"La música es sinónimo de libertad, de tocar lo que quieras y como quieras, siempre que sea bueno y tenga pasión. Que la música sea el alimento del amor."
"Music is synonym of freedom, of playing what you want and how you want, as long as it's good and made with passion. Let music be love's food."
Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)

martes, 10 de agosto de 2010

Neil Hannon es Juan Palomo (The Divine Comedy - At The Indie Disco)

L
"Give us some Pixies and some Roses and some Valentines
Give us some Blur, and some Cure, and some Wannadies"

AT THE INDIE DISCO
The Divine Comedy
Bang Goes The Knighthood
DC Records
2010

THE EDINBURGH CHRONICLES - PART 5

(ENGLISH AHEAD) Celebramos 50 entradas, 50 canciones, con un homenaje al pop. Los más jóvenes lectores encontrarán raro que los conceptos "indie" y "disco" puedan realmente convivir en el título de cualquier canción, pero hay que explicar a las nuevas generaciones que muchos de nosotros hemos bailado en discotecas a ritmo de Softcell, New Order y hasta me recuerdo moviendo el esqueleto en una sala de pueblo con el Bigmouth Strikes Again de The Smiths, Love Song de Simple Minds o el Boys Don't Cry de The Cure. A esos tiempos nos remite At The Indie Disco, y lo hace con una melodía pop, directa, simple, bailable y pegadiza. Parece fácil, pero pónganse a ello y a ver si les salen el puñado enorme de excelentes canciones que The Divine Comedy nos lleva ofreciendo desde 1990. Neil Hannon rememora tiempos pasados en los que su adolescencia vivía colgada de la música de las bandas que todavía no se consideraban indie porque simplemente no había un circuito indie, y la música todavía se valoraba por su calidad y su trascendencia. "Aquí estoy yo y mis influencias", parece decir. (aquí la letra)


Y es que Neil Hannon, que es The Divine Comedy -y viceversa- sabe, en este caso y en este disco, deshacerse de la grandilocuencia de los complicados arreglos orquestales y centrarse en la belleza de la composición a piano o guitarra. Así lo demostró en el concierto que dio en el festival The Edge, aquí, en Edimburgo, el pasado 6 de agosto. Un hombre, su piano y su guitarra. 

La pequeña Liquid Room de la Old Town albergaba un gran número de fans -ya de una cierta edad, para qué negarlo- que jaleó y acompañó al solista desde que los primeros compases de Assume The Perpendicular sonaron en el escenario. Guiños de complicidad con The Complete Banker y conexión absoluta con Everybody Knows (Except You), National Express, Songs Of Love o Becoming More Like Alfie, en las cuales los incondicionales suplieron con sus voces todos y cada uno de los arreglos originales. Hubo momentos más intimistas con Lost Property, A Lady Of A Certain Age, Snowball In Negative y When A Man Cries, que por momentos nos recordaron al mejor Rufus Wainwright. Y justo a mitad del espectáculo, la primera sorpresa de la noche, una magnífica versión de Time To Pretend de MGMT que nos puso los pelos de punta. 


Cuando el ambiente se relajaba demasiado surgían potentes la mencionada At The Indie Disco, la emocionante Our Mutual Friend o la brillante I Like (aquí el tronchante videoclip), su último single, con la que remató el espectáculo. Poco importó que su primer y único bis acabara con una improvisada y fallida versión del It's A Sin de los Pet Shop Boys, que al final resultó delirantemente encantadora, porque la sensación de que estábamos ante un monstruo de la música, ante un compositor excepcional, un crooner a medio camino entre Jacques Brel y Paul McCartney y un entertainer nato nos dejó plenamente satisfechos.

Neil en plena apoteósis justo desde el mismo lugar en el que disfrutamos del espectáculo.

Tras semejante subidón de pasión por la música, no me queda nada más que contestarle al bueno de Neil: "We do like you".

Today we are celebrating our first 50 posts, our first 50 songs, with an homage to pop music. Many youngsters will find it hard to understand how the concepts "indie" and "disco" can possibly go together, but the new generations must know that most of us in our forties used to dance to bands like Softcell or New Order in discos, and I can even remember myself shaking my body to The Smiths's Bigmouth Strikes Again, Simple Minds's Love Song or The Cure's Boys Don't Cry. Those times are recalled in At The Indie Disco, a simple, direct, danceable, catchy, poppy song that looks an easy choice. But tell me, can any of you try do the same and come up with such handful of excellent tunes as The Divine Comedy has been offering us since 1990? Neil Hannon looks back into his teenage years, when he used to live constantly aware of the music of those bands that, at the time, were not yet considered indie, for there was no indie circuit as we know it now, and music was still valued in terms of quality and relevance. "Here am I and my influences" -he seems to state (lyrics here)

Neil Hannon, who is The Divine Comedy -and viceversa- knows how to get rid of the grandiloquence of the complex orchestral arrangements and, instead, focus on the beauty of each composition, as it is shown in his latest album and in the concert we attended at Edinburgh's The Edge Festival on August 6th. A man, his piano and his guitar.

The small Liquid Room in the Old Town was packed with a great number of fans -of a certain age, no need to deny it- who cheered and applauded from the very first chords of Assume The Perpendicular. Conspiratorial winks with The Complete Banker and absolute connection with Everybody Knows (Except You), National Express, Songs Of Love or Becoming More Like Alfie, where the biggest fans accompanied with their voices after the arrangements the songs had originally been recorded with. There were moments for a most intimate atmosphere with Lost Property, A Lady Of A Certain Age, Snowball In Negative and When A Man Cries, which  at some point evoked the best  Rufus Wainwright. And just half way through the show, the first surprise of the night: an outstanding, breathtaking cover of MGMT's Time To Pretend. 

When the atmosphere got too relaxed, on came the stated At The Indie Disco, the moving Our Mutual Friend or the brilliant I Like (see the hilarious videoclip), his latest single, with which Neil ended the show. No matter if his first and last encore finished with an improvised failed cover of Pet Shop Boys' It's A Sin, which in fact ended up in a sweet boutade, because we were certain to be in front of a terrific musical genius, a sensational composer, a modern crooner halfway between Jacques Brel and Paul McCartney and a natural-born entertainer.

Such passion for music has left us speechless, so the one thing good old Neil deserves from us is a reply to his music: "We do like you".  

Enlaces/Links:
The Divine Comedy's official website: www.thedivinecomedy.com
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