In one way it’s like watching a Rogers and Hammerstein musical based on art students
Frank Hiep’s stood on the Nieuwe Anita’s stage trying to work out why a lead gives full power output when pushed halfway into a socket, but makes a weedy, strangulated dying noise when firmly plugged in. Such are sound-checks. Still, Accadians are the only band on, so attention to working out what leads goes where bears fruit eventually.
This is quite an event, in a low key way – I think it’s the first time Accadians have played Amsterdam and there are quite a number of people (including Koen & Niek from label Subroutine) out to support them. The band is currently a three-piece, and has temporarily swapped their guitar bass drums line up for a drums and pedals set–up with Frank singing unencumbered by guitar. The tracks are moody, electronic and, (something that strikes me during the gig) that there’s a hint of very early New Order about them; think Movement but groovier, less hung up, more colourful. In previous reviews on Accadians I’ve mentioned aural similarities to bands like Ash Ra Tempel and Radiohead, but there’s a metronomic, controlled, but very danceable element to their sound that hits me this time.
The audience isn’t really sure what to make of Accadians, there’s little interaction between band and crowd, but that’s Frank’s way. And it’s obvious that he saves his soul for the vocal delivery, which is at times searing, at others almost ridiculously introvert. Things kick up a gear with the last two tracks which are soaring, thumping elegies to abandon.
Afterwards, we hang out in the Nieuwe Anita’s bar and marvel at the sheer glossiness of Amsterdam’s art student scene…. I mean; the teeth, the hair, the threads; they are all absolutely impeccable. In one way it’s like watching a Rogers and Hammerstein musical based on art students; each has an identifiable role: each - whilst being studiedly “different” in demeanour and look – still conforms absolutely rigidly to a type, and each one falls in line with the other, allowing no outside interference by non-regulatory, un-cool, normal people. Astonishing. Wonder what they made of Accadians. Wonder if it even registered.