17th October 2017
And Also The Trees
It’s been six years since the last visit of British band AND ALSO THE TREES to the city of Münster, Germany. Last time it was a special and very intimate unplugged set, this time we got the full deal.
AND ALSO THE TREES formed in 1979 in the English countryside, so they are nearing their 40th anniversary already! Rooted in the Post-Punk and New Wave movement of their day, AND ALSO THE TREES have always been different to their musical companions from the big cities of the UK and Europe. More poetic and romantic and with a naturalistic, almost pagan attitude, AND ALSO THE TREES found their own identity next to the more aggressive, more direct urban contemporaries like JOY DIVISION, BAUHAUS, PIL or SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES. Only THE CURE, in their mellower and more flowery moments, shared a similar mentality with AND ALSO THE TREES. So it only made sense that the big Goth superstars around Robert Smiths invited AND ALSO THE TREES to support them in the late 1980s. http://www.andalsothetrees.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/and-also-the-trees-71836477700
Music & Performance
The band around core members Simon Huw Jones (vocals), Justin Jones (guitar) and Steven Burrows (bass guitar) has always been pretty active, a five-year hiatus around the turn of the millennium aside. Last time AND ALSO THE TREES made a stop in Münster they just released the acoustic album ‘When The Rains Come’, which features songs from throughout their career reduced down to their skeletons, which revealed even more so beauty and enchanting melancholy of their music. Their live show back then was one of the most hushed, intimate gigs I’ve ever attended. The bar was even not allowed to sell drinks during the gig as this would have disturbed the sparse, inwardly performance. You could literally hear every whisper in the audience but everybody was so in awe that they simply shut up and focussed on the art presented on stage. Six years later we got the full deal, of course with no intention to belittle the unplugged, acoustic gig in 2010 and all its elegancy and loveliness. But this time AND ALSO THE TREES performed with the full production, with electric guitars, amps, full live drum set, and so on. AND ALSO THE TREES were here to present the new album ‘Born Into Waves’, which was officially released on March 18th 2017, and of course also some classic tunes as well.
Without any support band, AND ALSO THE TREES started early for a concert evening and some fans were still arriving when the band was already two or three songs into the set. Perhaps those poor folks missed to note that AND ALSO THE TREES would start one hour earlier than usual at this venue! The band kicked off with ‘Your Guess’ from the new album, followed by the first cut from the early 1990s, ‘Dialogue’ from the ‘Klaxon’ album. The band was in fine form; almost four decades of experience do show after all, only the vocals of singer Simon Huw Jones seemed to be a little off, to be honest. But it was definitely not his fault, his performance was just fine, but his voice sounded a bit dry and too low in the mix. Maybe it was the band’s mixing engineer having difficulties with the acoustic pitfalls of this particular venue. Or maybe it’s just me being niggling about little details, again. Guitarist Justin Jones was all the more pretty impressive and delivers the melodies to the melancholy. He`s a smart guitar player who know when to step back to give the music space to breath and when to set accents to push the sound. His dandy-like appearance with tight suit and hat also contributes to the visual aspect of an otherwise rather low-key, minimal show with few lights.
After a few vintage TREES songs, such as ‘Prince Rupert’ or ‘The Suffering of the Stream’ and almost jazzy performance of ‘Rive Doitre’, AND ALSO THE TREES finished their 15-song set with ‘The Skeins Of Love’ from their current album. Of course they came back for encores, three songs in total including the fan fave ‘Slow Pulse Boy’, which finished the night. With a musing, introvert band like AND ALSO THE TREES you need to allow the music fully embrace you, and a performance like this will carry you away and start your inner cinema, and your imagination takes over. If you are unlucky, or unwilling, such a gig might have its lengths if you don’t dive fully into the music. I had such moments at this gig, to be honest, but perhaps I just made the mistake to constantly compare this performance to the awesome unplugged show years ago. However, still a great gig by a legendary band!
Total: 7.5 / 10
All pictures by Black-Jack Foto