Monday, May 21, 2007

The Books

The Books are an interesting band in that they continue to produce records that incorporate hefty uses of sampling but unique because it is all from obscure videos which they sift through whilst not touring and use chopped up sections for background projection when they play live.

The Black Box seems an ideal venue for their set and Colin and I get a front row table looking on to two huge screens either side of the stage. Modern electronic sounds emanate from the PA as an old Russian movie plays which seems to glorify Bolshevism and Lenin. It is an old documentary possibly from the 1920's or 30's because it interviews a young woman as she smiles remembering the intensive labour she endured for the cause and an older farmer recalls the amount of wheat produced for Lenin.
Unfortunately the music rarely fits to what is onscreen and after watching this prelude for half an hour or more, we are more than ready for The Books.

The place is packed as they take to the stage and after a short introduction, they begin a live acoustic performance played with prerecorded electronics and synchronized video. Paul de Jong plays accoustic guitar and sings whilst Zammuto plays an electric bass which he plays with a bow.

The music is very much different to that of their records in that the songs have more structure, melody and vocals and it is fascinating to flit between watching them play and the chopped up images on the screen changing to the music.

After a few songs they do a cover of Nick Drake's 'Cello Song' which goes down a treat and fits in with the rest of their material which is mostly light spirited and the videos contain a lot of humour. It reminds me of Manitoba aka Caribou which use a similar setup and I would love to see a collaboration between them both.

Overall it was a really enjoyable gig and the only minor quibble has nothing to do with the band or the venue but that age old thorn in the side of people talking during the performance which can be heard over the main act.

If you get a chance to go and see them, do it.



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