Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mister John, Kiss My Frogs and Ocean at Divan Du Monde!

So, I went to a show tonight and have quite the review planned for you. The venue was the famous Divan du Monde in Paris, the bands, blues masters Mister John, rock n soul with Kiss my Frogs, and French metal legends Ocean. Also within, me introducing a little kid to headbanging. All in all I had a killer night and got to see some great bands! It all started off with the quality of the venue.

The venue Divan du Monde is rather small, but still big enough as to not be cramped. At the show there was a crowd of 250, nowhere near the maximum capacity of 450. The venue is located in the famous music district of Pigalle, right next to a bunch of guitar stores and music shops. While it can get a bit sketchy at night, I have yet to have an issue in this area of the city. The mixing was brilliant and allowed every band to truly shine. Overall, the venue is excellent and a great place to see a show at.

The first band to come up was Mister John, a crunchy blues act with some brilliant solos. Their sound is ridiculously good, and the stage show rather well done. Before the show started a little kid was very excited to tell me that his uncle would be playing the keyboards during the show, the fact that he was not intimidated by my Slayer shirt made me immediately take a liking to him. I kept an eye on him as the blues started up.

The songs where powerful and satisfying. With a blues rock feel very much in the vein of Robert Plant's live show Mister John is impossible to hate. They have that blues magic in their playing and you can't deny it. The guitar is brilliant, with tasty licks galore, James Dempsey is particularly good. The bass work is pretty solid and the lines added a lot of flavor to the songs. The drums where slow and delicious, with simple lines that really captured the Mississippi feel. Finally we have the vocals which had a very dirty Tom Waites magic to them. My favorite parts where when the band broke down to play long instrumental passages. Together, the musicians of Mister John are excellent, and they are helped by their stage show.

The stage show of Mister John is rather simple, yet well executed. The lighting forms the basis of it all. With an emphasis on cooler colors the moody instrumental passages are nicely complimented, mean while the faster flashier chord progressions got brighter and more active lighting. My big criticism of the Mister John live show is the lack of movement by the performers. While I understand that this is a rather low powered type of music, some audience interaction would be nice. Overall though, Mister John proved themselves to be a rather effective live band who truly get what it is to be bluesmen.

The next band up was called Kiss My Frogs, a rock n' soul act who had a rather bizarre image. Their music was rather good, and reminded me a lot of old fashioned Chicago blues standards. The guitar work was usually pretty light but still crunchy. The standup bass added a lot of flavor to the bands overall sound. The keyboards added a shimmery layer to the music reminiscent of Led Zep classics like No Quarter. I found the drums to be a tad dull though with a lack of creative fills and not a lot of energy. The vocals were wonderful, the singer could really blast it out. She has a truly powerful voice. Overall Kiss my Frogs is a decent, but not great live band.

The stage show of Kiss My Frogs was rather bizarre. With 4 men dressed like hipsters and a rather sexualized singer the show had a rather parisian feel to it. Yet the dancing of the musicians (Especially the singer) was bizarre and failed to really connect with the audience. The only time that I felt a true connection with the band was during the guitarists extended solo which was very powerful and tasty. Overall though, the show lacked magic, and even a little creepy at times when I considered the lyrics versus the age of the musicians. Still, I had a decent time during this band's 45 minute set.

Then we have Ocean, this band truly rocked. They even made the little kid I was standing next to go up in a headbanging rage! The set was extremely tight and I got to enjoy it from front and center. (See, showing up an hour early has its benefits!) The guitar work was tight and very Maidenesque. I particularly liked how the band was not afraid to let the guitarist go down into blues solos. The bassist was also rather good, and he seemed to be really feeling every note he played that night. The drums where high powered and flashy featuring a ton of NWOBHM fills that never failed to satisfy. Finally we have the vocals, Stef Reb can screech like Halford and go down and low like Dickinson, in short, he is the perfect NWOBHM vocalist, and it was a pleasure to see him sing.

The stage show was great with lots of flashy lights the hall came alive. The vocalist ran up and down high fiving everyone in the front row and leading the headbanging. Reb truly knows how to get a show going. Yet as I said before, the band was not afraid to step back and let the blues flow. This allowed for a really interesting dichotomy in the sound and added a bit of a Led Zeppelin vibe to the music. In conclusion Ocean is a sick live act who you MUST go see!

To finish, it was a great evening with lots of great music. All of the bands are worth checking out but the show was truly dominated by Mister John and Ocean.

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