There are two great loves in my life: One is language, the other music (Of course, this only holds true if I exclude the wonderful people whom I love and cherish, but the opening line just wouldn’t sound as good had I written ‘There are approximately six great loves in my life’).
I’ve written my fair share on linguistics and language here on this site, but as a result of the wonderful columns we already have (Jonas’ Musicalphabet and Lukas’ Sonic Crush), I’ve so far kept my enthusiasm regarding music to myself.
The reason for this article (perhaps the first in an irregular series of articles) is to showcase good supporting acts; opening acts that are, in fact, so good that they deserve to be main acts. These are bands and artists that I think you should definitely check out, and as one of them will be coming to Hamburg again fairly soon to headline their own show, I think it’s a good time to introduce you to three of my favorite opening acts of the last two years. The bands I’ll be talking about cover a broad range of different styles, because I tend to gravitate towards vastly different styles within the spectrum of pretentious “indie” music. Make of that what you will.
The first band I want to talk about is Milo Greene, a band that opened for the Cold War Kids in May of 2013. If you didn’t know they were from L.A., you’d probably think based on their wonderfully laid back hippieesque feel that they had to be from San Francisco. They’re not big on lyrics; instead they tend to repeat the same lines over and over again both in bridges and the chorus of their songs. But by God, the intricacy of their harmonies blows me away every time I listen to their songs, and the “ohs” and “ahs” are just so beautifully aligned with their guitar riffs that I can’t fault them for it. As with the other two bands I’ll be talking about in this article, they have both female and male lead vocalists, and their voices blend wonderfully. They’re good on record, but fantastic live. Milo Greene feel like that time you spent the summer with your friends, got just drunk (or stoned) enough to still enjoy yourself and be unabashedly happy and relaxed. As I said before, they are very much a band that makes you feel, but every now and then their lyrics will touch your mind as well as your soul (“God you tempt my anxious mind”; “your love is lost on me”). But don’t take my word for it; here are their singles 1957 and What’s the Matter:
When I bought their CD, the lead singer decided to practice German with me. I was there with a good friend of mine, who pulled me away before I could get into the phonetic intricacies of German with him. Oh well. Next time. Unfortunately, Milo Greene‘s next tour dates are all in the States. But you can be absolutely sure that I’ll let you know as soon as they come back to Hamburg.
While Milo Greene reminds me of the seasons and earthy, grounded, real sensations and people, the second band I want to showcase here, Joy Wellboy, is so otherworldly that their music has a sense of enchantment to it. I saw them last year in May, supporting We have Band, a well-known electro fueled Brit pop band. Joy Wellboy is an electro pop duo from Belgium, consisting of Joy Adegoke and Wim Janssens (who at least used to be lovers as well as musical partners in 2012/2013, and I hope they still are). For the most part, it’s the female lead Joy who does the singing, but sometimes Wim, who also produces the band’s songs, joins in. The album I have is Yorokobi’s Mantra, and you can find and follow the band on Soundcloud. If I had to describe their music in terms of world regions, Joy Wellboy are simultaneously African, Far East Asian and European, and it is the blend of those seeming contradictions that makes their music so interesting to me. They are ghostly and beautiful, and I love the accents in their singing and the strangely poignant metaphors in their lyrics. My favourite songs are probably Mickey Remedy and Lay Down Your Blade, both of which I have linked below:
When Joy signed my CD, she thought I was French when I told her my name, and she wrote a delightful message on the back of the CD’s booklet:
She is wonderfully eccentric and a real (no pun intended) joy to watch on stage. Joy Wellboy will be playing in the Übel and Gefährlich on April 29th, and I for one am definitely going!
Finally, I’d like to introduce you to a post-punk rock band from Dublin called Princess. They opened for the fantastic Exhex two weeks ago in the Hafenklang. Princess has male and female vocalists, great prowess when it comes to the handling of their instruments and all the enthusiasm needed to make them positively wonderful. The description on their site says ” Liam and Aoife write music and play it with their friends”, and that’s really all you need to know. They were in Hamburg for the first time this year, and it’s not clear yet when they’ll be on tour (at least I couldn’t find any tour dates), but as with Milo Greene, I’ll keep you posted. You can find some of their songs on their site, and follow them on social media. This is a band that is good on record, but – just like the band they opened for – really shines when they play their music live. Here’s a link to their I believe only music video so far, Neverlook:
After the concert, when I bought their new single Black Widow, Liam told me that Germany (and I think he was referring mainly to Berlin and Hamburg) was the “best place”, because we had Kant, Nietzsche, Goethe and Schiller, and questioned why anyone would ever want to leave Germany. He was quite adamant about it too, but it might have been the beer talking.
So there you go, three (hopefully) eye-opening musical acts for you to explore! Hopefully I’ll have the time and money to see more concerts this year, and I hope the rest of 2015 will be a year of great supporting and main acts, musical and otherwise.
Obviously, Simone was listening to Milo Greene, Joy Wellboy and Princess while writing this (duh!).