Nostalgic electro pop was just one of many genres on full flow last night as YEYEY and Walls & Birds brought an ensemble of sounds to de Gudde Wëllen on Wednesday night.
Having spent 10 years in the much loved but certainly under appreciated Uzi and Ari, who released three albums and were often compared to the likes of Thom Yorke and Mogwai, Ben Shepard has gone out on his own to create a new all encompassing collection of songs that weave the patchworks of his past sounds to a new dynamism.
First up was Berlin based, Brazilian band Walls & BirdsThe who set the tone from start. As the audience waited downstairs for the music to begin a tall slender figure dressed in black magician’s attire, including top hat and small bell walk around each table announcing the beginning of the the show. As the crowd made their way up stairs the announcer walked onto the stage introduced the band and began to slowly strip as the band played a cover of Lana Del Ray’s “Video Games”. As he made it down to just his boxer shorts he calmly slipped into a long black lace dress and picked up the guitar. There was no explanation to this nor the 80s style telephone that sat at the front of the stage but the theatrics brought an intrigue to their set and certainly a few talking points for the crowd.
Fortunately, they backed up the theatrics with the music which veered from psychedelic pop one moment to country the next, then off to swing. As much as their eclectic taste is something to behold their lack of cohesion meant there were certain moments that were lost in the evenings proceedings. They were strongest when they kept to their electro pop with all but the female vocalist proud owners of some excellent 80s haircuts and moustaches, they certainly looked the part. Now all we need is for them to stand next to an old Mercedes and they’d be the set from Deutschland 83.
After an extended set from Walls and Birds it was finally time for YEYEY (pronounced Yee-Yee). Sitting down behind a table with an electric guitar, a Korg synth and laptop resting in front, it was an altogether different visual experience, with less going on onstage Shepard relied on the visuals from the projector to grab the attention of the crowd. Fusing together the textural layers of his sound with refined soulful vocals Shepard is onto a winning combination, bringing with it comparisons of Twin Shadow and Caribou. However, after such an intriguing and exciting set from Walls and Birds his lack of stage presence and minimal sound meant we were left wanting a bit more from his set.
With the electronic dream-pop quality to his sound there is still plenty to admire and enjoy but as some of the audience began to sit on the floor it was certainly more of the easy listening set which would have benefitted from being first on the bill.
de Gudde Wëllen – 14.09.16