Wednesday 29 March 2017

On Stage: J. Bernardt @ Bitterzoet

At last year's edition of the Into The Great Wide Open festival, Belgian band Balthazar was all over the island in many forms. Of course the band itself, but several of its members were playing shows as well, sometimes presenting very new material. One of them was Jinte Deprez who played one of his first shows as J. Bernardt.

J. Bernardt at Bitterzoet Amsterdam, March 27 2017

When he was playing the island, no one knew what to expect since his music was all still a big mystery. I was pleasantly surprised by the danceable electronic music and was looking forward to hearing and seeing more of him. By now a few songs have been released and they are very pleasant to listen to. I complimented Deprez at the festival on his music after the show, but he wasn't that content himself mentioning some things went wrong. Tonight however I can't hear or see anything going wrong at all.

Deprez looks very confident on stage and as one of the lead singers of Balthazar he is used to playing much bigger stages and crowds. Maybe that's why he's moving around the small stage a lot, sometimes climbing a small raiser at the side, something they are doing with Balthazar as well. It is clear that many people in the almost sold out venue haven't heard a lot of his music yet, judging from the somewhat hesitant reactions in the beginning. But slowly people get used to the warm electronic sound of the music. Adriaan van de Velde is creating most of that on keyboards while drummer Klaas De Somer is playing the groovy beats. These two musicians were the support act tonight as Pomrad, van de Velde's own funky project.

Deprez is adding sequences and samples, sometimes using his guitar. But mostly he's dancing around the stage while singing with his pleasant and warm voice. The songs mostly stay mellow, creating a sultry atmosphere, quite suitable for hopefully this year's warm summer. It isn't something to completely go wild on, but it's music to slowly submerge yourself in, like a warm bath and simply go with the flow. This time it looks like things went very smoothly and Deprez can be happy about tonight's show. I'm looking forward to his album that should come out later this year and hopefully see him play again as well.

All Pictures

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