Gazpacho (Support act: iamthemorning)
Saturday, 31st October 2015
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
A double pleasure at Cultuurpodium de Boerderij in Zoetermeer last Saturday: Gazpacho and iamthemorning paid a visit.
The prog-minded venue wasn't sold out, but cosily filled with enthusiastic Gazpacho fans and those interested in the up and coming phenomenon iamthemorning.
Kscope signed Piano master Gleb Kolyadin and his cute and talented vocalist Marjana Semkina form quite a refreshing and intriguing duo.
They come from St. Petersburg and it's safe to say their second album Belighted (2012) has taken prog-oriented and more open-minded music lovers by storm.
Belighted is nothing less than a wondrous fairy-tale conveyed through a very pleasant mix of classical music,
a hint of rock with a clear underlying prog thread and intricate chamber music mixture with a poppy edge.
Only a few days ago they released their live album From the House of Arts through a Kickstarter project,
on which they combine songs from their first and second album. This is not simply a live representation of those songs;
it offers listeners totally new interpretations and versions that take the 'old' ones to a whole new and improved level.
What better way to promote their new work than by opening for Gazpacho during their Molok tour?
In Zoetermeer iamthemorning presented the audience with an impressive acoustic set,
for which key figures Kolyadin and Semkina were joined on stage by Philipp Saulin on violin and Mihail Ignatov on cello.
They succeeded in creating quite an intimate atmosphere and sucked us into their dreamy world as soon as they hit their first notes.
Enter Marjana Semkina who enchanted us with her delicate, princess-like appearance and charming Kate Bushesque moves,
infecting us with her enthusiasm, embracing us with her lovely smile, convincing us with a fine performance, soothing voice, and eloquence.
The authentic ensemble managed to keep their music small and enticing, and their acoustic setting worked perfectly.
Before seeing them live I really wondered if they could live up to my expectations, and was curious to learn if they were able to
create the same atmosphere as they have done on their record. Gleb Kolyadin is quite the pianist and as far as
I know the mastermind behind all songs and scores. He may have tried to be invisible, set up his keyboard in the background,
kept quiet and let Semkina do the talking and take the lime light. It worked. They impressed with both their stage presence and musical abilities.
Halfway through the set Marjana Semkina took hold of a book with a cover matching her fairy-tale outfit and started reading to us,
in between giggles, looking quite insecure, which only added to her charm. She studied a bit of Dutch and surprised the audience with her linguistic skills,
all the while knowing exactly what she was doing. It was genuine, though. The band played for 45 minutes,
treated the audience to a great and varied set, mostly work from Belighted. Gazpacho clearly had their work cut out for them this evening,
if they were to top iamthemorning's performance.
To Human Misery
Would This Be
It wasn't long after iamthemorning left the audience satisfied before Oslo-based sextet Gazpacho entered the stage.
This short break in hindsight was a very clever move as the band were about to indulge us with a set of nearly 2.5 hours.
Talk about your money's worth. The fans were excited and I dare say most of the people there were also present
on 13 April 2014 when Gazpacho recorded their live dvd Night of the Demon, right there in de Boerderij.
The band had returned to promote their most recent album, Molok, released only a few weeks ago: a work that is quite different from their previous releases.
I was interested to see how they would make their set flow smoothly whilst keeping things versatile yet unified.
Gazpacho did perform quite a few songs from Molok, although the entire set was very balanced,
incorporating work from every one of their albums. They managed quite well to keep the audience captivated throughout
their lengthy show. You can leave it up to these articulated men to cook up a delicate yet spicy musical evening with flair and finesse.
After approximately 1/3 of the show vocalist Jan Henrik Ohme had to stop the band twice after starting Defense Mechanism.
There was way too much bass in the mix and as a result he could not hear his own voice properly,
which unfortunately created a bit of an unwanted intermezzo in between songs,
although the band managed to get right back into the music after the interruption.
It says something about how seriously they take their sound and quality of their performance.
Personally I think it's a good thing to try and get things perfect from the start, although I'm not
quite sure if I would have stopped the band twice in a row...
Ohme's melodic and emotional singing, his clear, powerful yet fragile voice enticed us.
Gazpacho proved once again to be a team of skilled and virtuoso musicians, knowing exactly what to do,
where to go and seamlessly blending their own ingredients into each other's parts. Everything sounded fantastic, really.
I'm not sure why they decided to put up the screen, which in my opinion was way too small and insignificant,
and positioned far too high up. They should have either made it stand out to have a real impact,
or have left it out altogether. It's not as if their music needs extras, amelioration, anyway. Their music speaks volumes.
Bass player Kristian Torp is the odd one out, appearance-wise, looking more like a metal guy,
although most people would not have noticed it as he was in the dark for the greater part of the concert
(only literally of course), which was a shame. He did have a small frolicking moment when he got to play his tuba in Death Room part II,
an interesting and welcome change during the set, which song was performed equally skilful as the other songs.
Great to hear guitarist Jon-Arne Vilbo's ukulele skills, too.
Let's not forget drummer Lars Erik Asp. His contribution to the Norwegian group is vital.
He has such a subtle way of playing, sometimes almost caressing his toms and cymbals,
yet he's always super concentrated and totally into his music, knowing exactly where to
add that little extra spice to get our attention and when to melt into the background while keeping
everything right on track. What a joy to watch and hear!
The same goes for founder, keyman, programmer, and, well, mother brain Thomas Andersen.
It was lovely to see the smiles on everyone's faces: Gazpacho are truly a band that love what they
do and know how to get their musical message across. I was particularly taken in by violinist/guitarist/mandolinist Mikael Krømer,
a beautifully introverted yet passionate man, clearly getting so much out of performing.
The evening breathed a wonderful atmosphere and I feel it was a far more loose and relaxed show
(definitely not saying it lacked focus or passion) than the night Night of the Demon was recorded,
and the audience seemed livelier, more into the music, I think.
Choir of Ancestors
The Walk, Part 1
The Walk, Part 2
The Wizard of Altai Mountains
Death Room (I, II, III)
Hell Freezes Over III
Hell Freezes Over IV
Know Your Time
Winter Is Never
Chequered Light Buildings
Gazpacho official Website
iamthemorning official Website