Thursday 24 April 2014

Live Review : Bohren & Der Club of Gore, St. Johns on Bethnal Green, London, UK – 5/4/2014

Review :  
Doomy Noir Jazz legends Bohren & der Club of Gore in such an inspired choice of venue obviously seemed too much to miss for many Londoners, and with the performance being sold out over a month in advance, we were lucky to be there for such a captivating evening of droning soundscapes and mysterious laments.
To begin the evening event we were treated to Dean McFee, a solo guitarist playing what could only be described as Sun Ra jams on downers. Whilst suitably cosmic and droning, moments straying into more folk-ish territory seemed ill-fitting with the nights headliners, and minus any shifting atmospherics had just too much of an air of deja-vu to be truly captivating.
St Johns on Bethnal Green turned out to be the perfect setting for Bohren & der Club of Gore.  Any worries regarding the sound quality of a practicing worship church were swept away as every note of the set reverberated around the building, lending an otherworldly tone to an already magical body of work.
Illuminated by four spotlights placed above their instruments, the band crept through their latest and most romantic opus ‘Piano Nights’ in full, stopping only to introduce themselves and offer a quick joke regarding the song Unrasiert (translated as Unshaven, and named after “a sexual preference”).
With only these two short breaks Piano Nights was allowed to unfold majestically amongst it’s surrounding, the crowd not only engulfed in its sound but also the monumental amount of smoke filling the venue.  With drummer Thorsten Benning absent, the band admirably played on to a pre-recorded drum track and saxophonist and vibraphone player Christoph Closer became the central focus of the stage switching between his illuminated instruments with ease and grace.
Breaking with tradition and playing two encores, the band ended with what sounded like an excerpt from Black Earth, closing the performance on a chilling and unforgettable note. A rare treat to see live in the UK, Bohren & der Club of Gore succeeded in turning a simple church in Bethnal Green into a more seductive and ominous proposition altogether and with both band and venue working in tandem, Piano Nights was given an unforgettable introduction to the UK.
Words by : Richard Powley 
You can read our review of Piano Nights here
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