6 August 2012

KlezFactor at B-flat

On Saturday night, KlezFactor played our biggest show in Berlin to date, at the B-flat Jazz Club.  This is a club that is well known to host both local and international jazz bands in a variety of eclectic styles.  The club is also home to a well attended (free) jazz jam on Wednesday nights, hosted by Canadian expatriate, bassist Robin Draganic. 

As you may be able to tell from the photos, B-flat is almost antithetical to Berlin bar aesthetics and is a very nice place!  It's also a fairly large performance space which allows the band to "rock out" a bit more than in some other venues.

As is par for the course, our musicians are busy people, so we had to bring in a substitute to play bass with us.  Fortunately, my old friend, Markus Müller from Nürnberg, was available and came up to Berlin to play with us, with his 5-string fretless electric bass in tow.

People I speak to often are amazed at how little rehearsal the band is able to get away with (without sounding like we haven't rehearsed).  Before our concert in Bayreuth, we rehearsed only once with drummer Fin Panter, and for B-flat, we only had about a 1 1/2 hour sound check to all play together.  What this proves is that with great musicians who put in some work on their own to learn the music, things become very easy to put together!

One thing that never ceases to amaze me about German audiences is how attentive they are.  At B-flat, when the house music was turned off, everyone immediately began to pay attention to the stage as we came up through the audience.  While we tuned and prepared to play, there was very little noise from the audience.  In Canada, audiences would continue to talk until (and even after) we start to play.  This allowed us to start very quietly, with me playing a Nign in the lowest register of the clarinet.  Following this tune, in which we built to a crescendo with everyone playing, we played some of our more "jazzy" repertoire - "Negev" and "The Golem of Bathurst Manor" from our first album.  We then started to bring the audience along as we introduced more of our raucous and obnoxious ("Raucnoxious?") repertoire.*  Fortunately, the audience followed us where we went, and, by the time we finished (nearing 1am), we felt very grateful to have played for such a warm and enthusiastic audience.

And so, we have one more concert booked for Berlin at this time -- A return to Shakespeare and Sons bookstore on September 6th.  If you're around, please join us!


*This included a completely unrehearsed rendition of "Miserlou" that featured Markus Müller's wonderful Yiddish singing, and a very strange, free-ish version of "Fun Tashlich" somewhat akin to our recorded version from The Golem of Bathurst Manor 

Photos by Marc Stephan

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