Friday 20 October 2017

On Stage: J. Berndardt @ Tolhuistuin

Belgian alternative darlings Balthazar are still on a break and some of its members are using their spare time to engage in other musical projects. Especially Maarten Devoldere in Warhaus and Jinte Deprez as J. Bernardt are doing well and have released wonderful albums. I saw both of them play a few times now, but I just can't get enough. Time to see J. Bernardt again.

J. Bernardt at Paradiso Tolhuistuin Amsterdam, October 17 2017

Somewhere during the show Deprez mentions it is a sold out house tonight, which is obvious from the packed venue. The first time I saw him with this project at the Into The Great Wide Open festival last year. It was the first show and afterwards I briefly talked to him where he stated it needed some more work since he wasn't really pleased. By now his record Running Days is out and the shows are running smoothly as I already experienced later that year. The lights on the stage create a nice atmosphere (although make it impossible for my small camera to take decent pictures) for the minimalistic electronic music.

Most of the songs are midtempo, which means it won't make you go wild, but it does invite you to dance. Of course Deprez is used to large stages and this smaller one is no problem for him. He's moving around the whole stage and it is obvious he feels comfortable there. I like the sound of his music, the way the calm songs slowly unfold themselves while Deprez is almost crooning as he's singing them. He mostly starts samples and creates loops for his songs to build on while a keyboard creates texture and drums provide rhythm.

Deprez is a charismatic performer who flawlessly feels when the attention of the crowd is slipping. When it does, he will address them to make sure they are back in the game. With only one record out, the show doesn't last very long of course, but it is nice to see how this project grew into a convincing live show.

All Pictures

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