Gigs, dance, art

January 25th, 2009: Pina Bausch – Sweet Mambo

@theatre de la ville

Now that was a long pause. I’m still not ready to go back to my gig going ways, but that should not be too long now. Pina Bausch isn’t a bad way to get going again, familiar but somehow a little new every time. No travel postcard this time, and that’s fine with me. No dissing those, but it was getting a bit too predictable and sometimes the local details would get in the way. This show marked the 30th anniversary of her regular stops in this theatre my it was only(?) the 17th show for me. Not the one I saw most often, actually, but still, that’s a lot.

I got a front row seat on the side this time, which would often be very poor, but it was actually OK. As usual, most of the time there would be a single dancer on stage, and it gave me an unobstructed view, and the closeness had me focusing on the hands. Now that was interesting, as they sometimes would kinda strike a different note than the overall movement did. Bringing a kind of edginess through angles constrasting with a more fluid body. This edge has always been there just below the surface, but here most of the usual goofiness was gone, and there were fewer smiles. The beginning was familiar enough, with Regina Advento wielding a tibetan bowl, and there sure were those props as well sometimes, but most of the time there was just dance. And that was a good thing, and I don’t know whether the unfamiliar angle played a part in this, but it seemed a bit different too, I didn’t get that annoying feeling it was something from an earlier show.

Of course the flirting was still there, but with a more obvious tinge of desparation to it, and overall those sequences were few. Less interactions, more apparent loneliness, but on the other hand each solo had a deeper connection to the others. At the end of the day it felt more cohesive despite the almost complete lack of group sequences. A striking sequence had two men carry a table back and forth, picking up a female dancer along the way, but not carrying her so much than hemming her in, blocking her movements and barely letting her rise up after sliding under it before coming back. There also was a sequence where female dancers would lounge on human seats, but that kind of support was not really the theme this time. I guess seeing connection in lone individuals is in the eyes of the beholder, but it sure felt darker without hopelessness, and that was good as far as I’m concerned, I always have a hard time relating to the upscale party scenes that sometimes come up in her work, and there was almost none of that here. Less talk, less acting, more dancing. Where do I sign up for seventeen more?

In the soundtrack department, some Portishead and most striking for me some Ryuichi Sakamoto from his ’96 piano/cello/violin record. I didn’t expect that one, it brought back many memories.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Dance | , | 1 Comment

January 9th, 2009: Cobra Matal / Crystal Plumage / Bülanz Orgabar


First gig on the year, and also the last for a while. A lot of people showed up even though there was quite a lot going on all over the city. Too bad I have to shut down just when the end of year freeze on live music is starting to thaw.

The reason I came to this event was Bülanz Orgabar, and I was not disappointed. Quite different from the first time I saw them, less overtly wild. And no technical meltdown this time, so that I could hear the voice parts. Not spectacular in and of themselves, but they added another layer for a satisfyingly dense sound. I missed the beginning, but I really liked what I got to hear. There was down times as well, but that’s part of taking chances, which I think was taking place just from the different feel from last time. This set struck a good balance between drums, guitars and some electronics, but I think I would have liked that balance to be upset at times. No matter, it was good as it was. I hope I’ll catch them a few more times, that set alone was well worth showing up.

From then on I was playing with house money, so I was pretty open and in a much better mood that when I got there. I thought Crystal Plumage took a bit long to get going, but there were some good bits after that. Mostly electronics, with a guitar as one of the sound inputs, played with a bow at times. The buildup had me expecting something more dronish, a breakdown or a reversal; at least it kept me interested. None of that though, they just let a loop go on far too long. So I guess I fooled myself into expecting too much.

I went for the same mistake with Cobra Matal. My memory of a previous gig had me expecting more than I got, and the short set meant I had little time to get rid of this interfering ghost. But they did provide a bit of the chaos that I had been missing in the first set. Not all that much though. I’m not sure they were going anywhere, but they were not staying put, so that was as good a way as any to close the evening.

With that I have to take an involuntary leave from gigs and basically most activities whatsoever. I’d like to be up and running for the next concerts at instants chavires, but that’s just not realistic; a couple of weeks at least sounds more like it.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , | 1 Comment