The Austrian band Mother’s Cake seem to enjoy disregarding genre boundaries. While on the one hand they have a very funky sound due to the bass, which is often played with slapping and popping, they guitar tends to have a more punk-rock style. The vocals are pretty high in pitch with that classic hard rock squeeze, but the drummer seems to prefer playing progressive music. Then again, they also incorporate unexpected reggae or ska breaks, and play a very good Hendrix-style blues. The dissonance between the various musical instruments and the vocals as well as the occasional very high pace means this band does not qualify for easy listening. Sometimes it seems as if we are witnessing three separate musicians rather than a band.
However, the band attack their instruments with great enthusiasm, and in those sections of songs where the diverse elements fall into place they are actually really, really good. Because of the diversity of sound they remind of a number of different bands, The Music being one of the first that popped into my mind. The end of their set was really strong, with vocals similar to those of Robert Plant and on the whole an almost Led Zeppelin quality to the music.
While I personally didn’t enjoy all of their musical experiments, I liked their skill in various fields and the risks they take in playing so many different genres. I think if they can move towards a greater coherency in their music they will be a band to keep an eye on.
Anathema, the masters of dramatic tension have once again returned to Tilburg, and judging by the size of the crowd the venue is very nearly sold out. This year saw the release of the band’s tenth studio album, Distant Satellites (KScope). Distant Satellites is much closer to heavy progressive than Weather Systems, which was rather ambient in sound, and these new songs provide a very strong opening to the show. Anathema do not play only their new works, however, and it is very interesting to hear ‘Untouchable part I and II’ played with the intensity of Distant Satellites. Other older songs include ‘A Natural Disaster,’ ‘Fragile Dreams,’ and ‘Universal.’
I was glad to see backing vocalist Lee Douglas present on stage from the very start, and especially to see how much her stage performance has improved. She is really starting to take her space in the spotlight, which is well deserved considering her strength as a solo singer as well as the beautiful harmonies she provides that match both Vincent and Daniel Cavanagh’s voices. Vincent’s vocals, while not flawless, have a very intense and emotional quality about them, and it is truly impressive how he manages to sing in a completely different rhythm from what he plays on his guitar. Daniel’s voice is softer and is usually only present when he is playing keyboards instead of guitar.
Although Daniel Cardoso is capable of great subtlety it’s great to have John Douglas present on percussions as well. John is also quite adept at the keyboards, which he proved during ‘The Beginning of the End.’ When they played ‘Storm Before the Calm,’ we saw Vincent behind yet another keyboard backlit like some kind of dark lord. Eventually, Daniel Cavanagh started playing his guitar with a violin bow.
The band has a wonderful stage presence, and certainly great audience interaction, since Danny can speak a few words of Dutch, Vinnie a few phrases, and Jamie lives in the Netherlands so he can hold entire conversations with the spectators.
The band announced that they were going to play a very special festival in the 013, which means that we are likely to see them perform at Roadburn 2015.
WORDS: LORRAINE LYSEN