Ponte Pilas: in review at Musik und Frieden

The evening started slow – and when I mean slow, I mean one hour and twenty minutes late.

The place was empty at the time the event started and, after you go inside Musik und Frieden, there’s no re-entry – so say goodbye to your beloved Straßenbiere. Smoking inside isn’t permitted either, so you have to go to this fancy-looking bar upstairs, where there’s a DJ in a room behind glass doors with the U1 goes close to the windows. It’s a lovely view, no doubt.

The first band came out, Maiorano. Six long-haired fancy-shirt surfer rockers, who played a fast mellow punky rock reminiscent of the Grease soundtrack. Although the melodies were happy and colourful, the beat was tight, and the drummer kept the pace of the concert on the run giving it a jumpy emotion to the crowd.

The amazing voice of the lead singer gave so much power to the performance that I occasionally didn’t notice that the drums were lacking pace and punch

As the performance of Maiorano kept going, the frontman slowly became looser on stage, much to the delight of the people on the crowd. The band had its own sound, a happy, jumpy, fast-paced rock which kept the people moving. The rhythmic section of the band was tight, and although the solos weren’t impressive, the sax and keyboards added a layer of tension and groove to the music that made the whole spectacle very enjoyable.

At 10pm or so Ponte Pilas came to stage, the four of them wearing white suits with red flashy shirts make them look a little overdressed for the occasion – something the lead singer acknowledged. A scream of the lead singer lead the way and the band followed through, powerfully beating the hell out of their instruments – but the feeling started to wear out rapidly.

The amazing voice of the lead singer gave so much power to the performance that I occasionally didn’t notice that the drums were lacking pace and punch. The falsettos within the melodies were beautifully performed, and frontman Calum Bolland was full of energy, enjoying, dancing and feeling every word that came out of his mouth. It’s such a shame that half of the band (i.e. the drummer and the lead guitarist) weren’t up to it.

The lead guitarist lacked movement and overall emotion, as if he had had fight with his girlfriend before going on stage and the drummer, well…you couldn’t hear the snare. I doubt this was the fault of the sound engineer, because it was flawless during the support slot. Yeah, there was a little feedback here and there, but all of the instruments could be heard perfectly – and just looking at the engineer pay attention to the performance would tell you how much focus he had on the group.

The bassist and lead singer – with their power on stage – tried to pull the band out of rehearsal practice mode to a live, full-of-emotion concert, but it just didn’t happen. The performance grew rapidly old, and even having featured artists didn’t empower enough the band to make this an outstanding show. The message didn’t go through. Maybe fans of the band had a fun time, but it wasn’t a show were new fans would have been born. Ultimately, the remarkable performance of the lead singer was shadowed by his band.

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