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Druckluft, Oberhausen, Germany
29th April 2010
And So I Watch You From Afar, The Picturebooks, Kokomo

We had quite a waiting time ahead of us, hoping there would be at least something happening. Luckily there are good ways to spend such times. When we finally entered the club, the first of three bands had just started playing


There’s not much background information about the band consisting of Tobias, Benjamin, Rene and Oliver. They are signed to the small Maniyax Records label based in Münster, where they just released a split EP together with KASAN. /

Music & Performance
KOKOMO from Duisburg was playing something like a home game, as their town is almost literally around the corner. What they were going to present us was permeated by the broken structures, so typical for bands out of the Post Rock genre. The four-piece was guiding us through multi-coloured worlds of purest bliss and abysms of greatest anxiety and fury, accordingly employing spherical guitar parts, seemingly reaching out into the endlessness of space, or doomed and hard riffling, touching upon manic percussions. With music, devoid of vocals the focus must be placed instead on creating proper arrangements. A discipline the band easily succeeded in and impressed the crowd with technical proficiency and joy of playing. Applause after every song was mandatory and deserved. The biggest one following after the last song had faded.

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7.6 / 10

The Picturebooks

The roots of German band THE PICTUREBOOKS lie within the limits of Gütersloh. When the band released their first album 'List of People to kill', the critics were amazed and the anticipation for the next album that was bound to come after this success was boundless. In the meantime, the guys did some live action and shared stages with bands such as MILLENCOLIN and 65DAYSOFSTATIC. The waiting for new material found its end with the release of 'Artificial Tears' in April 2010. /

Music & Performance
What followed now with German THE PICTUREBOOKS was a stylistic swing of a bigger kind. I was especially mentioning German again at the beginning as that was something you couldn't be exactly certain of during the show they were laying down. Dressed like figures out of an old Rock'n'Roll movie, they were appearing in front of our eyes. Quite the same was their bouquet of music. If I wouldn't have been absolutely certain they're not I'd said they were travelling straight across the big pond over to us. A sound more American than the American sound itself and featured with a cheekiness and authenticity other bands clearly lack. 'The Phone Won't Ring For You Tonight' opened up the bands showcase with magnificent electricity which in the further course would break way to insane manoeuvres like the bassist wallowing on the ground playing during 'Prince Trafficlight' or the singer playing the guitar with his teeth and tongue on 'I'm Drawing Hearts On Your Jeans'. It was fun.

01. The Phone Won't Ring For You Tonight
02. List of People to kill
03. Machine
04. Sensitive Feelings all Ellectric
05. 20th Century Boy
06. You Can Not Make It Right
07. Prince Trafficlight
08. Finders Keepers
09. I'm Drawing Hearts on your Jeans
10. Running Out Of Problems

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.9 / 10

And So I Watch You From Afar

The history of the band from Belfast began back in 2005. Their first release was to be the mini album 'This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It' in 2007. Their live credits had grown significant by the time they were going about recording their first full-length album. They've toured on their own, or with bands of the likes of HIGH ON FIRE or CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX. The self-titled debut was released in April 2009 to highly positive reviews. 22nd February saw the release of the band's new EP 'The Letters'. AND SO IWATCH YOU FROM AFAR is Jonathan Adger (bass guitar), Rory Friers (guitar), Tony Wright (guitar) and Chris Wee (drums & percussion).

Music & Performance
Just another little break and the spotlights lit for AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR from Belfast, who has collected a lot of praise already for their music. Since we hadn't heard anything from them before, we were extremely curious about whether or not they would live up to that. A cacophony of noise introduced to a technically complex little opening, encompassing the whole palette of odd time signatures in the rhythm section to unforeseen breaks and twists in the song's fabric itself. ASIWYFA are masters at lulling you into a sense of false security, making you think you're having a safe stand but then pushing you over the edge. Something that happened right next on 'Clench Fists, Grit Teeth...GO', or 'S is for Salamander'.

How they were shifting through the techniques and tempos was fabulous and how they even incorporated Jazz into the sound simply deserves the label awe-inspiring. The way the musicians melted with their music was another fascinating thing to watch. They adapted to the given mood of the section and thus at times broke out into manic activity while maltreating their instruments with an extremely high technical proficiency. The other people in the audience were excited just like us, rocked with the music and cheered if at every possible point. So yes, the praise was justified. We saw an incredible band playing a fantastic set of music that should be checked out by many more people.

01. STAB
02. Clench Fists, Grit Teeth...GO
03. S Is For Salamander
04. Broke
05. I Capture Castles
06. D Is For Django
08. A Little Bit Of Solidarity Goes A Long Way
09. The Voiceless
10. K Is For Killing Spree
11. Set Guitars to Kill
12. Eat the City, Eat it Whole

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.9 / 10

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /

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