Thursday, 23 May 2013

Double Review: Deux Boules Vanille and Bell Witch

I often attend shows that I don't write a proper review about afterwards. Sometimes I'm just too lazy, sometimes I'm too busy, sometimes nothing really worth mentioning takes place and sometimes things like these happen:

May is well known for being a busy concert month, countless bands crawl out of their wintery holes and are eagerly getting back on stage again. Also more and more people finally go out again instead of spending their time indoors in front of laptop screens and books. So in just a single week actually I saw three shows that will definitely and without a doubt make my top of the year 2013 list. 

The first of them was Deux Boules Vanille at bei Ruth. I had listened to them before and had kind of instantly known that this would be good live. I had watched some youtube videos, had listened to some songs and had read some stuff online and even if I had already really liked all of that, actually seeing them live was a million times better. Big Eater were the support band that evening and after they finished, the two guys from Deux Boules Vanille started carrying shitloads of equipment out of the backstage area of bei Ruth. They built their set up in front of the stage, two drum kits facing each other and being connected to a wall of amps and cabinets behind them. Both of them had some more electronic devices gathered besides their drum kits, self built analog synthesizers and some effect pedals, it all looked fascinating and weird at the same time.
thx to Coco for the picture
Without a real soundcheck they started to play and I was instantly blown away. They triggered the synthesizers with their drums, creating melodies and harmonies accompanied by driving drum sounds. Stylistically this was a crazy ride through so many genres that at the end I was not sure whether I had just attended an electro-party or a Lightning Bolt show. They definitely referred to some early 70s electronica in the vein of Silver Apples, then switched to frantic grind-core influenced parts just to end with something that was so rhythmic and pulsating that it somehow sounded rather technoid. Their whole set was a highly energetic and highly entertaining outburst of joy and the unfortunately rather small audience went kind of crazy. I really truly hope these guys will be back some time soon, this was an awful lot of fun.


thx to Nina for the picture
My second top of the year list show that week would be the Mount Eerie + Mountains show at Festsaal Kreuzberg. I already wrote a review about that here and seeing some remaining posters for that show on the streets still keeps putting a smile on my face. 

The third show I need to mention here is the Bell Witch show at Koma F from last Friday. I was so looking forward to that one, I listened to their record quite often and in the end they absolutely exceeded all of my already high expectations. I hung around in the Köpi yard for a while, playing fetch with a totally nice dog and then descended the Koma F stairs when the first band, some doom/sludge hardcore band from Leipzig whose name I didn't catch (they were a spontaneous last minute addition to the line up) started to play. They were not exactly my cup of tea and played, like, forever (who would have thought that "two more songs" could last that long) plus I was already rather tired... but that didn't stay for long. 
Bell Witch carried their stuff on stage and set everything up. They're a two-piece from Seattle and play music that often gets labelled as funeral doom, not without at least some good reason. I have a huge soft spot for drums/bass duos and this one strongly confirmed my affection again. Their music is slow and dark to a point where it gets dismal and desolate. Their drumming and the heavily distorted bass lines are sagging and haunting and they sound so thick that you would never guess that this is only a duo performing. By using a six string bass and a bass plus a guitar amp at the same time, their bass player basically makes the use of an additional instrument in their set up totally pointless. What really fascinated me though was that everything they played sounded so consistent. Where their support band relied on heavy mosh parts to create an atmosphere (which worked pretty well for the Köpi crowd), Bell Witch sort of managed to exceed these conventional ways to create tension by adding slower and undistorted parts combined with a clean and soft voice instead of the usual growls and occasional shrieks. Their combination of heavy and more forward parts with these slower and clean ones, where they sort of broke with the conventions of a hardcore/metal song structure, were absolutely amazing.  The atmosphere they created was totally intense and it was not only melancholic but rather desperate and desolate and I guess their current record is called Longing for a reason. This show definitely left a mark and I'm really looking forward to hearing some new music from Bell Witch. 
You can read another review on Berlin Beat, unlike me they stayed for Samothrace, the third and headlining band of that evening. Also here's a nice video from one of their recent shows, which really makes me want to see them again:

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