Saturday 10 December 2011

Early Christmas Present With Smith & Burrows

What do you do when you're in a big rock band and after making albums and extensive touring you have some time to spare? You make an album with a good friend and play some club shows. Just for the fun. That's exactly what Tom Smith of the Editors did. He teamed up with good friend Andy Burrows, ex-drummer of Razorlight, and they made an album named Funny Looking Angels. It even turned into a Christmas album.

Smith & Burrows at Paradiso, December 5 2011 (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)

The songs on the album are mostly covers and only a handful of new songs. It hardly feels like a Christmas album. Although it's lighter than the Editors, it has a bit of a dark feel to it, which suits that time of the year. For the occasion Paradiso has put down chairs so half of the audience is sitting down. The stage has some Christmas lighting to get us in the mood. The funny thing is, that today we're celebrating "Sinterklaas" in The Netherlands, which to us definitely isn't about Christmas trees and lights at all.

They start off with the nice cover of Black's 'Wonderful Life'. Smith's voice is perfect for it and it definitely does the song justice. Andy Burrows is behind the piano, that's positioned in such a way, that the right side of the crowd can hardly see him. Unfortunately this includes us and so we only get to see him when it's his turn to sing a song. This is the setup for tonight: Smith and Burrows take turns in singing a few songs while the other is playing the piano. In the meanwhile their band is staying in the background but doing a great job at the same time. Isabelle Dunn's chello is fitting the music really well.

Of course one album isn't enough to fill a concert and so they throw in some Editors and Razorlight songs. Especially the Editors songs lend themselves really well for this more or less acoustic setup. The already brilliant 'Papillon' grows even more as we could already hear on Studio Brussel a while ago. But also there are great versions of 'The Weight Of The World' and 'Walk The Fleet Road'. Burrows cannot compete with the strong vocals of Smith. His voice is just not as solid, although he's definitely doing a decent job. Razorlight's 'America' and 'Before I Fall To Pieces' even have the crowd hesitantly clapping along.

Most of all the two are having lots of fun. There's time for joking around and even screwing a few things up. Smith starts off Yazoo's 'Only you' too fast and they have to start over. That song, like on the album, feels really out of place with Burrows' falsetto vocals. At one point there's a small intermezzo with a tombola where people are winning a Barbara Streisand vinyl record, a t-shirt and a mug. Smith even goes over to the winner of a bottle of booze on the balcony to hand it over personally, while the band is playing the Rocky tune. And so this is just one great merry get-together with some great musicians. From time to time it turns magical, like in the final song of the night 'When The Tames Froze', where they are both wearing wings. And so everyone is already feeling the Christmas spirit when we leave. I hope Sinterklaas doesn't mind.

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01. Wonderful Life (Black)
02. Funny Looking Angels
03. Papillon (Editors)
04. The Weight Of The World (Editors)
05. If I Had A Heart (Andy Burrows)
06. Only You (Yazoo)
07. America (Razorlight)
09. No Sound But The Wind (Editors)
10. Walk The Fleet Road (Editors)
11. Half A World Away (R.E.M.)
12. On And On (Longpigs)
13. Before I Fall To Pieces (Razorlight)
14. In The Bleak Midwinter (Gustav Holst)
15. The Christmas Song (Mel Tormé)
16. As The Snowflakes Fall
17. This Ain’t New Jersey
18. When The Thames Froze

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