concert review by Ioana Nica
There were plenty of things to do on 21 September in Belgium: indoor and outdoor concerts everywhere, the European Mobility Week abounded in cultural and leisure activities in Brussels and even the weather allowed us to enjoy reading favorite books in the park. Just a perfect day. But despite the huge amount of goodies at sight, there is always a diamond hidden somewhere…
I started my Sunday afternoon in AB. They offered a mini-festival full of top psychedelic bands. I got a good dose of exoticism from Bo Ningen but afterwards, no matter how much I was dying to see GOAT, I had to leave. Maestro, please forgive me, but I went to see … Tuxedomoon. A short journey by train and here I am in Leuven. Tuxedomoon was playing in Het Depot. Georgio Valentino was the opening act.
Loud, clear and sophisticated
The intimate and dark setting of Het Depot, with its black curtains and narrow audience, couldn’t have been a better choice for a Georgio Valentino recital. Georgio the “Dove” Valentino – an Italian weird name, yes. But the faster you tear down any linguistics and cultural correlations, the better. Georgio Valentino , an artist of Greek-American origins, was actually born in Florida. He moved across the ocean to live and perform in Europe.
On Georgio Valentino ’s albums, you get the best of what a real artist has to offer: concept, mastering, sound quality, beautiful story telling, sequencing, wonderful art covers. But live … the melancholy can no longer be tamed with sweetened tones and exquisite production. It bursts out like an acid waterfall, cutting worst than a razor blade and freezes you thoughts with emotion. And all this louder than hell. A loud guitar, exceptional in execution – Georgio Valentino , a clear straight bass tone – Patrizia F. and a sophisticated drumming – Benjamin Meunier.
Two jewelries from their latest album, Mille Plateaux: “I Wish We Were Insects” evoking entomological imaginary, especially through the drumming technique and “Hommage à Chuck Berry” which is even more fascinating live. Interposed, two songs from the first Dove disc produced in Europe, The Sorrows of Young Georgio. Powerful live moments. Ending track: “Suicide Note”. It takes courage to go beyond the concept. The only regret was that the recital was too short. But so looking forward for more soon.
I Wish We Were Insects – Mille Plateaux (2014)
You Wear Wistful Well – The Sorrows of Young Georgio (2011)
“I Won’t Betray You” – Mille Plateaux (2014)
Suicide Note – The Sorrows of Young Georgio (2011)
What we can’t talk about we pass over in silence
I was lucky enough (and forever grateful) to be taken by the hand and be shown that Tuxedomoon is more than “In a Manner of Speaking”. Beyond their successful singles lays something without any equivalence. A multidisciplinary approach for almost 40 years of activity. Tuxedomoon can only be an experience continuously open to research, reading and listening.
They begin their journey with Bruce Geduldig warning about the medical case of person sick with a strange disease called mass-media. No wonder the body is covered in film. A character that lives a surreal life of which he’s not even aware, presenting symptoms of hallucinations and altered memories. These were the projections accompanying the music.
Steve Brown (woodwinds, keyboards, vocals) and Blaine L. Reininger (violin, guitars, vocals and other strange sound-making instruments) took the front man’s role in turns, ensuring the dynamics with their multitude of instruments. Peter Principle (bass) was, as usual, a cathedral of sobriety. And definitely, the experience would have been incomplete without Luc Van Lieshout (trumpet, harmonica).
The setlist abounded of their unmistakable and prolific style, from minimal samples of violin, clarinet of bass to ample harmonies. Songs of their latest production Pink Narcissus, firstly performed live as a new score for the 1971 cult film Pink Narcissus by James Bidgood. Dorian made an excellent ouverture. Other songs are already among favorite live choices, many figuring on their latest live production – Liveland: Tuxedomoon In Concert, recorded in Bucharest, Romania: Nervous Guy, Still Small Voice, Time to Loose.
Tuxedomoon is the kind of performance you shouldn’t miss if come across it. Because it’s more than five people on the same stage, playing a dozen of instruments, with a hypnotic visual message and a complex musical background. Between the songs, they talk and tune instruments as if they were a chamber orchestra. Together, they are bigger even then themselves.
Among the various definitions for a good live performance, one stands out: offering something different than what has been done in the studio, on the record. This is something that the mainstream music drastically lacks of.
Setlist (under reserve. Please contribute at http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/tuxedomoon/2014/het-depot-leuven-belgium-23cf1c0b.html ):
Arab Willie Danse
A Home Away
Time to Lose
Everything You Want
Still Small Voice
In the Name of Talent (Italian Western Two)
KM/ Seeding the Clouds
Joeboy the Electronic Ghost
More about the dark and fascinating world of Georgio Valentino in his latest interview: