Vox Von Braun / Lost Bear; LVC, Leiden 08/01/10

The hall is filling up slowly with emaciated types with beards and fringes and hair clips. There’s soup on too.



“I’m really not sure about this sound guy; man… he’s so pushy.”

Wymer Wystraa, singer from Vox Von Braun, quietly sits in the upstairs dressing room at the LVC, all the time wondering what the big rush is. It’s minus seven outside, there’s a small crowd in and according to Vox there’s no point in starting a show too early. Vox are slightly miffed.

The evening is the first in a (hopefully long) series of events hosted by a sweet trio of studenty types going under the collective moniker of Funny Trees. Headlining is Lost Bear, who are (according to the nice poster), “90’s Indie Pop” whatever that means nowadays… The hall is filling up slowly with emaciated types with beards and fringes and hair clips. There’s soup on too.

Vox tonight have Pony Pack’s Oreng Goreng on bass duties, seeing as regular bassist  Maike is over in the UK, (apparently trapped), with Holland’s greatest Anglo-Dutch beatnik group, The Bent Moustache. No matter, as Oreng is a trooper at this sort of thing.  The band slowly get going, a couple of numbers like The Faint Hearted off LP Something Ain’t Wrong sets the tone; moody, bullish, and loose. You can see immediately that the band have a different chemistry on the night; Oreng waltzes around the stage, giving the songs a more serpentine, shifty edge; the opposite of Maike’s passionate, driving presence.

What are even more revelatory are the new songs. Vox played a couple before Christmas at the sadly missed Bar en Boos, and they sounded spiky, enjoyable, but a bit unfinished. Now (given the new “punishing” gigging regime the band seemed to have embarked on) they sound astonishing. Vox Von Braun is a band who can seemingly at the flick of a switch move up a gear and blow an audience away mid-gig. It’s a knack very few bands have to be honest. Two slower new tracks sound for all the world like the Bunnymen in their pomp. Ridiculously good in fact. Things are rounded off satisfactorily once Morning Sun, Julia and Lord of Pesetas are given their customary airing.  There’s a momentum slowly building round Wymer’s lot, I’d keep my ears and eyes peeled folks.

Lost Bear seem to have a lot of members, or maybe it’s because they are all jumping around in the style (feet together, scrunched up face), so beloved of the young and hip. Oh, and at least one of them is about 6 foot 7… The music is indie, but it’s eclectic, more noughties than nineties, that’s for sure. There’s a trumpet too, and that tremolo guitar sound so beloved of virtually everyone since 2003. Now and again the stop-start minor-major key shifts, the whooping and hollering forms into an ecstatic chorus or compressed, noisy refrain, GBV style (albeit fuelled by soda pop, not the Captain Bob method). Then you stop being distracted by the movement and realise they are a pretty good band.

All in all a good evening, smiles instead of frowns and lots of young people enacting their own private Narnia’s. Lordy, whatever next?