Zu – skronking at the Bronson club, Ravenna, Italy
When it comes to live music I’ve never been much interested in seeing artists who look slick and sound just like they do on their studio recordings.
Performances to me should be an audio-visual experience that takes the listener/viewer into a more spontaneous zone; in other words, to be a one-off event.
But the case of Zu, a band from Rome, is an odd one. They have a new album called Jhator out on the splendidly named House of Mythology label and their tour dates are ostensibly to promote this fact. Or at least they would be in the normal order of things. The sticking point though is that the new album sounds nothing like they did on stage at the Bronson club near Ravenna last night. Continue reading
GOAT Live at Bronson Club, Ravenna, Italy 8th May 2015
Masks can have a transformative power. They can help mere mortals turn into superheroes, they can embolden the sexuality inhibited to initiate erotic games or they can help transform a modest Swedish psychedelic band into a charismatic stage act.
In concert all the members of Goat wear non-matching masks or burkas.
The focus of the live performance is on the two vocalists impressively decked out in full witch doctor regalia. Their voices are screechy, high-pitched female chants – although one of the two was (if I’m not mistaken) a man. The all-singing, all-dancing duo jump, strut and strike shamanic poses while the five-piece band stand stoically behind them grinding out a relentless set of rhythms. Continue reading
The four-day Transmissions festival in Ravenna has quickly established itself as a unmissable event for lovers of experimental or just plain weird music. It fills the gap in this part of Northern Italy left by the demise of Bologna’s Netmage events.
For edition VI, the presence of The Wire magazine‘s promotional stand and a Q & A session (which I missed) proves that it is officially a hip place to be for discerning music
I attended the first and third days so I reckon I’m as qualified as anyone to offer a few reflections.
The low attendances at both shows I went to must have been disappointing to the organisers and to curator Daniel O’Sullivan in particular.
The fact that O’Sullivan put himself on the bill of three of the four days ,as part of Æthenor, Grumbling Fur and Mothlite & Mt Todd, struck me as indulgent to say the least. I can’t speak for the first and third of these performances but sincerely hope they were better than the embarrassingly bad Grumbling Fur on Day 3.
Publicity seemed generally low-key – I live just twenty minutes drive away from Ravenna and saw no adverts or flyers at all. I imagine the funds to pay for the performers was quite generous but would have thought this could have stretched to putting up more posters or at least rig up an on stage banner to create a stronger festival identity. At the Bronson Club there was nothing to distinguish the event from any other concert at this venue.
My suggestion for next year, if it survives, would be to either have an Italian as curator or co-curator to add home-grown talent to the international line-up and do a major rethink on publicising the events better.
Alt-J’s triangular logo
I arrived at the venue too late to catch Alt-J‘s appearance at Verona for the A Perfect Day Festival last week but my daughter saw them and has been playing their stuff ever since. She’s got me hooked.
Theirs is a curious hybrid sound that sounds like a lot of vaguely familiar things but is also quite original.
The four man band met at Leeds University and, according to their Facebook profile, currently concoct what they call ‘folk-step’ from a basement flat somewhere in Cambridge. Continue reading