Thursday, July 07, 2005

Klinkende Munt Day 1 - 06/07/2005

The line-up.

Fanfares/marching bands have enjoyed renewed popularity for the last few years, seemingly on both sides of the Atlantic (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Youngblood Brass Band, "Lose My Breath," "Hollaback Girl") and this year's Klinkende Munt (clinking coins?) festival will feature a lot of them. Except that over here, we don't really go for the brass button and big hat thing. The Orchestre International du Vetex marched into the tent (a judicious choice by the organisers, as it was raining and will be raining throughout the festival), remained at audience-level throughout their concert and immediately set the tone: joyous westernised Balkanic music, with hints of North Africa. A limited palette of fast to medium tempos and short hooky riffs, but irresistably popular and dancey. The brass (two trumpets, fluegelhorn, trombone) and rhythm (snare, bass drum, cymbals) dominated the other instruments (two flutes, two saxophones and that wraparound tuba thing). There was, of course, the drunk guy staggering around that inevitably appears at events of this kind. There's also only ever one of them at a time, so I wonder if there's a kind of Highlander thing going on, with catastrophic consequences if two should meet.

Orchestre International du Vetex

Antibalas came on next, serving up the Fela-derived Afrobeat expected of them: barely-finite songs that are essentially variations on a groove and horn riff, an impenetrably dense rhythmic backdrop (two guitars), harmonically simple, syncopated keyboard solos (with the same sound as Fela), sloganeering and dancing singer/percussionist, etc. I love the occasional gunshot snare hit (kind of like in reggae) that replaces the usual crash cymbal, which can't really be heard in the morass. But overall, it's too cloying and undifferentiated a meal; surprisingly undanceable (as opposed to merely a vague swaying), too.

I wanted to see Soulive, but having had only a few hours sleep the night before and facing a string of short nights (I definitely want to see Brad Shepik (with Tom Rainey!), tonight, and that starts at midnight), IVN and I headed home towards the end of Antibalas's set.