Wednesday 26 September 2018

On Stage: MIEN @ Sugarfactory

The members of new band MIEN may sound familiar, since the band consists of The Black Angels‘ Alex Maas, The Horrors‘ Tom Furse, Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dhir and The Earlies’ John Mark Lapham. They met on several different occasions which resulted in this collective, who are looking for a The Velvet Underground with Nico sound, reimagined by their respective bands. The result is a psychedelic journey rooted in the sixties. The group is now on a small tour that also crosses my hometown.

MIEN at Sugarfactory Amsterdam, September 25 2018

The show has been moved from the Melkweg to the smaller venue Sugarfactory. It is obvious why when I enter the small hall just before the show starts. Less than fifty people are in here and there still is plenty of room. It is nice to be up close to the band though who are on the same level as the crowd.

During the performance, visuals are projected on the back curtain to accompany the psychedelic music. There isn't a lot of light to show the band as they are performing mostly in dark blue lighting (which explains my dark fuzzy pictures). The sound isn't great during the show although it gets a bit better halfway. Especially the vocals which are full of reverb, are hard to pick up. Of course it is part of the psychedelic sound, but they seem to be drowning in the rest of the music, which is especially dominated by loud drums.

It makes it hard to get into the music, which should be right up my alley. I love all those bands, and I think this combination is quite interesting. Rishi Dhir is playing bass but sometimes switches to his beloved sitar, which simply is an instrument that goes perfect with this kind of music. But tonight the several layers aren't really blending together and the music misses its effect. Instead it all starts to sound alike. The band isn't really connecting with the small crowd, who mostly are waiting for something to happen. The last couple of songs sound better and we get a trace of what is possible: a psychedelic new wave version of The Velvet Underground. Too bad it is only a small part of the show that sounds good enough.

All Pictures

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