Turin Brakes @ Paard van Troje Den Haag (17 Apr 2010)

So, what about Saturday nights… Everybody’s up for a party, but what you’re instead going to see is an acoustic folkpopthing duo and a female singer/songwriter with a bittersweet songs sung in a lovely voice. Yes, that must have been a wild night out.

Well… It was actually… Kate Walsh had to fight against the chatting audience, but she did well. In fact, I thought she did a better job than last Tuesday in Amsterdam. Her set was exactly the same as that Tuesday night, but her voice seemed to be in better shape. In the end, I’m quite sure she had won over the crowd, despite a smoke machine blowing right in her face near the end of the set. I was certain she would have to stop to cough, but she kept going and finished Greatest Love like it was the easiest song ever. No Olly, still, even though the two did sing Greatest Love together in Germany.

The crowd remained quite up for it during the break between the two sets, so that I even started to fear what a night this would be like. But as soon as Turin Brakes took the stage, something changed. It wasn’t like the crowd became suddenly quiet or calm, but something did happen. Everything started to work. The crowd seemed to appreciate the presence of the band. Opener Sea Change once again took off slow, but evolved into something hectic and alarming by the end of it and from that moment on the band could do no wrong. Even though things did go wrong.

Because it wasn’t a flawless night. There was a sound guy who had to get the mix right, but Gale was pestered with feedback everything he got near somebody else’s microphone or other sound devices. No matter what the guy tried, it didn’t work – which seemed to hold back Gale and the rest of the band at times. But at some point during the show the band seemed to decide that this would just be a very rock and roll night. The sound was heavier, dirtier, without ignoring acoustic roots or going over the top. The vibe seemed perfect for a Saturday night and the crowd seemed to dig it. Gale played Embryos (the second live outing for this song) which turned into a nice midtempo song without losing it’s delicate sound. Songs like Apocolyps, which sound perfectly fine on the album, get turned into rock like ventures on this night. Acoustic rock, but still rock. By the time Long Distance and Slack come along, the crowd are really into it. That’s why an encore is bound to happen.

Yes. Except for that smoking machine. That smoking machine that started going mental during Kate’s set and kept on going during the headline act. Yes… THAT smoke machine (well that or something else) set off the smoke alarm. Suddenly we were supposed to leave the venue. Some did, but soon it became apparent that this was in fact false alarm and we didn’t have to do anything. Still, this alarm had two side effects:

a) The noise… There was an alarm going off in the background and a voice saying we should leave the venue. And the crowd got a bit confused (and therefore louder). That didn’t bode well for a slow intimate track like Outbursts, let alone for an amp-less rendition of Rocket Song.

b) The electricity on stage had been switched off.

Now the guys, already back on stage at this point, weren’t sure what to do, but in the end Olly took place behind Rob’s drum kit and started doing a drum improvisation thing. Gale started playing his African drum and Rob and Ed jammed along as well. This lasted for 2 minutes, during which the alarm kept going off in the background.

When they were done drumming, the situation hadn’t improved, so the boys decided to call it a day, apologising for the troubles caused by the venue (it was their smoking machine, after all). And right at that point the electricity was back again. And the boys were allowed to play one more song. A 5 minute version of Underdog ended a great, although slightly weird night. It ended a bit abruptely, but I think most people left with a happy feeling. A great beginning of any Saturday night.

Sea Change
Mind Over Money
The Road
Feeling Oblivion
Emergency 72
Fishing For A Dream
Dark on Fire
Radio Silence
Long Distance
Underdog (Save Me)

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