
SHAARGHOT
Pulse Namur Isnes

ADVERTISE
IN PEEK-A-BOO

VIDEO CLIPS

08
07
RYUICHI SAKAMOTO & DAVID SYLVIAN
Life, Life
07
07
KDF
Innocence
06
07
SNOG
Spätzle Machine
06
07
THE HORRORIST
The Horrorist - One Night In New York City (Uncensored)(Chris Liebing Remix)
05
07
GOLDFRAPP
Winter Wonderland
04
07
LORDS OF ACID
I Sit On Acid
03
07
DEAD CAN DANCE
Eleusis