PLASTICZOOMS (jap) + ULSTER PAGE (fr) @ Rock Classic, Brussels BE – 21 May 2016
I guess alternative rock has a special meaning for all those having lived their teenage period in the ‘90s (as myself). Grunge gave those years a very special flavour, together with Britpop and what was left from the New Wave scene, and many of those bands became among the most popular bands in the world. The revival in the ‘2000s came with a lot of “The” bands – The Killers, The Strokes, The Rupture, The Black Keys, The Kooks, The Decemberists, but all of them were signing deals with big labels like EMI or Universal and making it very quickly though the charts, so it was hard to believe that the alternative rock was not actually already dead. (Although I’d like to mention one exception, the ‘Jack White’s wave’: The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather… )
What was genuine in the alternative of the ‘90s, and not quite kept since then, was its emergence from an independent underground and the do-it-yourself philosophy. And finding bands today making alternative rock which don’t sound like “The” movement but are still rooted somehow in that era is a sign of revival but of a different one. Last Friday in Rock Classic Bar, Les Soirées Cerises Booking brought on stage together two different bands but with same DIY philosophy, plus the feeling that they are taking the alternative rock music from where Nirvana had left it. The feeling that alternative rock is not dead.
PLASTICZOOMS is a band with a well-defined and considered philosophy and image. The Japanese living in Germany work mostly as a trio and include support members. Their style is defined as Indie/Punk/New Wave and they play an interesting mix of all these elements, original from many points of view. PLASTICZOOMS are like two bands in one: a guitar band with a ‘one, two, three, go!’ songs and an electronic band with distinctive vocals and unfailing bass. Beneath their image lay songs with flawless composition and perfectionism in their execution.
They use electronic samples live onstage but, I guess, there was no need of drum beats as their drummer was absolutely amazing, so fast and precise that it was difficult to see his drumsticks otherwise that in blurred motion. I loved the sound of the guitar (Tom Takanashi), quite distinctive and exquisite and probably the most obvious element making the link between eclectic punk and arty new wave, mastering melody but also microphonic feedback for tonal flavour.
The band leader and vocals is Sho Asakawa, an eccentric androgynous persona, with high feminine ways of expression, a sonorant voice and an impressive background in goth punk fashion and image. The bass and synth part were done by Jun Yokoe, giving consistency to the entire mix.
PLASTICZOOMS Live in Rock Classic Brussels 2016
More photos: PLASTICZOOMS in Rock Classic Brussels 2016
Ulster Page is a very nice alternative rock band coming from Saint-Raphaël on the French Riviera with a classical line-up of four members – two guitars, bass and drums. They are young, charismatic, fun, full of energy and very rock and roll in their stage presence. The description on their facebook says that they are ‘more than just resurrecting the sound of the nineties’. Indeed, Ulster Page have the 90s’ sound in song composition and the 70s’ sound in their guitars.
Gabriel Moland as vocal is genuine, hot and full of vitally and does it without acting weird, showing off tattoos or wearing fancy clothes, quite the type of rockstar that can knock audience off their feet with his performances on stage. Good vocal range too, that man can cover anything from soft emotion to anger screaming. The rhythmic section (bass, Eric Melchior and Hugo Fonti on drums) is steady and the guitar (Benjamin Entringer) is very good and all together make a wonderful live act.
I definitely appreciated the songs composition, which was often ending in walls of sound of guitar shredding and bursting out in lots of energy on stage. The Seattle scene is easy to be evoked but it would be a bit biased as these four young people all born in 1992 use their influences to keep the spirit alive and take it further.
Ulster Page – Live in St-Raphaël (2014 – France)
More photos: Ulster Page in Rock Classic Brussels 2016
There was no big audience in Rock Classic last Saturday, mostly due to the Brussels Jazz Marathon festival currently ongoing throughout the city, but those present assisted to a high quality event and, judging by the request for encores, really enjoyed it. Both bands brought a sincere underground club gig feeling which is really precious nowadays.
More of it soon in Rock Classic? Find out on: https://www.facebook.com/soireescerises/events
Les Soirées Cerises Booking
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