Tuesday 1 November 2016

On Stage: Taxiwars @ Bitterzoet

A year ago Taxiwars introduced themselves to the world. The quartet with well-known dEUS frontman Tom Barman successfully released their self-titled debut record and played a string of exciting club shows. Now they are back with a new record, Fever, and more of that freaky jazz.

Taxiwars at Bitterzoet, October 30 2016

It's easy to think that Tom Barman is the name that draws most people to see this band, which is probably right, but at the same time is selling the others short. This band is so much more than the famous singer. When the audience is clapping enthusiastically after an instrumental piece, Barman returns to the stage and is joking "don't overdo it, this was without me". It actually proves how proud he is to work with these great musicians, which is obvious when he is watching them play solos from the side of the stage, now and then shouting with excitement. And who wouldn't if you get to see this band play every night? The freaky and groovy jazz pieces are full of twists and turns, partly improvised and the musicians are constantly challenging each other.

The new songs are in line of the older ones, which means they breath the same restlessness and are just as pungent. Saxophone player Robin Verheyen is using the whole spectrum of his saxophone in sometimes wild solos, not always trying to fire off as many notes as possible, but instead trying to grasp the essence and atmosphere of the compositions. The rhythm section, bass player Nicolas Thys and drum player Antoine Pierre, keeps the beat going, making sure the groove doesn't stop. They provide the basis for Barman's lyrics, that spice up the songs and give them even more edge. Sometimes his words are combining into something of a rap, blending in with the groove completely.

The band doesn't let any boundaries restrict them, but instead stretch them as far as possible. That's why it isn't only attracting your typical jazz audience, but also appeals to many others, including dEUS fans. Contrary to the last time at this same venue when people were pretty noisy, they are now completely into the performance and in the quiet parts everyone is listening closely, not a sound to be heard. After an hour the band shortly leaves the stage while the crowd keeps roaring until they come back for an encore. Then it's really over and 75 minutes feels a bit short to me. I guess this simply never can get too much.

All Pictures

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