Germans supporting The Radio Dept.- Amsterdam -28-01-2017
1. Dead Bird
2. Hideaway (new track)
4. Delusions (new track)
5. Anne + Cats 4EVA
A known fact by now: I love Kurt Feldman (Depreciation Guild, Ice Choir) and his productions for others ….see my article on SophistiPop Now and Then. Most of his production work is on Soundcloud under the name of Winterstation and this is where I also found the project Germans by Brooklyn actress and singer Julia Kwamya. Listening to “Cruel” and “Wonderhow” somehow sounded like a really laid back mix of Style Council a la “Long Hot Summer” and Wham with the vocals that reminded me of those of DC Lee: soulful, but natural and non-gimmicky.
We have been giving the project quite a lot of love in the Sophistipop Lounge group group already but, of course it was quite a “chance of a lifetime” for Julia to be asked to join nerd/cult/indie giants The Radio Dept. on their 2017 tour! The tour starts off very near my home….so….
Amsterdam, being the 2nd date of the tour, was sold out within a few days… so the small venue that is Bitterzoet was packed: in the case of Bitterzoet this literally means not being able to move around and hardly seeing anything at all. But still that didn’t crush the fun. The crowd was nice enough – Morrissey glasses omnipresent – and we were still able to get drinks. I even bumped into an old friend I hadn’t seen in 22 years!
Germans didn’t let us down either! It was actually a lot better than expected from somebody who just started out doing this kind of thing. Julia is assisted on this tour by Chris Urriola on bass, and (non-vocal) backing tracks. Her voice and looks are in top form! She tries to entice the crowd by being her charming self and trying to get them to dance which she does quite a lot herself despite the high heels. (Later at the bar, she tells me that she already got most of the initial nerves under control tonight, which sounds very promising for the rest of the tour!)
Germans kick off with “Dead Bird”, actually sounding better than the demo version I knew so far. It’s a bit like I hearing for it the first time! During the 2nd song, a new one called “Hideaway”, the crowd is still trying to figure out what it is exactly that they are being fed here. But the penny seems to drop during an outstanding version of “Cruel” and people start to dig it and groove along. I tried to film it as well as I possibly could, which was hard with the lightboxes halfway across the ceiling and weirdos next to me trying to find the other half of their party, but you get the drift nonetheless.
After a few great sounding new songs Germans closed off with the wonderfully catchy “Wonderhow”, which was a shame because, at this point, the audience finally really caught on!
Well at least they went home with a clear idea and impression of Julia and her band Germans, which I can assure you, will not have any affinity with the usual Dutch image of the similarly titled neighbouring peoples. 😉 Look out for them! they might be playing near your home soon… and of course, check out The Radio Dept. too…..