THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Monday, April 19, 2010
CONCERTREVIEW : THE UNTHANKS (BRUSSELS, BOTANIQUE 19/05/2010)
Even when Paul Morley says about a folkband something like "I will be playing it at least forever" then you know it must be something special and I was in doubt before going to their concert as their third album "Here's the tender coming" was okay but in some way it couldn't convince me that much. Anyway, I decided to go to their concert ... First thing you saw when entering the Botanique-building was seeing singer Becky behind the merchandise stall. This meant two things. Obviously they are humans but secondly, and that's the sad part I guess, in hometown Britain they might get award after award but over here in Belgium they are far from being famous. I guess something like 100 people turned up to see them, not that the band cared that much as from the moment they got on stage it was like they were entering some pub by chatting about Belgium and of course its beer. After the chat the band began and from the moment Rachel started an a capella song, there was no need to remind us that she has a wonderful voice. When Becky joined in it was all clear why the band that was once named Rachel Unthank & The Winterset changed their name into the Unthanks. The female vocals are the main element of the band, let there be no doubt about and even if the band contain 8 members the use of instruments (a wide range that was) are always used in a minimal way. Be it a violin, a cello or an ukelele in every song the listener is reminded that the girls are the stars. And stars they are, they are even not ashamed to put on literally their dancing shoes and give the audience a real stepdance! How funny it all might seen, the lyrics are something different as in a way it's like those early Poguessongs in the sense that it is all about the inhabitants for which the UK had no respect for throughout his history. Be it a dead sailor or a ten year old kid that was forced to work in the coalmine of Yorkshire, the traditionals The Unthanks have chosen are never about the funny things in life. The public also got two nice covers, one by Nick Drake (River man) and "Blackbird" by Penguin Cafe Orchestra. I know I did watch some unhip music (not that I ever will care about that, mind you) but their timemachine was one to enjoy!