ESNS – A Wednesday review

I’ve written about Robocobra Quartet before on Sonic Breakfast (here). Determined not to miss them a second time, I head up to Der AA Theater to catch them in full flow. Drummer and frontman, Chris Ryan, is an entertaining raconteur as he gives a running ‘marks out of ten’ commentary on how well he considers the band have played each tune. He needn’t worry though. Those that have gathered to watch are clearly enthralled by this mix of jazz and punk with poetic words shouted on top. It’s a marmite sort of music and not for everyone; some might find the mix too much of a complicated aural bash but I’m energised by it all and leave with a spring in my step. 

 

 

Angele hasn’t released much to date but industry insiders suggest that her forthcoming album is a little bit special. This, and the ongoing success of her single, La  Loi de Murphy, mean that there’s a healthy crowd to watch her inside the main hall of Groningen’s Grand Theatre. She introduces her songs in English and announces that they’re sung mostly in French. Looking seductive in a glittery green top, Angele mostly bases herself behind a keyboard, sometimes escaping to warm the crowd up with a dance (to La Loi De Murphy). It’s fun pop in the St Etienne mould (if Sarah Cracknell and Serge Gainsbourg ever had a love child perhaps?) and I’m charmed by the display.

 

 

It’s not far from here to the basement of Vrijdag. I didn’t make it to this underground dungeon last year but a tip from my good friend from Dublin , Rian, marks out ROE as one to watch. I grab a space towards the front as the crowd swells behind me. ROE is ‘an 18 year old ginger from Derry’ who specialises in ‘grumpy electro pop’. That sounds right up my street. With a nervous, effusive charm, she shyly giggles as she introduces songs about being bullied and watching a grandparent die. She loops down guitar riffs and then bangs a stick against electronic drum pads to make all manner of engaging sounds. She’s got quite a voice on her and the songwriting is always solid. A highlight of Groningen so far. 

 

 

I end the evening in Vera. (Vera’s a fine venue in this town in case anyone’s confused.) Warmduscher are the band I’m keen to watch, a supergroup collective put together by Saul of Fat White Family fame. Saul takes to the stage with a big Stetson covering his head. The cowboy hat has a fringe that obscures his forehead. Between songs, he speaks in an American drawl shaking up cans of Heineken and frothing them into the crowd. I wanted a choreographed, drunken-art shambles but I got much more. Strong guitar riffs and chunky bass lines carry it all to an unnecessarily short conclusion. Had Warmduscher been on stage for an incredibly short time and was time simply flying because I was having such fun? Hard to say but it was a great way to end my Wednesday at Eurosonic. 

 

 

A short stumble back to my lodgings and I slept like a log. Today, there will no doubt be more of the same.

 

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