Friday 12 May 2017

On Stage: Gruppo di Pawlowski @ Paradiso

Last year Mauro Pawlowski announced he would be leaving dEUS, one of the best rock bands from Belgium. It wasn't a nasty break-up at all, but a friendly one. It was time to move on for the guitarist and focus on other projects. In April we saw a new release for Gruppo di Pawlowski, In Inhuman Hands, the second album by his own experimental rock group.

Gruppo di Pawlowski at Paradiso Amsterdam, May 10 2017

Anyone who came to see this band because they are into dEUS may have been in for a surprise, since this band is nothing like it, although you can find some elements in common if you look well. Pawlowski restricts himself to vocals here, where his band play freaky rock songs with odd time signatures, sudden stops and rhythm changes. Now and then it reminds me of Primus, especially in the songs that are heavily based on the grooves played by the rhythm section.

That in itself already isn't for everyone and Pawlowski spices things up even more with weird vocals, screaming, and freaky dancing and poses. His serious face while doing this is pretty hilarious sometimes, but you can see there's plenty of tongue in cheek. But don't put off this music as a gimmick, since the band does play very well and inventive.

Not all songs are equally good and some don't seem to go into any direction, but the ones that do come together turn into tight and groovy rock songs with enough hidden surprises to stay interesting. Pawlowski sometimes points to one of his band members to let him start off a solo. This music is partly improvised, which explains why it doesn't always work perfectly.

Pawlowski suggests to end the first encore in an anti-climax, and they play a cheesy slow song. He invites a friend over to finish the song and a small person with a big beard climbs the stage. He starts crooning to the song while taking off his clothes. When he's butt naked the band returns to play a second encore. It's a fitting end for a strange but interesting band.

All Pictures

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