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Posts tagged ‘Live’

To be lost in a forest

Okay so it’s been a while since I promised I’d post about Bloc Party’s recent concert in Auckland, but I’m hoping it’s a case of better late than never. This was the second time in less than a year that I’d had the privilege of seeing these boys from London take to the stage (the first being at Zurich Open Air last August) and they absolutely delivered second-time around as good as if it was the first. The Powerstation provided a venue of perfect proportions (not too big, not too small, great acoustics) and the crowd was suitably excited. After all, it had been six years since Bloc Party had toured these distant shores.

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The Weeknd, live.

As I walked along the waterfront this evening, I came across this quite random chalking. “The Weeknd” looked great in yellow chalk, along the side of whatever wharf shed this was. It reminded me of Pitch, and though we’ve already mentioned how great Jessie Ware, SBTRKT and Gui Boratto were, we’ve neglected the Weeknd.

I first came across The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) when I heard a song on an NPR broadcast (Public Radio is a good thing!). The song, House of Balloons, included a sample from the Siouxsie and the Banshees song Happy House. The guitar was slowed right down, but I recognised it right away – a remnant from my mis-spent youth, appropriated from the mis-spent youth of the generation before me. I have, since then, become completely hooked.

I was lucky enough to download his three mixtapes before the release of the album Trilogy, which includes remastered versions of the tapes*. If you weren’t, it’s probably worth getting. Because it’s a m a z i n g.

Our friend and her sister are also huge fans, and at Pitch, we were all stupendously excited to see how the music we loved converted into a live experience.

We were not disappointed. It was not a flawless performance, and at times, the live sound struggled to capture the layered richness of his recordings, whilst the vocal performance was at times a little pitchy. But Tesfaye has awesome stage presence, and he had the enthusiastic Dutch crowd thrashing about in front of the stage in ecstatic rhythm.


Photos by CIA & PJD, Pitch Festival, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, July 2012.

* Mixtapes seems like an awful misnomer in the age of digital music.

It’s not Paradiso, but…

… last night we got to see the Black Keys play live, at Vector Arena. This was unexpected (thanks so much, Occasionally Travelled!), and a nice reminder for the two of us how much we enjoy the sounds of this American duo. Patrick Carney drums like his life depends on it, and Dan Auerbach sings his heart out till his throat must surely be sore and his voice hoarse, and the result is a huge rock sound that filled up the spaces left in between the near-capacity stadium crowd. The set was a fantastic mix of old and new, with favourite moments being Girl is on my mind (from third studio album Rubber Factory), the encore made up of Everlasting Light (from Brothers) and I got mine (from Attack and Release), as well as Little Black Submarines taken from their latest album El Camino. Oh and needless to say, the crowd went wild, complete with some crazy dancing, for Lonely Boy. I first came to love the music of the Black Keys sitting in Sweet Mothers Kitchen in Wellington when they played the entire Chulahoma (tribute) album (listen to it, if you haven’t! I really never get sick of this album), so I inherently have a preference for the more bluesy numbers in the ‘Keys repertoire. But PJD and I both remain convinced that Blackroc is their most exciting offering to date (so ridiculously good!), with the amazing crossover and collaboration being right up our alley.

Vector Arena is no Paradiso (oh how we are missing our small, gezellig concert venues of the Netherlands!), but we sure enjoyed the Black Keys live.


Photos by CIA and PJD, Vector Arena, Auckland, 2012

Shabazz Palaces live in Amsterdam

A few weeks back we had the chance to see Shabazz Palaces play live in Amsterdam. We were excited; since getting a copy of their most recent album Black Up, the sounds of Shabazz Palaces has been a go-to album over the past months. What made this concert even more exciting was the opportunity to see them play in a such small and gezellig venue which, as far as concert venues are concerned, can only really hold a handful of people. Pre-concert, the anticipation built; it was clear from the minimalistic stage set-up that we were going to cut straight to the main event (no support act here!).

Then, all of a sudden, the waiting was over, as this dynamic duo caught the waiting audience off-guard, making an entrance from the back of the club, playing instruments, sashaying their way through the small but dedicated crowd and up onto the stage. Read more

An Australian, a New Zealander and a camera walk into a church…

It sounds a bit like a joke. It isn’t a church anymore, but Paradiso is a fine concert venue. We were reminded that Boy & Bear were going to be back in the Netherlands by reading a post on another blog. It was Rabbit Song that convinced me at the end that this was a band worth paying attention to.

And we were not at all disappointed. The greatest highlight for us, from this Australian band, was the cover of Crowded House – a Kiwi-Aussie crossover point that had us captivated.

My camera work is very amateur, so maybe it’s better to close your eyes.


Filming by PJD at Paradiso, Amsterdam; yelling at the end, CIA. Also, special mention of the Canadian guy who wouldn’t shut up until I told him to stop being a dick – “oh great!”, he said in the middle of the song, “some Canadiana!”. Way not to be cool, man.

Atmosphere? Indeed…

The traditional instrumentation (in this case, we think it was an mbira) was incredible; the sound resonated through the entire room, and people rocked back and forth entranced. We don’t normally record much at concerts, but maybe now we’ll try it a little more. Shabazz Palaces, we love you as much as you love Amsterdam…


Recorded by CIA, with not much wobble, given the circumstances; she only stopped to keep on dancing!

SBTRKT – live @ pitch

I was amped to see SBTRKT Live and they totally delivered. The London combo of SBTRKT and Sampha creates this live act, and the crowd went wild in the amazing Gashouder venue in Westergasfabriek (more on the venue itself and its general all round awesomeness in a post later, because it deserves it).

Continuing to create some level of mystery wearing tribal masks (SBTRKT is said to reject having to have a clear identity in music, instead rather prefering to let the music speak for itself  – nice approach, don’t you think?)….

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