A truly spectacular set and one that was totally unique from what I’ve come across so far.
Guitars, drum sets, keys, electronic pads, scratch decks, xylophones…a series of musical instruments on the main stage as soon as I walked into The Fleece, could it be that we were about to witness a full musical orchestra on a Monday night?
As I was thinking about what to expect, the crowd grew steadily as more people were coming in and eagerly anticipated to see German indie rockers The Notwist. Before them was American hip hop producer/rapper Jel, taking his place on stage among the collection of music instrumentals. No words of introduction from the very first moment, just a sudden clash of heavy driven beats that gripped the room.
Tapping away on his beat pad and out coming sound waves of screeching synths, rolling drum beats in quick succession and distorted sonic elements – ‘All Day Breakfast’ as Jel states about having late night cereal to the audience. He spits harsh rap flows in ‘WMD’, fuzzy electronic beats and clapping percussion, bringing an old school hip hop vibe. “Don’t stop buying, for what it’s worth” looping over as Jel plays ‘To Buy A Car’ adding a more gritty and sleazy edge to his set. ‘Sweet Cream In It’, his predominant song which was featured in the film ‘Crank 2’, quick and electric with rolling drum beats and flickering guitar strings, an energetic set from the US producer which got the crowd pumped up for what was about to become one of the most unique live sets that I’ve ever seen.
The Notwist walked on stage, all six of them taking their rightful places with the instrumentals ready to showcase their pioneering electric flavoured sound. Opening the set was the wacky title track from the new album ‘Close To The Glass’. Electronics blaring out a mix of bongo/steel drums beats, layered with groovy basslines and overly stretched synths. Lead vocalist Marcus Acher certainly added a tranquil texture with his subdued vocals – at this point the band was stationary until they played their latest single ‘Kong’. The crowd was ticking away to the hard-hitting drums, electric guitars, warm synths and vocal harmonies; everyone was energised for the rest of the set. More instruments were introduced, small bells and beads rattling around, glittering jingles on the xylophone and looping electronics on the key pads (which were being controlled by two Wii controllers wirelessly!) and even some scratching on the decks; this was full blown experimental at its very best and we were all dancing along.
The band also played songs from past albums ‘You, The Devil & Me’ and ‘The Notwist’, one minute glittering electronica and alluring synths (Gravity), the next roaring guitar riffs, crashing drums and grungy vocals (Be Reckless); it was a musical flashback of the past 20 years with wave after wave of soundscapes. I was head bobbing as was everyone else, so much movement and energy, the band members switching instruments one after the next, we were all in one giant musical party. The Notwist received an ovation and encore after their set, immediately after they returned to the stage to give us one last dosage of hits from the new album.
A truly spectacular set and one that was totally unique from what I’ve come across so far; a round of applause to The Notwist.
Watch their video for ‘Kong’ right here: