Southampton was buzzing’ on two fronts last night. In town, the footie fans were filling out the pubs on their return from Wembley after a 4-1 win in the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy. On the other side of town, the Turner Sims Theatre was filling up with fans for Dan Berglund’s’ Tonbruket for a celebration of Tonbruket music – guess where I’d be going then?
So what’s Tonbruket music then? Well, I was told by someone close to the quartet that Tonbruket are not too bothered if they fall into any set music genre and as we know from their album, Tonbruket (see review HERE), their relationship with jazz is central and strangely peripheral all at the same time.
It’s strange as the former Esbj??rn Svensson Trio bassist Dan Berglund is the central figure of the group whilst live he seems more the ‘name’ than leader if this gig is anything to go by; even if he cuts an impressive figure sat centre stage with his double bass. The rest of the band consists of Johan Lindstr??m (guitars, lap and pedal steel, piano, keyboard), Martin Hederos (piano, pump organ, keyboards, trumpet) and Andreas Werliin (drums and percussion).
Those with sharp eyes will notice the a slight variation on live instrument credits compared to the album. And hearing them live, it’s a different experience to listening to the album; not better nor worse, just different but definitely more exciting. As this band continues to evolve and get to know each other they are bound to even better. Again insiders tell me, that they’ve even noticed this on the tour, tonight being thier seventh of 11 on the UK leg so catch ‘em whilst you still can.
I’d really recommend it as with the benefit of hindsight (or is that hindlisten?), Berglund’s use of electronic effects is sort of lost on the album, but live it’s a different matter. Seeing him play reconnects the bass and the music. It’s also interesting to see that for a big bloke, his hands are untypically normal compared to your stereotypical bass playing exponents. In fact, his gentle strumming produces some of the hardest sounds in the band whilst still producing the warm, round and full base tone that he’s known for.
And the rest of the band have a similar duplicity, acoustic, electric and pedal steel guitars in a non-jazz band? The keyboards are varied and deep and at times the drums can stretch from early Adam Ant to something that you’d expect to hear at Unsafe (whilst noting that previously Werliin did play with a “folk to free jazz” duo). And yet, they do actually play as a band (certainly no rounds of jazz extended solos going on here) and the live performance is certainly tight, no interval and no support.
And they start the haunting ‘Stethoscope’ with the pump organ gloom, that’s ideal for this venue. And if you’re not touched by ‘Sailor Waltz’ (that’s the In Bruge-esque one) and the extended classical piano on ‘Song For E’ which is a killer with the contrasting drum machine and pump organ, you need to re-orientate yourself.
And they can stay gentle with the Tunng-ish ‘The Wind And The Leaves’ or go in total contrast on ‘Monstrous Colossus’ that’s as big as its name live.
As a bit of a local interest aside, there wasn’t much repartee going on, apart from Berglund introducing the band towards the end and he said, “Thank you for coming to this beautiful church” which raised a chuckle from the crowd (for those that don’t know the Turner Sims Theatre, it houses a mighty fine organ at the rear of the stage – see review of the HERE of F-ire Collective back in 2005 and you’ll see what he’s getting at).
After that interlude, they played a new track called ‘Teddy Bears On Ice’ which was in a most odd C&W style flowing on from the elegant pedal steel/slide of ‘Waltz For Matilda’. And when Lindstr??m wants to twang, it’s time to get out the blood red Gibson (‘Wolverine Hoods). The set ended on ‘Sister Sad’ that could have been the score to the bus and train race in Hitchcocks’ Number Seventeen in a different space-age of Hawkwind meets Brain Auger’s Oblivion Express.
A couple of encores later, it was a dash to the foyer to buy the CD and get it signed by the band which was a nice touch, especially as they seemed quite chatty and bearing in mind they’d travelled down from the previous nights’ gig in Gateshead!
If you’ve not got it yet, the gig exceeded expectations of the album and whilst it’s fine to buy Best Of E.s.t and E.s.t Live In Hamburg (both albums released on ACT Music) don’t’ leave without Tonbruket; definitely ones to follow, I love this band.
Forthcoming UK Tour Dates 2010
29th March – Milton Keynes, The Stables
30th March – Birmingham, CBSO Centre
31st March – Barnstaple, The Queen’s Theatre
1st April – Bristol, St. Georges Hall
Reviewed: Dan Berglund – Tonbruket (ACT Music) Cat. No. ACT 9023-2 Release date: 15th March 2010 Line Up:
01 – Sister Sad (6:28)
02 – Stethoscope (2:21)
03 – Sailor Waltz (9:45)
04 – Gi Hop (4:18)
05 – The Wind And The Leaves (3:03)
06 – Wolverine Hoods (6:09)
07 – Monstrous Colossus (5:26)
08 – Song For E (6:32)
09 – Cold Blooded Music (7:37)
10 – Waltz For Matilda (3:43)
“If there’s one instrumental album you buy in 2010, make it this one.” Shakenstir
“A compelling electro-acoustic smorgasbord, full of melancholy beauty and life-affirming surprise” MOJO
“Unique and unpredictable, and as a result highly memorable” BBC Music
BBC 4 Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock
Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – Final: Sunday 28th March 2010 (Wembley Stadiium) www.football-league.co.uk/page/JohnstonesPaintTrophy