When you are a regular DisAgreement Online reader, you know that Emergenza is the only kind of folklore that we really like. Eight weeks after the preselections, Pascal and I were eager to enjoy the two semi-finals. But before the real event began, the same radio DJ clown as in the preselections entered the stage. He thinks he's as cool as Ben Stiller in Zoolander, but he will never get the same warm acceptance by the audience as DJ Petz two years ago. Already in the preselections, I became quite annoyed by the stupid entrance music he had during his entrance. Such music is suitable for wrestling superstars, but not for local DJs. Now he finally told us the background about this tune. It's a song written by Nessaya (a German band whose only success was writing a commercial for Karstadt) and featuring the Emergenza Allstars. I can't say anything bad about the concept behind this EP. It's sold for 5 euro and the collected money will be donated to the AIDS branch of the Red Cross. Charity really is a positive thing, but why didn't they make a good song? 'Music Is What I Live For' comes in two versions: an acoustic one featuring Nessaya and Julie Triad on vocals and an electric one featuring the singers from 14 Emergenza bands. The all stars version is sounding very sterile and couldn't have been done better by Dieter Bohlen, with its soulless 'Deutschland sucht den Superstar' sound. Really awful! Listening to this music may cause severe head cancer. The same misguided concept had already been used on the 'More Songs For Life' CD, where an equally good cause was destroyed by 1. really bad music and 2. giving people a bad conscience when they dared to tell the truth. Support the fight of AIDS, but do not support bad music.
After this senseless torture, Fast Friday, a very promising metal core act, opened the first semi-final. At the preselections, they were one of the bands that most impressed me. The stage acting was looking very professional. The question was now how they would behave on the big stage. Singer Jan appeared already at Emergenza two years ago as the Short[k]ut frontman and he showed than that the big stage isn't too big for him. Today Fast Friday didn't have problems with the stage, but with the sound that simply wasn't transparent enough. That may be a reason why only the first few rows really enjoyed the music and the atmosphere wasn't as intense as in the round before. Nevertheless Fast Friday are a live band and are more convincing on stage that on CD where they aren't bad either. Especially the bass player was tremendous (considering he's a policeman; ed.). All members gave their best to live their songs on stage, but they would have had more success if their sound had been more powerful.
Next band that evening were Breet who were some levels calmer than Fast Friday. I didn't have a too good impression of them from the preselections, but either they had a better set tonight or I was more sober than two months earlier. Breet are a rock band combining somehow alternative and retro elements. If I had to look for a comparison, my first idea would be Holy National Victims who had quite a successful appearance at the 2003 Emergenza. Breet have some interesting aspects in their music. Especially the two guitars put the necessary drive into the music. But the bass sounded a bit lousy and the singer still acted a bit clumsy on stage. But these musicians are still very young and need some more time to develop which surely will happen.
Third band of the evening were ILL? To review them in one sentence: they don't like us and we don't like them. Each band of this evening had at least a minimum of talent in their music, but what ILL? presented was just ridiculous. Everything that went wrong in the Luxemburgish music scene gets reheated by them and still leaves you cold. This simple and soft poser hard rock music is nothing else as the embarrassing Lëtz Rock from the Eighties when Luke Haas thought that he was the king or at least the grand duke of rock'n'roll. Some people (not considering their fans) thought that ILL? even weren't that bad and had at least the necessary technical abilities, but so many ideas were stolen. Elements of Bon Jovi's 'Dead Or Alive' and from Bob Dylan's 'All Along The Watchtower' reappeared in diverse ILL? songs. And even their very new song where they used the heavy metal guitar or their 'hit' with Luxemburgish lyrics couldn't motivate me voting them. But ILL? had again brought a lot of fans which is more important than talent, at least, when you play at Emergenza. But the guys selling CDs and more at the Schalltot/Emergenza table were so fascinated by these songs that they ignited their lighters during the ballad and decided to form a fan club.
After that the worst part of the evening was over, and ILL? were followed by Jay's Pub, a surprisingly good newcomer from the first round. Although all musicians have more or less only 17 years, one guitar player gathered already Emergenza experience with Paraflip two years ago. While Paraflip was just simple and uninspiring retro rock, the music by Jay's Pub is much richer. Classifying them as another folk rock guitar band because of a violin in their music wouldn't be fair. The confrontation between distorted rock guitars and e-violin causes a very special sound which really is difficult to describe. The music certainly has a certain 70s flair, but it's also experimental and bizarre. The weakest point in the preselections was the female singer who acted very nervously. Although she didn't always hit the right note today, she did a much better job (less timid, more rock tonight, which was rewarded). She has a really superb voice and I dare comparing her to Kate Bush. I really see a bright future for Jay's Pub.
Another metalcore band had to play and right, it was Estrepito's turn. I already thought that their preselections gig was much better than what they did when I saw them about a year ago. This time Estrepito again were very impressive and they chose with 'Desert Place' a suitable opener to bring the excited spectators to move. I don't think that their set list was very different from the first round, but the stage acting was again very wild and the evil vocals also contributed to a successful gig. Highlight of their show again was the song where the conga player caused a rhythmic, tribal and somehow hypnotic atmosphere at the Kulturfabrik. You could notice that a lot of spectators began to dance during this track.
In a radio interview, Kyrenee promised that their set would contain some surprises and they were right. They claimed that we shouldn't take this concert too seriously, but it was, apart from Jay's Pub, my personal highlight of the evening. All songs were announced by Mars from the Mighty Pussy Lickers (because he acted quite the clown tonight, otherwise he would have been Mars from Clean State; ed.). Like a box ring lady, he wore sexy clothes and showed huge posters announcing the tracks. Although he was looking very sexy, this didn't prevent me to pay attention to the music. Kyrenee were acting very wild on stage. The male vocals were reminding me of Sabbat, a great British thrash metal band from the late Eighties. The female singer was very impressive and she has a well trained voice for harder and gothic metal parts. Kyrenee also were supported by Mars on vocals and by Dirk (Couchgrass, Pubbles), the world's sexiest dumpster, playing drums on a dustbin. But the best joke was the female singer's T-Shirt. I was wondering why KILL was written in large letters on her chest. She showed her back and we could read MIKE. So we're not the only ones making fun of Mike Kill who's trying to count the raised arms to see which band should qualify for the next round. A change in the music was that the partly awful violin parts were more subdued than before. Even if Jay's Pub were musically better than Kyrenee, their set was the most entertaining.
Last Emergenza act of the evening were Disappointed, one of the two lucky losers from the preselections. I have to admit that I didn't catch their music too much. The charismatic vocalist really wasn't bad and liked to shout and jump around. But the music was just ordinary alternative rock with no surprising elements. All other musicians even didn't try to move around and seemed to be fixed on stage. They haven't been around for a very long time and I think that there is still some work to be done. [although the editor disagrees because they have some tremendous songs, like 'Freak Out' which was my favourite track of the evening, but yes, they need better stage presence]
To make things more exciting and suspenseful, there was a special guest playing. Emergenza organisers Get Up Music booked the duo Groovyrimba from Luxemburg feat. Sven Kiefer and Jeff Herr. I didn't know both musicians and didn't expect too much. But I was wrong. On drums, marimbas and on other instruments I even can't name, they showed how rich the world of percussion can be. The pure instrumental music was very rhythmic. Some parts sounded tribal, sometimes there were electronic or techno samples and they even covered a song by The Prodigy. The calmer parts reminded me of the background music from Monkey Island, the world's most phantastic computer adventure game. [the editor wants to add that we could have enjoyed their set much better if we had been less drunk]
After a gig lasting more or less 40 minutes, the results were:
3. Breet (surprisingly for me, number 3 again was their lucky number)
2. ILL? (at least, they didn't win, but I have to suffer through their set again in the finals)
1. Jay's Pub (the well deserved winner).
If I had to pick the lucky loser, I would choose Kyrenee. First of all because they improved compared to the preselections. Secondly the musicians were acting motivated on stage. Finally they showed that metal and humour don't have to be two different worlds.
750 spectators were present and saw a great and again well organised Emergenza night. The beer ladies were so professional again that they even managed to serve me drinks already when they saw me approaching. Whether this means that they are really effective or that I have just a legendary thirst needs to be seen in the future.