Candice Gordon was opening the evening and positively surprised me. Having listened to some of her material online in the past, I could not really get into it. Live, however, she conveys a great energy and the tradition of blues'n'roll, with a really good support band in tow. A treat.
Holograms suprised me too, but in other ways. Having listened to their album "Monolith" on a daily basis the past few weeks, I had very high hopes for this gig. I even shunned the HEAD/BODY gig in favour of Holograms. You see, on record they wonderfullly combine mid-80s new wave with British punk and throw in some 90s emo guitar references. It's not new, of course not, but the album is well produced and the songs well-written. There is a darkness and so much joy at the same time on there. I cannot stop myself from dancing everytime I put the record on.
The problem with well produced records is, of course, that it makes it harder to live up to that on a stage. A band like Thee Oh Sees, with their lo-fi records, supersedes expectations everytime. But topping the recording of "Monolith" is another feat. Holograms did not attempt to create something onstage that was not possible, and that is probably a good thing. Trying too hard has never served anyone any favours.
Instead, these young Swedish men punk it up for a live performance. Snotty punk the way you would maybe have expected to hear at a squat or youth centre. I was taken aback! Where were my beloved wave elements, my rhythmic beats? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love a good punk gig. And sometimes punking it up can work so well, see my old review for a Ty Segall gig to this effect. However, in this case I couldn't help but be a little bit disappointed simply because it is not what I love their songs for. I appreciate the well-crafted tunes and production of their recorded material.
It is hard to tell what the rest of the audience thought about this. At the end of the day, it was not a bad gig really. But surely it was not what anyone thought they were going to get. And the energy didn't really transpire. I am trying to imagine this gig at Cortina Bob, with people pogo dancing and a local German punk band as support. And I would have probably loved it. But a half-filled Kater Holzig and the non-comparison to their album material lead me to leave early, slightly embarrassed.
These guys can write good songs, oh my, and they know how to produce a good record, for sure. Once they grow into touring and playing live night after night, they might go really far. I shall certainly continue to play that record and look forward to hearing what they are coming up with next. But this gig will not make it in my top list for 2012, unfortunatley.