Monday night found Forest and Crispian playing in Aufsturz on Oranienburger Strasse with support by Where did Nora Go.
Arriving at the Aufsturz, ordering a beer – the bar woman says „Yeah, right“ and hands me a menu – ok, the Aufsturz’s got a thousand beers, that’s a concept, but can I have a Beck’s anyway? So downstairs the crowd gathers, along with it the Danish ambassador – checking out Where Did Nora Go, who played first. This is another Danish act, and labelmate of Forest and Crispian on the Berlin-based label Für Records. Für Records make a point of signing great Scandinavian bands and bringing them to an eager German public. Occasionally they return the favour by taking bands like Super700 up to Scandinavia and presenting them there to an equally eager, albeit happier, although colder, public.
Digression: I just read a statistic about happiest countries – you know, how many people are how happy how much of the time. Apparently Denmark came first along with Switzerland. In Europe I assume. I somehow doubt that they’re as happy as, say, kicking-back fishermen in the Caribbean sipping seriously good rum and coca-cola in a hammock out of the hot afternoon sun….Germany? Well. A little down the scale. I won’t say quite where. And Denmark? I mean if it’s cold here, it must be freezing up there! And they’re all bouncy and happy? What’s up with that? Good music, maybe. Digression over.
Where Did Nora Go is Astrid Nora who plays cello, sings, and loops some of that. She plays togetherwith Henrik Marstal, who produced her album. He also plays cello and loops it. The music is somewhat ethereal, very beautiful, with layers of cello and beautifully sung strong vocals floating over the top.
Forest and Crispian are a Swedish band and they are also great – after this concert I’d say especially live. The line-up consists of a drummer, who also takes lead vocals and so plays standing up, a guitarist who provides backing vocals and a man on Hammond, also providing backing vocals, and who turns out to be the brother of the singer – no surprise as they look very alike.
The singer has a great stage presence and is very happy, funny with a warm charisma, and is one of those people who is obviously born to be on stage. He grabs the audience straight away and doesn’t let them go until the last song is finished. He sings, he jokes, he entertains. The songs are well-written, with stories weaved through the lyrics, which I adore.
One song “The Snake“ – actually an Al Wilson cover but works especially well with the Forest and Crispian humour and arrangement – tells the story of a woman out on her way to work who comes upon a rather dead snake lying in the road, takes it home, puts it in front of the fire, feeds it and loves it back to life. In the end the snake bites her and she dies and the snake says, „But you knew I was a snake“. Nice. Nice metapher too, I guess – sigh …
The sound is one minute Calexico, one minute the Doors, one minute 50s rockabilly, a bit of cabaret – always full of energy. Great stuff and I am not able to put them in a category – so I guess you just have to come and check them out for yourselves! You won’t regret it.
Article by Mia Morris / indieberlin