Second preselection weekend, and I wonder already if this one will generate reactions again like the first one. It was quite surprising, because most of the time Luxembourgian bands expect only good reviews, and take them for granted without making themselves heard, but do dare to say what you really think about them, and you got all hell breaking loose.
Anyway, you can read more about this on the Emergenza reactions page I built in this same corner, but for now let's have a look at Day 3, which happened to coincide with Valentine's Day. As a non-paying visitor, I got neither a voucher for a free beer (damn Tageblatt) nor a condom. What does the latter mean? Journalists don't have sex, or journalists don't have safe sex. If I were a pig, I would assume the latter...
On to the music. A couple of weeks ago, I saw Fast Friday playing at Athus in Belgium, and I didn't have to good a memory of that night. Which is why I was so positively surprised tonight that their music couldn't simply be branded as nu-metal. If their opener still l gave me the impression as if they might have chosen their best song to start of, I learned soon that I was wrong. Although still a rather young band, they played already in a very tight way. The drummer sounded as if he had two additional arms, the guitarist built up a noisescape that acted very well with the more funky basslines, while the vocalist changed between screams and melodies. Especially the latter showed a great talent. OK, the parts between the songs were a bit helpless, and the bassplayer had his instrument hanging too high, but apart from these details, this was a perfect showcase. Too bad they didn't make it into the semi-finals, but that's the curse of the opening band, when not to many people are there yet.
The curse of the second band seems to be that they always get into the semi-finals, but only in fourth position. After the great Ophidian (who were a second band, if you count the non-playing Schweinepest) and the fantastic Mighty Pussy Lickers, we got this time the spaced-out instruMENTAL music of Chief Marts, a band that sounds always laid back on CD, but when playing live, it's always a totally different story. After initial sound problems, they finally caught up and presented a mix of new songs that are less spacy and more 70ies inspired than what I was used of them. Not that this was bad, on the contrary: Chief Marts obviously listened to a lot of Motorpsycho lately and use that influence to combine it with their better known spaciness. So you get a keyboard player who is not only deeply rooted in 70ies rock, but also plays like a true wizard, then there's a guitar player who can play solos where Jimmy Page would become pale, and then dive into feedback orgies that make your ears bleed. The bass player is more on the trippy side, but also very important to the overall sound. Another guitarist plays some gadgets, like an authentic theremin, which made Chief Marts not only my winners of this day, but the band that truly deserves to win this festival. Furthermore we shouldn't forget the drummer who plays a very organic rhythm instilling the music with the warmth that it deserves.
Unfortunately, it was already over with the good music then. Frameless are a band which Lex voted for, but they seemed quite out of place tonight. Where lots of young musicians try to be as professional as possible, Frameless are only in it for the fun, and that's what you hear. Weekend musicians at best. Funnier was the fact that Guy is a fan of Frameless. This is risking now to be very insider-like, but Guy is something like an urban legend. Everybody has heard of him, but not many people really know who he is. Once they meet him, they can't say a word because the first impression always leaves you speechless. Lex would say Guy is a modern day Gollum, but that's only approximating the whole thing. Anyway, Guy likes Frameless, and if you had asked me why Guy had come, I could only have guessed it was Frameless. So if you happen to know Guy, then you can imagine what Frameless sound like.
From now on, let's be briefer about what happened. When I dislike something, it's when bands want to show off how intellectual they are when their music is as uninteresting as it gets. So let these guys be influenced by the philosopher Hume, but they still only sound like a third rate student band. Totally insipid, absolute lack of originality, and worst of all, you stand in front of Hume, listen to them for a couple of songs, go out for a beer, try to think what you just have been listening to, and you can't remember a thing.
Spyglass are three musicians from Mister Steele that disbanded shortly before Emergenza. I was hoping for some great independent instrumental post rock, but then I thought this would be a typical guitar-bass-drums band. Not Spyglass though. They sat relaxed on their chairs, bass player in the middle, with two acoustic guitarist on his left and his right side, and they played some very complicated and intelligent strings-only music. Where Fourmis had no luck, Spyglass had, all of a sudden, the audience on their side. I admit I didn't like it, but then I don't like Apocalyptica either, and that's what it reminded me of. But: Spyglass were highly original, very talented, and therefore I was more than happy to see them succeed. I am just saying this because there are rumours that I always smash to pieces bands I don't like. I only do that when these bands are crap, and Spyglass definitely don't belong to that category. Thumbs up!
From now on it was welcome to the torture chamber. Granny's Favouritz is the kind of band you read about and think that they must be totally cool, as they have a violin and a trumpet player in their line-up. If I had the instruments and the gift of making music, I would probably delve deeply into the chamber pop genre like Divine Comedy or something like that, but GF just plainly suck. Their folk music doesn't kick ass, is boring, made me drink more beer than was good for me, and just plainly sucked, or did I mention that already. GF are a band that has played already a lot of live gigs, and therefore they have a lot of fans, none of which I would like to be seen in plain daylight with, though. So they made it into the semifinals too, but that's what everybody expected.
Next up were Spinal Tap, who must have chosen the name Lifewire. I admit again that I didn't even bother to listen to their music, because these guys are in my opinion the last posers on Earth, even though they won today (and brought a lot of fans). Lifewire is one of these bands where a lot of rumours are going around, like they spent 20.000 Euros on a videoshoot in Canada. If I had that money, I would spend it on something more intelligent than a video clip that won't be shown anywhere important anyway. Their manager also looks exactly like you would expect a manager to look straight out of the Spinal Tap movie. Are these guys the new Still At Large? Now that would be funny, wouldn't it?
And worse it became. I always thought that Emergenza was a contest for young bands, so it's always painful to see bands like the fortyish Pilli Pilli, who don't sound as spicy as their name suggests. These guys probably started playing music before I even went to my first gig, which is the reason why they are still rooted in boring blues schemes. This is what you expect if a time machine would transport you back to mid-Eighties Luxembourg. We may just thank the gods that most the Fondation Pescatore doesn't allow its inhabitants to stay out longer than 10pm at night.
Biozide may have been like the really baddest, or may I say worstest band this night. They were so awful that I had to invent a new word in my previous sentence. Biozide say their music is a combination of alternative rock, classic rock and nu metal, but there was nothing alternative or nu-metallish about their music. It was old men hard rock music with the most atrocious rendition of a Neil Young song ever. Alone for that fact, they deserve already to burn, right next to CorrXion.
And the winners were 1. Lifewire (who had the most fans), 2. Granny's Favoritz (who lacked a few fans), 3. Spyglass (who proved that originality pays out in the end) and 4. Chief Marts (who were just gods tonight). Again I guessed right who would make it into the semifinals, although I had in my guess places 1 and 2 switched. My personsl winners were 1. Chief Marts (of course), 2. Fast Friday (who were very unlucky to have played so early) and 3. Spyglass. I would have denied a fourth band a success tonight, because apart from the three aforementioned bands, the quality tonight was abysmal. Let's hope tomorrow will be better.