THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Friday, March 19, 2010
CONCERTREVIEW : NILS FRAHM, SOAP & SKIN (BRUSSELS, AB 18/03/2010)
Must have seen thousands of concerts in my life, but today was the very first time I saw someone burst out in tears, and she's only 19... "Lovetune for vacuum" by Soap & Skin must have been the best thing coming out from Austria since music existed, or something like that. Out of nowhere came this little masterpiece that couldn't be labelled. It wasn't neo-classical, it wasn't darkwave, it certainly wasn't singer-songwriterpop but everyone agreed that it was that voice you got haunted by...a voice that sounds so much like Nico. Anja Plaschg aka Soap & Skin knows very well at what she's good at...she has the voice and she's well aware from the fact that people like her lunatic outbursts, even if it must be a nightmare for journalists to get her interviewed. The AB-venue was fully packed and this gig was a 2nd chance as some months earlier the gig was cancelled because of some sickness by Anja. One view on the stage said enough about which concert it was going to be : violins, trumpets, and a wingpiano so you could bet your ass that this was going to be something very classical. Before Anja got on stage, the public first could check out who Nils Frahm is. Minimalistic pianosounds that sounded like spring had definitely been come to town...only it will be a quite melancholic spring if Nils will be the creator. And then there was Anja… From the very first second the hypernervous star got on stage, she started to confus the public. Never saw such a person for whom the stage was an uneasy place being to. Would she start laugh or would she burst out into tears? And would this gig ending without her doing something un xpected? Believe me, if there's one artist who can commit suicide on stage it'd be her. Scary eyes, interludes without senses, several times running away from the stage (even if it's all a theatrical act it's still well done) and the biggest selfhumilation man can think of. The music from Soap & Skin is like Nico meeting Aphex Twin (Anja's a big fan of them) as this classical musical is disturbed with noisy electronic soundscapes that could come right out of a set from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sometimes you would throw your arms around her but most of the times she's as creepy as that other piano-diva Diamanda Galas. The show was more than just a freak show even if the versions weren't that much different from those on the album. Most of the songs were heavily dominated by both Anja’s vocals and excellent piano-playing even if it seems at times that the piano is nothing more than some torture tool to her. The contact with the audience were rare, and if she said something, no one could make up what was in her mind anyway. During the encore Anja was skipping away all the doubts by performing a German a cappela song like only Nico could. She wants it herself, but who complains, Nico is reborn. Genius? Disturbed? Copy? Whatever definition you give to Soap & Skin’s music, you always have in your mind that this is something very special.