andrewcferguson

writer, performer, musician, wine drinker

The Loneliness of the First Support Act

So, tomorrow,  on what is the ultimate of school nights, Monday, Daughter and Heiress and I are off to another gig (actually, this is the first of two this week for D & H, but she’s got a pal to go with to Bombay Bicycle Club on Thursday, so I’m relegated to the chauffeur role). The main event tomorrow are Temples, a relatively new indie guitar outfit specialising in psychedelic, reverb-heavy sounds of a generally retro nature. We’ve seen them before and they were excellent, in a baking hot tent at Latitude, as previously reviewed as part of that Festival’s day one experience.

I’ve often wondered, though, about support acts; how they get chosen; what it’s like to support better known bands in front of their audience; what the deal is, generally. D & H quickly established the main support was Superfood, and I’ve been doing my homework by listening to their album in advance. Nice stuff it is, too: showing a pedigree that to me includes Blur and Stone Roses, it sounds a bit as if they’re still settling on a style; but then, they’re only about 12, and I’m 107 years old. I look forward to their set, and what they choose out of what I’ve heard so far to play live.

Spare a thought, though, for the first support act, Klaus Johann Grobe. For a start, it was actually quite hard to find out he was part of the package: most of your ticket sites and other bozos promoting the Temples tour don’t exactly go a bundle on telling you Klaus is an, albeit slightly lower-slung, star in the evening’s firmament for you. In fact, it took quite some minutes of browsing (which, as we all know in this goldfish attention span world of t’interweb, is, like, aeons?) to find out that Klaus is, in fact, not one, but two blokes, and not German, but Swiss; one google result describes them as ‘Neo Kraut Romantic duo,’ so that’s them labelled right to a tee, obvs., as the youngsters say.

Listening to Klaus’s Soundcloud page (link above) reveals that ‘Neo Romantic Kraut’ translates into synth-based, quite melodic, stuff, with German lyrics. I liked ‘Nicht Zu Stoppen,’ which I wrongly thought to be ‘don’t you stop:’ I’ve seen too many war movies as a child where the Germans all speak in imperatives. D & H advises it means ‘Unstoppable.’ Their Facebook page starts their longer description with Vielleicht kann man sagen, dass hier Freigeister der Diskotheken melancholische Parolen auf die Tanzfläche schütten. Dunno either: haven’t asked her to translate that yet. Something about a melancholy disco?

Anyway, on their own site, they have a charmingly worded English version of their stagerider, setting out what they need from the sound guy in each venue:

It’s important to be able to add some reverb to Klaus Johann Grobes voices. The more and trashier the better.
A delay, of course, will work as well. The voices however are welcome to sound thin…
(there’s no mention of their backstage rider, so I can’t confirm the brown M & Ms position one way or another).
Here’s the thing now. Doors open tomorrow night at 7. I’m guessing Klaus will get lobbed up first, probably about 7.30, to then clear the way for Superfood and Temples. That’ll make it tricky for us to get fed, watered, and through the Edinburgh traffic to catch their set, but I just somehow feel, having gone to the effort of finding out about them for this post, a sense of kinship with them. They’re strangers in a strange land: German-speaking Neo Romantic Kraut synth-wielding Swiss guys in a roomful of reverb heavy guitar-loving hipsters.
I think they need our love and support. Hang on, guys, with your crazy Moog, bass and drums set-up, we’re coming for you!
To find out how they got on, go to D & H’s blog next weekend: my next post will be the delayed musings on taking a red pen to Robert Louis Stevenson. Which might well also not be till next weekend. I’ve got some reverb-lite guitars to record.
If you see an advert below here, it’s not mine, and I can’t see it, so I’ve no idea if whatever it is is any good or not. If that makes sense.
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