I am on a high. Still. I just love to watch Laura Jansen play, performing her songs and being incredible charming and funny. I wouldn’t have thought for a second that I would be singing a long every single song when I first hear her music on good ol’ Myspace some time 2009. She was support/part of the band of William Fitzsimmons and I checked her out beforehand. When she played her songs live, she showed me how wrong I was and convinced me to love her music. Just like that.
Last Friday she played with her band which I (and everybody else I assume) like(s) to call the handsome bunch. Her sound live differs quite a bit from the sound on the record - the music a bit more rockier, sometimes little touches of reggae or some other new twist which makes the concert always a surprise even though I know the songs for so long.
Instead of putting herself and her piano into the middle she works with her band in every way. You can see this in the way the stage is set up - Laura being left (my point of view) facing half the crowd and half the band and skulls, drummer Wouter Rentema on the right looking to Laura and JanPeter Hoekstra and Jan Teertstra in the middle - a big half circle. The rest of the half circle would be the audience. You can tell, she loved her fans or friends how she calls us - many known from sites like Facebook and Twitter or reality. You can also hear that she works with her band - it is in the way the band plays together and that there is room for everyone.
For people who don’t know her: she is basically a singer-songwriter with a piano and mostly sad heartfelt, touching songs. She played them all: “Come To Me”, “the End”, “Single Girls”, “Perfect”, “Wicked World” and many more. One of my favourite moments (and I hope this is something that won’t stop too fast) is when she came down and played “If moon were cookie” (by Cookie Monster) on her ukulele. Such a deep meaning behind this song and it is always nice to be a bit less grown up, too.
Laura kind of makes the covers their own like “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. Even though I have liked the original nowadays I think of Laura singing it when I hear about it. Another for me new cover was “Animal” by Miike Snow - an upbeat pop song the band really enjoyed to play and I enjoyed it. (I am pretty much in love with it now.) And the last was “I shall be released” by Bob Dylan played/sung by the band as the first encore song again in the middle of the crowd. That was so lovely.
She ended the concert with the most wonderful, sad, happy, encouraging song “Pretty Me” - it is about her story and nowadays every time I see her she seems so happy and fully content with what she is doing.
The support was Eli Wolfe from Australia. I really liked him - he seems a bit crazy but in a good way. He has a wonderful (deep) voice and I really liked his melodies. It’s like 2 songs in one. This is the moment I wish I would knew more about the technical side of things - sometimes it is quite difficult to describe a certain sound. See this guitar and him:
And another thing which was nice: John who saw Eli on the day before, came to this show as well and he joined Eli for one song.
I really hope Laura comes back soon. Eli will be playing two dates in Germany before he heads to a different place in the world (13. & 14. June in Leipzig and 17. June in Berlin at the “Die Bar”like in “The Bar” and not like the English “die”).
Thank you for reading,
And a few more photos of the gorgeous looking Laura Jansen:
It happens rarely that I tell you to go to a concert beforehand - I should do that more often actually! Laura Jansen is coming to Germany and I’ve seen her a few times now - from being the support of William Fitzsimmons, a bit later all by herself and then with her handsome band (like really, really handsome) at a Popkomm showcase last year. She is so charming but in a completely natural way. She is who she is all the time. Or you get what you hear. From the rather cheeky “Wicked World” to the uplifting “Perfect” and to the rather sad “The End”. And one of the most wonderful covers I have ever heard “Use Somebody” (by Kings of Leon).
Her album was released in the end of May in Germany. Finally!!!! I know that there are many places where it is almost old and I have the songs from her two EP’s “Single Girls” and “Trauma” since some time 2009 and love them ever since. I think I’m waiting for it to be released here since beginning last year. Her music is so honest and straight from her heart and it also always seems she is talking right to you - may it be on her CD or on her concerts. Taking what bothers you and then makes it all better because you’re not alone with the trouble you go through. There is someone who has been through it, too, and survived it.
I also interviewed her a while ago - a bit over a year ago (seems like yesterday). I still enjoy thinking about it and it was so much fun. It was when this blog was just for private pleasure and my music writing was mainly for a magazine. Anyway.
Here are the live dates:
07.06.2011 München, Ampere
08.06.2011 Köln, Stadtgarten
09.06.2011 Hamburg, Beatlemania
10.06.2011 Berlin, Frannz Club
And just as a random note: The first time I saw William Fitzsimmons at the Frannz Club in Berlin (for those who are new: I dearly love William’s music from the deepest bottom of my heart). I can imagine a tear rolling down my cheek again. Probably when she plays “Perfect”. If she does. I hope she does!
Thank you for reading,
P.S. Laura, I am still waiting for you to move to Berlin! And bring Cary! ;)
Between being ill and study and sleep and being more ill and all that in the last days I thought about doing a 2010 what I loved list but there was so much and the list would be long! I mean what do consider a highlight in terms of music? Calling one of your favorite musicians in a hotel somewhere in France and do an interview for about an hour? Or traveling to Kiel, Germany, to do an interview with someone whose music mean the world to you but no one has ever seen the interview (which makes me still sad)? Meeting lots of new awesome people in Berlin and in England? Finding so much great new tunes that you don’t know how 2011 can actually beat it? (Despite -of course- William Fitzsimmons new record which is already a highlight for me and seeing him again in February.)
So, Archive have been in quite a few highlights. I have done an interview with Danny Griffiths, one of the founders and minds behind Archives sound (well, there are all somehow minds behind the sound but he was the one always working on this project along with Darius Keeler). I love them for years and that was really great. Their concert in Leipzig was amazing as well. Sweaty and intensive. And then I also did an interview with Dave Pen who besides singing/writing/etc in Archive has also a band called Birdpen (and were support for Archive and wrote “Airspace” which is one of the most fitting songs for many of my moods).
I think which got developed and big in this year as well was my love for indie record labels-mainly Alcopop and Big Scary Monsters (no surprise there). And I think it gets summed up in their sampler which was released not too long ago (listen and buy here or buy a CD in on of the two shops). I can’t even tell you who I like best of all those bands. I think The Attika State have a huge spot in my heart right next to Stagecoach and Screaming Maldini and Tall Ships and Tellison. Oh, and former Alcopoppers The Candle Thieves who are the reason everything started. And their “Sunshine and Other Misfortunes” album alongside with the EP’s released are the biggest bowl of colorful, sweet and sour bonbons you can imagine.
I believe I have stumbled over a lot of bands released by BSM without knowing it before and ending up being very surprised like Tubelord and Pulled Apart By Horses. I love PABH. They are awesomely nice (yep, another interview I’ve done) and their live shows are definitely one of the best I’ve seen this year. All 3 times I have seen them-even when they are tired they seem to be more energetic than most other rock bands out there at the moment. And you can heard that in their record as well. And Tubelord. I still don’t know how they actually are live since I’ve only seen an acoustic show but I am very keen to find out soon! And Shoes And Socks Off, oh how I love his voice….! And his records. I am rather happy that I’ve given in and listened to him. There is sometimes so much out there to listen to that even if a million people talk about that person, I won’t go and listen because I am already having too much to listen to but then I heard his music and he is amazing.
And then we have this bands and artists I found because of other people like Sxip Shirey and his mind blowing “Sonic New York” who I sought up after I saw him, Amanda Palmer and Kill Hannah performing together on Kill Hannah’s concert in Berlin. And his live performance is incredible. The first time I saw him alone was after the Eels concert in Berlin (I do love Eels by now otherwise I wouldn’t have had bought E’s complete studio albums within a year!) and both were almost an overdose of great live music! Sxip was playing with Elyas Khan and from that point on it just got better. Seeing Feloché because of them and then all of them together in the encore and later in the year meeting the fabulous Kim Boekbinder who took the word intense performance a bit to another level with her second set at the White Trash. Haven’t seen someone being that exhausted on a stage in a while. And she wrote “Rainbows And Unicorns”-yep, another song written about me without knowing me.
And then there was Peter Broderick who is music which is at some points even sadder than the music of William Fitzsimmons. I found because of a recommendation of Tubelord (one of them, not sure who, you’ll never know who answers). And rather differently to most of things I have listened this year (not that there are many band who actually sound too close to each other).
I also remember The Blue Van doing a rock show at the Bang Bang Club and the thought of never wanting to be their piano but only because they do rock’n’roller things to it and their album which I listened to a lot in the beginning of the year, already thinking it was one of the best things this year.
Same goes for Dukes Of Windsor. And in the middle of this year Scissor Sisters - sweaty, dancy fun with a straight sex record.
And Laura Jansen - if I ever fall in love with a woman it might be her. Her music is going right into my heart and she is funny and lovely and everything. And it is another proof of never judge music by the first listen! 2011 is going to be great for her in Germany.
And there are probably so many other things I might have forgotten now. I should add photos tomorrow, maybe not. Maybe the artists I mentioned in many cases have influenced me in some way. Some of them definitely did like The Candle Thieves, Sxip Shirey, William Fitzsimmons, Laura Jansen or Archive.
Thank you for all the good music and thank you to those who made a few of these things possible (=FastForward Magazine for whom I don’t write anymore). And thank YOU for reading.
Much Love and an awesome new year to all of you.
P.S. List of forgotten highlights:
- Seeing Kashmir live. Last time was maybe 5 years ago. But the actual highlight: Singer dripping his sweat on me by purpose and after seeing me (and my look at him - not a mean look!) saying sorry (not very loud).
- SLASH APOLOGIZED TO ME! End of story. But still a very proud moment for my shy self. Read here.
- For 2011: Tubelord & Shoes And Socks Off. in Berlin.
- Realizing as I go through my photos: I’ve seen Midlake, Mika, Fanfarlo, Erik Penny (3 times incl. his living room), Band of Skulls, General Fiasco, The Black Box Revelation, The Good Fiction (finally!!!), Lars And The Hands Of Light, Pearl Jam, Astronautalis, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Kellermensch, Queens Of The Stone Age beyond MANY other bands. It’s not like I have forgotten about them but it just has been so much this year! :)
…and I haven’t even been to a festival! I have to write band in ‘…’ because two weren’t a band, well maybe they were because they had a drummer. Ah, lets just start were those two days started. I have tried to ignore the Popkomm and Berlin Festival because I just couldn’t see as much as I would love to because I have to study. It is breaking my heart a bit. There is nothing more I would love to do then seeing lots and lots of different new and old bands. Instead I just went to 3 concerts in two days. I have seen the Four Artists Showcase @ Privatclub on Thursday. I once have said I am not the biggest fan of female voices but nowadays there are a lot of female singers around which are awesome. You know you just have to admit when you are wrong. I saw Boy, Julia Marcell, Marie Fisker and Laura Jansen on this evening. All of them are female Singer/Songwriters and all are quite different-their sound, their voices and how they are on stage. I have been amazed by Julia Marcell and her band. They are a lot of fun to watch and they have a lot of fun-I just started to smile with them. The sound on stage differed a lot from the sound their myspace. They actually didn’t have guitars with them or a bass but violin, two pianos, drums, electro stuff and Glockenspiel etc and sound a bit like pop punk fun stuff. I hope to see them again and see if they are always like that. Thats them (note the man in the corner is not the on who played the drums but I don’t know how to describe it proper, yes, she uses a violin as a guitar in some songs):
Marie Fisker was just as great and had as well fun as it seemed. Completely different. Her voice is made for her blues/country/rock music. It felt really honest. I drifted away a bit while listening to her. I also felt a bit watched. Haha. The first row in a small club thing.
The reason I decided to go to this evening and not to Kellermensch or Spleen United who were both playing on this evening and who I like to love - Spleen United is a band I know for years now and whose music I really enjoy and love - was that Laura Jansen played, too. I absolutely love her playing live. Her music always feels honest and straight from the heart. I was very curious because this time she played with her band. When I saw William Fitzsimmons with his band for the first time I was a bit confused and it took me a bit to get into it. In Laura’s case it worked very well (plus who doesn’t like a handsome bunch of men on a stage? haha). I have been singing a long all songs and obviously been watched by the whole band and Laura as I found out afterwards - that is always a bit embarrassing even though I know that you can see the first row especially in such a small club. At least I don’t sing very loud, so I can’t be heard but I just couldn’t stop myself from singing. ha ha.
This time she didn’t play “Perfect” which when I heard it the last time hit me like a train somehow and even now it makes me feel ok to be the way I am. Often I don’t remember certain songs and how I felt when I heard them the first time (live) but this was incredible. I don’t know why it is so powerful. It’s like she is looking right into me and sings what I need to hear sometimes. I just love it. What was funny during the concert was that Laura remembered me from our interview and all that and when ever she told a story I would knew she made a comment about that. So funny. It made me happy to meet her again and see her performing. Here is another photo when she performed “If Moon Were Cookie” (original by Cookie Monster) in the middle of the crowd with her ukulele. Always seems to come straight from her heart.
The next day I felt so happy and like this is the place I belong - music, writing about it, doing interviews etc. It makes me happy even though it is weird. And at the same it leaves me with a crack in my heart because I have to reduce it so much.
Friday I “finally” saw Eels. Amazing. So many impressions. His clothes, the lights, the entrance music, how he changed the songs to be able to play them live, the covers and all. I haven’t expected to actually just dance and sing most of the time and sweat so much. (Yes, when I forget the things around me I sing a long…poor people around me.) The show was rock and not quite like his records are but it was great. I love his voice. It was also rather funny. I think he must be quite a funny man. (Would I love to do an interview with him? Yes, definitely but I would be dead nervous. I wish it would work out one day.) I loved Prizefighter, Paradise Blues, Little Bird and Looking Up (even though E left the stage a bit too early and came back when he remembered that he has to sing a last chorus). Ah, I loved every bit of the concert. The color of the lights and the ice cream and all of it! Every time I see men in suits like his band I want to be male and be able to wear such clothes (ah yeah, that is indeed very superficial and all). So, here is one of my better photos:
And even though I forgot it after just a few hours, he had a support. She was called Alice Gold and seemed to be quite angry (or concentrated) - Singer/Songwriter with a e-guitar. The anger she seemed to have was what made her rather fascinating to watch. Eels played for 90 min plus two encores. After that concert I hurried up to get out and be in time for the end of the first set of Sxip Shirey and Elyas Khan at the White Trash Restaurant - they played a second set later that night. They are amazing. Very different. Very insane (in the best way). I was really curious to see how Sxip is making his music and I actually couldn’t believe that he’s able to produce the sound of his record live on a stage on his own (through he had a drummer with him). Sorry for the bad quality of the photo. Sxip is the master of weird instruments. Great. Can’t wait to see him again.
He was followed by Elyas Khan (with another drummer). Amazing. He is doing some punk rock stuff and he has a great voice as well is way to sing shows his roots. The way he looked on stage was very proud and very strong and thats also the way he sings. I got the Nervous Cabaret album “Drop Drop” and I am absolutely in love with it. Been listening to it all day yesterday. To be honest I struggle a bit to put Elyas and Sxip into words. I think you have to listen yourself and see them yourself as well. They also played together on that evening. So amazing.
Everything I heard in 2 days was so different from each other and incredible in their own way. I love days like this, they give me power to survive the normal days and weeks. They are my comfort zone. It is were I feel like being me and not like trying to be me. I wrote two articles yesterday. That never feels like work really. It feels like something I am supposed to do. I got a huge compliment that I should keep on writing and doing interviews (that means so much to me because I am always very insecure about everything I write and all). I also noticed when I stop for a little while that I am a bit more down. Luxury problems? Maybe. Who cares….
Thank you for reading. I hope you had a great weekend, too.
P.S. Talking about bands here is a link to one of my most favorite bands/person in two bands I love - Dave Pen - it is his blog: http://iamdavepen.wordpress.com/
P.P.S. A real rainbow!