"The Best Concert Of My Life"

Subjective reviews of live moments with Alan Silva, Johannes Bauer, Roger Turner, Paul Lovens, Peter Kowald, Paul Hubweber, Peter Jacquemyn...

In the Tradition: Johannes Bauer (trombone), Alan Silva (synthesizer), Roger Turner (drums).

Live: Free Music XXVIII, Theater Zuidpool, Antwerpen, August 4, 2001.

CD: FMP all 004. The Tradition Trio: Tone. Live at Free Music Festival Antwerp

In the tradition. Skin of synthesizer bursts open under lithe attack of hunting deer. No trees no wood no bass no hiding for Alan Silva today. Audience breathes for the first time. He's not dead yet and none of us will ever die. He's music and music never dies. Drink him and you're music too. Johannes the grinning cat, way out on the branch, waiting to pounce, or to vanish. Out of Roger's skull, full as the moon on monday, pale in the black sky, his hands flood into sticks, into chains falling on tightened struck skin, to scuffling branches, rustling fog, a gut full of digest sounds. Tradition is old, from before the instruments, when everything still was an instrument. Like sometimes after dinner, one trembles dishes with fork, other let glasses sing, spoons drum.. Lost in sound and find music. Eyes meet surprised, amazing and so easy, as it appears.

Click here to see 20 photos of this concert

Peter Kowald and Peter Jacquemyn, double basses.

Free Music XXVIII, Theater Zuidpool, Antwerpen, August 2, 2001.

The red bass and the brown bass. Blushing head and pale head. Bald and bald. Naked. Faces shameless too. Symphonic murmur. Two hummingbirds poised above the flower. When will jet fighter come tear open sky like cosmic zipper. The grass holds its breath. Buzz grumbles growl howls. High flageolet tone overtones. Creaking old door. A voice in a giant green bottle. Elastic time lashes. Coarse fingers twitter. Beasts run centipedial up and down the strings. Peter's paper skin shuffles over dry bowels. Sweating bass. Nose drop shines in light. Old bass old man. Young wrinkles back and forth. Bow footstep drizzle soil. Cathedrale sonore. God is home, likes to listen to the doorbell and door buzz overtones. Kosmic bees. Swarm ascending as one. Bass warfare. Drone dream daydream. Pizzicato of swift woodworm. All strings scrape. Peter string and string.

Peter Kowald (bass); Paul Hubweber (trombone); Paul Lovens (percussion)

Dodorama / Worm, Rotterdam, spring 2001.

Written by Pierre Verbeek

Das war das beste Konzert meines Lebens

Isn't it strange to say it just like that, I thought, right after I had said this to Paul. So, as he was replying I found myself trying to recollect all the (good) concerts I have been present at, and of course nothing coherent came out of that. Thank you, he said, but this is not a good thing to say after the first set, now it can only get worse. No really, I said, attempting to analyse what had been going on, it's all in the concentration of what the three of you do, uhh the timing, the presence, the closeness of the sound, uhh yeah I truly can say this is the way it should be done. Well thank you he said again, it doesn't always work like that even with the same people. I think it helps playing in this room, I really like it. Sure, I thought that must certainly be the case, but it keeps coming to me that this kind of approach, this specific way of doing it is rare. Not one of the musicians seemed to have the will to be up front, yet they were definitely eager to play. Well illustrated by Paul's playing. One particular moment (this was in the second set) he was absolutely non-audible, and I just couldn't keep my eyes off him. He was like the "Clochard de Notre Dame" hunched above his drum kit and totally tensed as if he could strike out any moment. The other Paul (Hubweber) on trombone and Peter Kowald on double bass also were intensely present without destroying the undelicate balance they so beautifully kept throughout the whole of the concert. Alternating in initiative, almost immediately supported by one or both of the others they kept a fascinating story going, told in episodes, one could say, by one or two or three of them. Okay, I am repeating myself, just as I did when I spoke to Paul Lovens after the concert. "Thanks a lot, this was the best concert I have seen so far". All right said Paul, maybe we can do it again sometime. Yeah, I replied, that we must, in the meantime let's hope other groups do their thing as strong as you did yours.

All words and images copyright 2001 by Vanita & Johanna Monk
except Kowald/Hubweber/Lovens review copyright 2001 by Pierre Verbeek

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