Thursday, 28 February 2008

Bianca Bohl, Cobden Club, Monday February 25

The Grand Hall of the Cobden Club in Ladbroke Grove looks more like a film location than the usual sticky-floored dive that most gig-goers are used to.

This is probably appropriate for Westminster student, Bianca Bohl and her 6-piece band.

Bohl's ensemble fill the high ceilinged hall of this private members club with sumptuous music fit for the cinema.

Audience members, numbering around 100 are drawn to the candle lit, leather furnished areas set back from the stage.

This creates an awkward gap between the crowd and the band.

You can tell the German front-woman feels this distance when she says, “I feel like a reverend up here”.

Her black necktie on white shirt and wide brimmed Stetson hat do nothing to dispel the image of a Southern preacher and nor do biblical lyrics such as, “change your ways and repent”.

Pinning down the Bianca Bohl sound is a difficult task but the array of instruments employed by the band may go some way to explaining their expansive music.

Piano, trumpet, trombone, cello, violin, slide guitar and the more traditional drums, bass and guitar all featured here.

It takes a fine touch to blend this many sounds and musicians without muddying the waters and the classically trained Bohl has this touch, with each element of the music giving something extra to the overall sound.

Bohl's voice has a sweetness and range which comes into its own as she hits the higher notes.

Parts of the gig are quiet enough to hear a pin drop, while others are loud and almost rabble rousing like the gypsy-esque ending, reminiscent of Gogol Bordello.

The sound swells from the quiet to the loud effortlessly, as if this tight band is being conducted.

Their togetherness bridges the physical gap between the musicians and the crowd, who offer rapturous applause at the end of the performance.

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Becky Sharp said...

Where's the sardonism? Can't you slag off ticketmaster again?

James Fordham said...

Unfortunately, sometimes I actually get, er, moved.