Review: Eurosonic Thursday @ Usva

Me and my drummer (DE)

The evening starts with loud waving synthesizer sounds and the crystal voice of Charlotte Brandi, the singer of German duo Me and My Drummer, which exists since 2001 and originated in Berlin. The duo met during their work in a theater, where they would jam together during breaks. The first album of Me and my Drummer ‘The Hawk, The Beak, The Prey’ was released in 2012 and their second album Love is A Fridge will be released in a few months.

During their performance at Usva, Charlotte and drummer Matze Pröllochs seem to get most of the people sucked into their enticing music. ‘Life is not a situation that we accept’ and ‘Wishes drag you down’ are lines which are still stuck in my head. This is probably why they gave the genre ‘dreampop’ to this band. In addition, when you listen to their powerful, dreamy pop, you can still hear some theater influences in their lyrics and intonation. A lot of their songs consist of a dramatic theme and of dramatic musical elements.

Halfway during the show, the band plays some songs of their new album ‘Love is a fridge’. Charlotte immediately sums up several jokes about the name like: ‘Love is like a fridge: there’s always something going moldy in the back’ and ‘Love is like a fridge: when you open the door, the light goes on’. This interaction with the crowd is cause for laughs and a relaxed atmosphere. All in all, Me And My Drummer give a very energetic show, which enthused the audience to such an extent that some people couldn’t refrain from a little dance here and there.

Victoria+Jean (BE/SE)

The second act of the night is that of avant-garde pop/indie rick duo Victoria + Jean, who met in Brussels and have been inseparable since thanks to their musical chemistry.

It takes some time for Victoria + Jean to get settled in the concert room because of their massive amount of technical sound systems. But, as soon as the Swedish Victoria starts to sing a few loud echoing words into the microphone, you know that this is worth waiting for. A huge burst of energy is released! Many people in the crowd head bang to the echoing words of Victoria, and surprisingly enough, the same people are also listening attentively to the massive guitar solo of the Belgic Jean. It is safe to say that the crowd definitely feels and relives their music.

The Eurosonic crowd aren’t the only ones carried away by Victoria+Jean’s music. Their oeuvre covers a couple of extraordinary songs which could all be seen as incredible art pieces. This is probably why Pierre Mikaïloff states on their website that their song Divine Love (which was released in 2014) is literally from another world. Filmmaker Anita Fontaine also describes the work from this duo as a soap opera from another dimension. This band pushes the boundaries of the genre rock by its originality and complexity!

Núria Graham (ES)

When Núria Graham enters the stage on this Thursday night, and especially when she starts performing, you wouldn’t expect her to be just 19 years of age. Núria has a level of confidence and a stage presence which comes so natural, that is seems as though she has been performing for much longer than she has.

This doesn’t just go for her confidence. The amount of control she has over her voice suggests a maturity which makes you forget how young she is. Graham effortlessly switches from intimate forms of singing to full-out use of voice.

The songs she plays are warm and folky, but there’s also something of an undefinable edge present in the music. This is particularly the case in the song “Bird Eyes” from her same-titled debut album, presenting an interesting mix of rock and folk rhythms which at times smoothly go back to the quiet “ocean-like” sound as Eurosonic has described it.

Beautiful songs, but it’s not the type of music which keeps all visitors in the theatre for the full forty minutes. So it’s a good move on Graham’s part that she decides to add a highly original cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”. It must be said however, that while we might refer to the performance in singulars, Graham has a great band behind her who played flawlessly.

Ingrid Lukas (EE/CH)

With a focus on keys, synths and other electronics, Ingrid Lukas creates a mystical but highly beat-orientated sound. The feel of the music and the sound of her voice, which clearly indicate the influence of Lukas’s country of birth Estonia on her music, would have made her a perfect fit for last year’s Eurosonic as well.

It’s the type of dreamy music which an audience almost can’t help but be hypnothized by. This is partly the case during Ingrid Lukas’ show at Usva, where those watching the show applaud Lukas’ visible passion and the band’s intricate mesmerizing rhythms.

Still, something is a bit off. Partly it’s Lukas’ vocals, which aren’t always up to speed. But it’s also everything that’s added to the show: the interpretative dance intermezzos, the decorative lighting which is draped around the singer and the drummer, the whispering; it’s all a bit too gimmicky at times. These extra elements added to the show, but also formed a distraction from the music at times; and sometimes it’s better to let the music speak for itself.

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