ZEA and SPACE SIREN at the Leamington LAMP 14/4/2013
I arrived early at the Lamp on Sunday afternoon as Spring finally, thankfully breaks after a very long and protracted winter. Zea and Space Siren have been on a small tour over from Amsterdam which has taken them from Bristol to Nottingham, Leeds, London and finally winding their way in a Toyota van to Leamington Lamp. I met Arnold de Boer whose solo act Zea is in existence for over a decade and the four band members from Space Siren who are approaching their third year and growing in appeal as time ticks by. Both Zea and Space Siren are part of a vibrant and healthy Amsterdam music scene and to have them play at Lamp shows the venue is already attracting bands and acts of high quality and value.
Two years ago, The Ex and Jackdaw With Crowbar played at Hybrid Arts, Spencer’s Yard, and played two sets which demonstrated how much they have developed since performing together at Bath Place Community Centre in the late 1980s. It was there that I met Arnold their lead singer, who joined the Ex four years ago. On meeting him on Sunday and talking with him about his one man band, his dedicated playing, writing, recording, and experimentation with different sounds and ideas has led to a live show that is thrilling and thought provoking. His box of tricks or sound equipment has become his live show, releasing sonic beats and effects which he manipulates at his fingertips that add to searching and challenging songs and they are preety much bonkers! Very bonkers, but drawing you in to his insanity, bizaare as it all is. Arnold clearly believes in what he’s doing, stands upright, flying his Frysian (Dutch province) flag, but I seriously believe that despite everything his songs mean something to him, have much to contribute and must be heard. With songs like “Song for Electricity”, “Agrarian Daydreams”, and “We’ve got a Crisis”, this man is like a Dutch Billy Bragg pushing for an audience reaction, but mostly just made me laugh, then think afterwards which is always a good sign. He has a new release called “The Beginner” which is distributed in the UK from Norman Records and is well worth a listen. He is touring extensively around Europe soon with Ghanian King Ayisoba and with other musicians such as Germanotta youth and Fire!! Orchestra! So as he said to me typing on his laptop “Sex, Drugs and Email!” Good luck to Arnold and his great leap forwards!
Space Siren followed and made noise bands seem precious again. I like this band. They remind me of Throwing Muses or Lush from the 1990s, but they are more European and reflect their own backyard. As two males and two females, they gel well together engaging the audience in a fury of guitar and rhythm and sounds with enticing vocals and penetrating drum beat. Their lead guitarist runs a recording studio in Amsterdam and their album “Mr. Wagner, please give us a call?” is available on their website. It is worthy of a listen as they are very good indeed! On talking with the band they seemed positive and upbeat about the tour and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them at the LAMP at some point in the future. Mixing noise effects, swirling melodies and soft, searching vocals they produce a fine live show. They have the creative backing of film maker/jvideo producer of Siebe de Boer, and the video of “Who makes me try?”(on You tube) is a striking introduction to this band who are definitly coming up! Another track “I think I saw an Elephant” hits your frontal lobes, shakes you around a bit, then quietens down with a calming end.
So, it was an enjoyable gig, and both acts, I hope will return to the venue.