BIRTH CONTROL - Piano, Dortmund (D), 02/10/2021

Birth Control is one of the main bands of the seventies Krautrock era and is still going, albeit with none of the original members. The band has gone through a lot of phases during the past decades, but the authentic sound has been kept in shape. The bandname has become bigger than its members. Keyboard player Sacha Kühn has been with the group for twenty years now. Singer Peter Föller and drummer Manni Von Bohr were members for a short time in the early years of the band. Bass player Hannes Vesper - almost 20 years in the band - has taken a leading role. Guitar player Martin Ettrich is an enthousiast musician who makes the current line-up still a valuable musical asset. The band opens with the classic 'The Work Is Done' and has the audience immediatly on its hand. They play a lot of music of the great 'Plastic People' album and a great version of the title track of the 'Titanic' album. Most recent studio album 'Here And Now' also gets a lot of attention and the show is build to a climax with the long and thrilling 'Gamma Ray'. Oldfashioned drum- and bass solo's don't break the tension as these are very musical and impressive. Birth Control play for more than two hours with a lot of drive and dedication and get a massive request for an encore. The old warriors are still alive and well!

(Geert Ryssen)

AZOLIA - Lokerse Jazzklub - September 25, 2021

After a long period of inactivity due to covid-19 measures, the international quartet AZOLIA is on the road at last. After a lot of dates in Germany, Azolia crossed the German border for a couple of concerts in Belgium. Putting a relatively unknown contemporary jazz chamber ensemble on the bill is an act of courage, but also of vision! Lokerse Jazzklub was rewarded for this initiative with a full house and a wonderful concert. This postphoned tour is the ideal means to promote 'Not About Heroes', the third Azolia album based on the war poems of Wilfred Owen. The biggest part of the 100 minute concert is dedicated to this album. The music of Azolia is very delicate to perform, but this is a band of seasoned musicians that manages in a wonderful way the beautiful songs written by Belgian singer Sophie Tassignon and American singer, sax- and clarinet player Susanne Folk. Both are prominent members of the contemporary Berlin scene where a lot of creativity is blossoming into new music. The concept of a drummerless quartet is very original and doesn't show any lack of rhythm. The great bassplaying by Swiss member Andreas Waelti is one of the keys for a solid rhythmical base but every member of Azolia has a firm sense of rhythm. Listening to 'Not About Heroes' on a soundsystem is a nice experience, but being part of it in a live situation is another dimension. One can really see and feel the dynamics in the band. The immediate recognisable voice of Sophie Tassignon blends wonderfully with Susanne Folks' who plays also very moving sax and clarinet parts. That sound gets its finishing touch by the beautiful bass-clarinet and soprano sax lines and melodies by Lothar Ohlmeier who is one of the great players of the Berlin progressive jazz scene. It's the addition of Ohlmeiers parts that give the quartet a semblance of chamber music. The songs of 'Not About Heroes' make a deep impact on the audience managing to sit still and quiet during the full concert, appreciating all subtilities of every song with a big applause and topping it off with a massive cry for an encore. Although the concert was build around 'Not About Heroes', there's also a couple of songs from 'Everybody Knows', the second Azolia album. They also make you long for more. Azolia is a fantastic ensemble that blossoms in a setting of an intimate club. The setting was perfect tonight and so was the band.

(Geert Ryssen)