Freitag, 8. Juni 2012

The Blank Tapes (english), Paris, 02.06.12

Concert: The Blank Tapes
Location: a living room somewhere in Paris, but not mine
Date: June 2nd, 2012
Audience: at least 35, maybe even 40
Duration: a good hour

Translation by Uschi from Paris*

In the last years, there have been quite a few efforts to do an OliverPeel Session with the Blank Tapes from California, but due to whatever reasons (probably conflicts with the dates), we never got to do it. And that’s why it is somehow curious, yet consistent, to see them perform not in my own, but somebody else’s living room. If you hesitate too long, somebody else snaps at the chance! The alert folks from Homespun Booking, who organize home shows each time in a different apartment, have grabbed the Blank Tapes.

This time, we were invited to Sandrine in Paris who welcomedover 35 guests to her rather small studio apartment. The place was bursting at the seams; there were people everywhere in the room and on the small balcony. Since the weather was gorgeous, and because I wanted to check the view, I joined the balcony aficionados.
That’s where I found tonight’s band, too. The Blank Tapes is the baby of long-haired Californian Matt Adams. He pens under this name since many years, has produced and released 7 great lo-fi albums so far and is surrounded by many band members, at least in his native America. But on this European tour 2012, Matt is only accompanied by his companion Pearl Charles who played the drum and percussion.

Matt and Pearl told me that they had performed in Nantes the night before and that their show scheduled in a Parisian jazz club on Thursday night had been cancelled last-minute. What a bummer for the lovely and genuine duo! I considered myself even more fortunate to be able to assist their only show in Paris, the capital of love. Then, suddenly, around 9:15 pm, the people on the balcony were asked to take place in the living room because The Blank Tapes were going to rock out outside, while the audience sat down on the floor to watch them perform from the inside of the apartment. That was a fun idea and due to the lack of space rather than a concept (not a re-edition of Balcony TV). In general, there is always a lot of improvisation during home shows; it gives such events an incomparable charm! Tonight, Pearl's “drum”, for instance, consisted of a parcel service package. Proof that The Blank Tapes find a way and perform without a safety net - above all without microphones! Matt only used a small guitar amp. His nonchalant, fuzzy and melodic guitar playing was utterly brilliant; he played with ease and off the cuff.

The musical style quickly shaped out to be a mix of 1960s’ pop, Californian Pop, garage rock and psychedelic folk rock in the line of The Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas or Creedence Clearwater Revival. Vintage ingredients, but the result is not a retro sound. Instead, Matt and Pearl offered us their very own modern popcoming from Los Angeles. You could positively see the sun shine out of the songs, get the feeling of relaxing on the beach and sense their general cool attitude towards life. The Blank Tapes transmitted this nonchalance to their audience who thoroughly enjoyed the show (along with a few beers or Rosé wine). In this setting, a mix* of older songs and new ones off the brand new output Sun’s Too Bright were joyfully played until the night fell.

No reason to stop the show, of course, but from now on I had to use a flash for my photos. The ambiance became more and more relaxed and everybody got up from the floor to dance to the music, wearing big grins on their faces. One lad even danced alongside the two musicians. The distance between the artists and their audience dissolved definitely. What next, a conga line with The Blank Tapes across the parlor? Haha, the last sentence is rubbish, of course. We’d have needed 15 to 35 more beers to be up for such nonsense, and there wasn’t that much left to drink. But the party went on anyway, and the hostess took over the turntables and showed her DJ skills.

Kudos to the organizers and the musicians! But after spending a great evening and buying some CDs, I had heard and seen enough and left the party.

* On my request of a list of songs played, Matt has sent me a picture
of another, but similar set list. Here it is:

01: Holy Roller
02: Beach Party
03: L.A. Baby
04: In The Light
05: Way To Stoned
06: Driving Out
07: Somebody Somewhere
08: One Way Road
09: We Can Do What We Want To
10: Sexy Skype

11: This Is What's Inside
12: Listen To The One
13: Silverado
14: Hard To Let Go
15: Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It (Buffalo Springfield
16: F88729415a
17: Don't Ever Get Old

+ 2 new songs, at some point between the above songs: Don't Take It
From Me & Sh-bop, Sh-bop Yeah

* Eine Weltpremiere, meine Damen und Herren! Noch nie hatten wir auf dem Konzerttagebuch Texte zu einem Konzert gleichzeitig auf englisch, französisch und deutsch!


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