The Ramones Museum Berlin is a bizarre place. The coffee shop area has the air of a Starbuck’s and the museum itself is a series of glass cabinets displaying photos, memorabilia and texts narrating the history of the band, not unlike any History Museum would display the artisanry pieces of an extinct tribe. You can’t help wondering what a twenty year old Joey Ramone would have done with all that glass.
Rover’s booming voice alternated with his full bodied falsetto, just himself and his guitar, produced an intensity at odds with all that. His style and demeanour like a nineteenth century aristocratic poet singing in the hangover of a rock n’ roll era. There were no more than fifteen or twenty of us in the concert, and at some point the exchanges between the artist and the crowd reminded more of a tourist attraction than of a concert. It seemed Rover wasn’t feeling too comfortable, that he wasn’t really letting go. His jokes between songs were self deprecating and he might have cut the concert short, but one can’t be sure. The crowd wouldn’t let him off the stage, though, he finished with an encore.
Rover’s releasing an eponymous album this year, it’s single Aqualast is a hair raising melody of love longing, verses like help me, help me be a new man / i’m weak and smoke runs into my veins are almost wept out in booming baritone voice, then the chorus lay me down in fields of lavender in angelic tenor falsetto. At Ramones Musem it was just him and his acoustic guitar, but when you hear the song with a second electric guitar and the drums there’s a dialogue going on there that gives it all another dimension. In this clip from a promo he did for French TV (in France he’s making it pretty big) you can see what I’m talking about.