Monday, 30 June 2014

Late Review: Chain and The Gang

As it was an entertaining and well-received show, I thought I should do a quick late review.

One of the warmest nights in June, this was another sweaty gig in cosy little Privatclub, which was quite packed that night.

The Opener was Skiing. A Berlin-based trio very much influenced by 50s rock'n'roll. You may be familiar with them as they seem to play frequently around town. Their rather dreamy and tame poppy sound rather reminded me of some good '77 power pop on record. Live, however, it was sped up and a lot of the songs turned into fast punk rock numbers. The very high and juvenile vocals by the singer/guitarist as well as of the backing drummer are quite impressive. I do not think many grown-ups manage to sing that boyish. It can even be a little intimidating. At the end of the show, an audience member entered the stage and played some sing-a-longs with one band member. I have no clue whether this was spontaneous or planned and what exact covers they played. My bottom line: Entertaining yes, musically okayish.

More people filled the small room when Chain and the Gang entered the stage. Nicely uniformed all dressed in the same silver glitter rock jackets, I pittied them immediately as they must have sweated heavily (hope the tour money pays for some extra dry-cleaning). Ian Svenonimus, mastermind behind the group, reminded me of Jerry Lewis as the nutty professor. Like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Ian was and is a polarizing person, a love or hate figure. He was dancing and jumping on the stage, but it all goes along with the music, which is energetic rock'n'roll infused by bluesy parts and gospel-like backround choirs. Overall a convincing concept that worked out very well.

Like a soul or gospel singer, Ian is an entertainer who communicates with the audience to lead over to the next song. And even this communication worked well with tonight's audience, which was rather cosmopolitan, as well as willign to follow the master of the ceremony. Most songs started low with spoken word parts and sparse instrumentation. Then the guitars and keyboards would enter the mix, and it would climax in a soul explosion. People would dance wildly, enjoyment all over their faces. Well done!

I left early but right at time before the nice shower-gel smell of my frontman vanished and the thin air was filled with some more unpleasant smells. It was a quite extra-ordinary performance, I think they convince with a cool retro-rock'n'roll sound which is not dusted and highly entertaining.

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