This was a really tough weekend, making me wonder why people often claim that there aren't enough concerts in Luxemburg. The Great Deceiver played at the Shiny'z in Kehlen on Wednesday. On Thursday, a real brutal package including Morbid Angel, Hatesphere and Leng Tche gave a lesson in extreme metal at the Kulturfabrik. And the same venue now headed both semi finals of the Emergenza newcomer contest, organised by Get Up Music. Before the music started, DJ Cool appeared on stage to introduce the event and to motivate people buying the AIDS benefit CD-single featuring Nessaya and Karstadt allstars. I suppose that the album sold very badly the day before, because if you bought it today, you got the triple Rockhal CD sampler for free. This compilation has without any doubt a value of 5 euros (even if it is used only for promotional purposes) and you may still use the Nessaya CD as Frisbee [or beermat, because I know our readers like it when we mention beer; ed.].
As it was already the case in the preselections, The Pubbles/Les Poubelles had to start because of their strange choice of instruments. They are not only the seven sexiest garbage men on earth, but their hair style was looking real freaky tonight. I wonder how many litres of gel some of the musicians had put into their hair, but this can be considered as the first amusing surprise of the evening. During the first song, there was a technical problem and the long break between the first and the second song was a bit annoying. But after this bug was fixed, The Pubbles/Les Poubelles played with the same passion as we have already seen them before. The aha-effect wasn't of course as high as two months ago, but it was amazing to see the different objects they used to play percussion. Groovyrimba presented a great percussion show the day before, but the program by The Pubbles/Les Poubelles even went a little further. They beat with sticks, hammers, iron bars and even their naked fists against dustbins, garbage cans, plastic barrels, differently shaped pipes and of course regular drumsets. The comparison with Les Tambours Du Bronx was evident, but this noise orgy was played with such great motivation that it was a pleasure for the spectators who were nearly as hysterical as when the Beatles were playing in Hamburg.
Writing about Airback won't be easy. I don't know what motivates them to make music, but considering the pure technical point of view, they are by far the second worst musicians (remember Undone?) participating in this edition. The musicians were easily satisfied with playing the simplest melodies and song structures and the vocalist didn't hit a single note, neither in German nor in English. On their more melodic and straighter pop parts, Airback reminded me of Sportfreunde Stiller. When they tried to play faster or harder, the result was a non structured noise orgy. The only positive aspect worth mentioning is their fuck you attitude on stage. They certainly know about their talents (or lack thereof), but they just play for fun. Airback showed that you don't need to be a punk band to spread some anarchy. But what I really can't understand is why those four third league musicians are supported by two great brass players who seem to be ready for the musical champions' league. They did a great blow job on stage [the editor wants to point out that he really enjoyed their gig tonight though. Airback are really amateurs, but their brass section is the best you will find in Luxembourg. That, combined with their lo-fi punk attitude makes for original music].
A moment I was really looking forward to was the set by Triad, the band that should not be. At least not at the Emergenza contest. The eager DisAgreement reader and Triad singer Julie Rodesch gathered two professional and too old German musicians to perform with Triad at Emergenza. The bass player is looking like a Mon Chi Chi teddy bear, the guitar player looks like the hologram doctor from the Star Trek Voyager series. Emergenza is still a newcomer contests where old people running a music school should stay in the audience and away from the stage. Nevertheless Triad's music is very entertaining. The sound is so clean that some people in the bar room even didn't notice that the next band were already playing and thought that the music came from a CD. And that's right, it sounded a bit like playback, but I won't of course make any nasty suggestions here. This fact is probably due to the professional abilities of some musicians who are dreaming of writing the next Karstadt commercial. Singer Julie still has the helium effects in her voice and she's maybe dreaming of appearing in the next Abba musical. But as the Germans actually have a European Song Contest problem with Gracia, I suggest that Julie & The Karstadt Boys can replace the scandal ridden, charts manipulating wannabe popstar.
My personal favourite tonight was John McAsskill who fortunately were able to play today. Singer Natalie had an accident about two weeks ago and it wasn't sure for a long time if she would could sing this evening. She could and did much better than in the preselections. John McAsskill brought ass rock to Luxemburg what's not so easy to describe; imagine very raw alternative rock mixed with chaotic and humoristic elements. John McAsskill played a lot of songs from their CD respectively from the preselection round. 'Bleiwasser' is a bass driven song which is very suitable as an opener and people immediately began to move. It's the only concert I entirely watched from the first row and John McAsskill can't complain about the spectators' reactions to their music. The songs were better chosen than in the first round. Although there were lots of parallels, they didn't play the ballad 'Warum hast du das getan?' which disrupted the flow of their preselection show. They found the right mix of rhythmic ass rock with some screamo elements. It's always a pleasure to watch bass player Yves acting like an untamed animal. Guitarist Mich is looking very intimidating and the drummer made lots of noise behind his kit. Singer Natalie, again smoking a lot and drinking red wine, is a real chameleon. From song to song, she can change from the lovely but slightly chaotic girl to a wild hyena and screaming fiercely. I have already seen about half a dozen John McAsskill concerts, but this has been their best so far. After the end, there's weren't too many hands raised, but John McAsskill is more than just an Emergenza phenomenon. [again I beg to differ. Many hands were raised, and held up high for a long time. When people thought the count was finally done, it was announced that they had to count again, this time of course a lot of people had already gone to the bar or the toilet. We don't want to insinuate under any circumstances that this unfair behaviour of the two counters is related in any way to the fact that John McAsskill refused to participate in the dreadful Nessaya song; ed.]
I can't name you a single blues band that I like [how about the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion?; ed.] and so, Blue Shade were not among my favourite bands tonight. Normally, blues is a genre for old guitar players like Eric Clapton who have their fingers full of arthritis so that they can't play faster. In the past there have been some Emergenza blues bands consisting of old farts who immediately were kicked out after the first round. What Blue Shade do isn't very different from the other blues bands because their style is very traditional. But we all know that Emergenza is built on the foundation of having a lot of friends and not necessarily talent/style/originality. As Blue Shade brought a lot of fans, it was obvious that they would win this semi-final. But I'm also trying to see the positive aspects behind Blue Shade. The opener, an instrumental song with trombone, trumpet, saxophone and harmonica, was a well played mixture of soul and swing. After this song, Blue Shade started the more traditional blues full of every possible cliché and I preferred not to watch to the end of the gig. What disturbed me too was the arrogant appearance of some musicians. Like bad Hollywood actors, they wanted to show off on stage how they lived the music and especially the saxophone player looked as if he were having an orgasm on stage. [I had a slightly better opinion than in the first round. Blue Shade are terribly unoriginal, but they excel at dissecting blues as a formal exercise. I doubt that this is the goal of this genre which was invented by desperate poor people, but all of a sudden I can imagine these kids winning the Emergenza as a true fuck you to all the nu metal and crossover bands from other countries that the Taubertal finals are so full of; ed.]
A band that caused a lot of discussions after the first round was Death Symphony who copied a bit too much from Apocalyptica. On the one hand, you have to say that they were the least original band from the preselections. On the other hand, you could be very nice and say that they did with two cellos what Apocalyptica do on four cellos. To avoid similar disputes, Death Symphony were five musicians today. There were again the two original cello players who were responsible for the initial Apocalyptica sound. They were supported by Olaf who in real life is the Ophidian drummer and brother of one of the Death Symphony musicians. But there were also two new musicians who did their best to enrich the sound. The boy on keyboards made Death Symphony more suitable for fans who like melodic wave and gothic sounds. A girl was playing contrabass which drove the music again into a darker and more symphonic direction. I respect very much what Death Symphony are doing and would like to see them once at a normal concert where they can play in front of a smaller true fan crowd. But today they were somehow the wrong band at the wrong place. Emergenza Luxemburg never tells the positions of the bands that didn't qualify, but I suppose that Death Symphony came in last today.
Concerning the last two bands, I have to admit that my attention span had begun to deteriorate. After so many bands and beers [I know you all like it when we mention this wonderful, beautiful, tasty golden liquid without which life would be a miserable pool of suffering and despair; ed.], I started finding other stuff more interesting than the music. While Elysis Hyt were playing, Pascal and I were fascinated by the unceasingly increasing bellies of the Dreamcatcher musicians. We surely are no mannequins for swimming trousers, but they really impressed us. But I have nevertheless to write some lines about Elysis Hyt. I really don't understand why they play at Emergenza. One of the bands from the finals has the right to play at the Alive Festival in St. Vith, and they are already featured on this bill. Then I didn't like their preselection set at all. From a technical point of view, their mixture of 90s crossover rock with a strong funk touch was flawless, but that music doesn't interest me any longer. The blond singer is one of the most arrogant people I've ever seen on a stage. He looks more like a Club Med animator than a singer that can be taken seriously. He probably hopes to get the Vox award for the best look, but I'll give him the DisAgreement award of arrogance. Elysis Hyt again brought a lot of fans from their home country Belgium, but it wasn't enough to qualify the direct way. An explanation may be our Grand Duke's 50th birthday which was celebrated that day in Luxemburg-City. As I am half a Belgian myself, I know that these folks have a nose for free beer so I suppose that the Elysis Hyt fans stole the band bus and drove to the big birthday party where free food (French fries?) and free beer were waiting. [Apart from being told that Elysis Hyt were the only arrogant band in the backstage (I didn't hear that of no other band), they also brought the most annoying fans, only watching their own band, the rest of the time crowding in front of the bar, hardly making any room for thirsty non-Belgians. Furthermore Elysis Hyt accused in an interview with the Quotidien newspaper parts of the Luxembourgish media of xenophobia. I don't have a problem with them being Belgians, because Belgians don't have their own Emergenza. I only have a problem with bands using cheap shots to victimise themselves. They are just a cover band playing for once their own music, and that's a fact and not an opinion; ed.]
Ending the competing part of the night were again Stories To Tell who already played last during the preselections, and again it was a lucky spot for them. As the vocalist's brother and his Dreamcatcher lobby were watching this gig, we couldn't concentrate on their bellies anymore and discovered to our pleasure a security guy with a stylish vokuhila haircut and a snappy moustache that looked like glued onto his face. He stood at a door that just was opened for air circulation and we tried again and again to get out, but he wasn't prepared for discussions [and probably quite rightly so, but then there wasn't anything else to do for us; ed.]. Meanwhile Stories To Tell were playing in the big venue and I wasn't fit anymore for slow songs as I was waiting for the special guest Lord Bishop. I respect very much what Stories To Tell do, but their acoustic music is a bit too slow and mellow for my taste. They are nice guys, singer Rėsch made good French fries on the Mobilux openair festival (where the French Fries were better than the music, but not as good as the beer) and he offered Pascal and me two beers at the preselection. I'm happy for them that they qualified for the finals and hope that they will play earlier so that I'll have a chance to see them in a more sober state.
While the Emergenza jury was checking the votes and discussing about the choice of the lucky losers to qualify, Lord Bishop, the self claimed godfather of sex rock, began to rock and roll in his very dirty way. During the whole evening, I saw Lord Bishop at his merchandising stand selling T-Shirts and drinking a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey which he even brought on stage. Lord Bishop is a very big man and probably has gathered a lot of drinking experience, because Mr. Beam didn't make a drunk impression [there was just apple juice in the bottle maybe?; ed.] and he rocked as hard as he did on his other two shows (Pitstop, Rock um Knuedler) in Luxemburg. He's not the most talentated guitar player and his CDs aren't too overwhelming, but he's one of the greatest entertainers you can imagine of stage. He's always searching the contact with the audience and not afraid of making some jokes, even if they are shocking parts of the audience. Thanks a lot to Lord Bishop for giving us again a lesson in sex rock and for dedicating one song to DisAgreement. The Pope is dead, long live the Lord!
And now, it's time for the results!
3. The Pubbles/Les Poubelles (I wonder what surprises we will see at the final round)
2. Stories To Tell (I hope they will play earlier in the final round)
1. Blue Shade (Luxemburgish people seem to have blues encoded in their DNA)
As the jury couldn't come to a common decision concerning the choice of the two lucky losers, three bands were picked:
- Fast Friday (a wise choice, they deserve another chance on the big stage)
- Triad (will probably be entertaining again and causing severe discussions)
- Elysis Hyt (a decision I really can't understand)
I would have liked to see Kyrenee or John McAsskill as a lucky loser, but Emergenza isn't everything (even if some people have this opinion about DisAgreement) and there will be lots of other occasions to see them live.
Again lots of people (700) found their way to the Kulturfabrik to see the second last Emergenza show. The organisation was again very good and I hope for Get Up Music that everything will work out right for the final rounds in Luxemburg and Germany where DisAgreement will write about, of course.
DisAgreement decides to choose the beer ladies as the fourth lucky loser because the final round can't take place without them and their important and well done work.
[The editor wants to comment two of the lucky losers. Elysis Hyt not only bring a lot of fans, but also a lot of thirsty fans, which makes a lot of money for Emergenza, and it is well known that the true winner of every Emergenza is always Sascha Lang and Get Up Music, although the KuFa probably also doesn't make bad business on these days. Triad on the other hand had to make it to the finals, because Julie sings the acoustic version of the Nessaya song, and it would have seemed strange with them not being in the finals. Apparently the audience wasn't too excited by this decision.]