It has taken ten years since their beginning for Wrekmeister Harmonies to finally reach our shores but the success the breakthrough album of this project, You’ve always meant so much to me, led by one man, JR Robinson, has made him anticipated show for a diverse crowd from recognizable metal fans to a more curious crowd dressed casually.
To start the night Casual Nun played some sort of psychedelic rock clouded by a large number of effects and musicians spread on the stage and off stage at of Our Black Heart. The cyclic nature of their music prevented the song from achieving any sort of catchiness of music while still being enjoyable as an overall experience.
Luminous Bodies on the other hand had rockier tunes to offer but also some unpredictability. First off, the drummer from Casual Nun seemed to have decided to join Luminous Bodies on the spot and kept his drum kit off stage to play while looking at the band’s drummer to replicate his parts. He even handed his snare to a member of the audience for part of the song, proving that improvising was his second nature. This temporary third drummer proved himself up to the task and showed how exceptional this experience was for everyone involved making the set an event more intimate that it could have been otherwise.
Wrekmeister Harmonies started with an opposite number of band member with only JR Robinson and a young woman joining him on-stage. They nonetheless achieved to reproduce the many layers of sound the studio project plays with by using a loop pedal to record their voices, guitar, keyboard and violin parts and playing on-top of them. As the layering progressed, the song became more and more abrasive until JR Robinson started screaming and the volume returned gradually to a calmer level.
As a whole the set was structured as one large piece where the two musicians were joined by a drummer and a bass player around a third of the set to add more density to the sound. The pieces retained their complexity throughout the forty minute of music while keeping a gripping atmosphere that became more and more tense, proving how effective the four musicians were capable of interpreting compositions made for many guest musicians (including Sanford Parker from Minsk, Wrest from Leviathan, Bruce Lamont from Yakuza…). The vocals and compositions of JR Robinson also showed very distinctive Scott Walker touch with a more conventional rock edge compared to the frighteningly creative compositions of its influence. With only a limited line-up, the musician were capable of presenting a coherent set capable of making the overall atmosphere of the albums even more fascinating and emotional. One still can’t help but wonder how this could have sounded in a bigger venue with some of the guest musicians but hopefully the rapturous reception of the set by the crowd will convince them to come back another time.