From exiting the bus at Shoreditch High Street station, you could feel the pressures of the city ebb away, after a 'Chuck Norris' burger (Chuck Norris was not harmed during this process) and a pint at BrewDog, I was even more relaxed but the question remained in my head, just who are Grandbrothers?
Their Facebook page describes them as a German piano/experimental duo, onstage was a hacked grand piano and a table of sorcery, waiting to be moulded into some mind meltingly soul pleasing eargasms.....
Petrels (the solo project of Oliver Barrett) was up first and launched into to his set with a wave of synth led music that slowly built as his set progressed. To me it looked like a mass of wires and keyboards, to the trained eye however, I guess it would have meant a whole lot more. Over the sloping soundscapes, he introduced some swirling keys that weaved around the room, you just couldn't help but give in to the hypnotic vibes that emanated from the stage.
One track merged into the next and before long, it was all over, he thanked the room for their attention and left the stage. After a short break and a bit of tidying up, it was time for the main act to do their thing.
As I said above, Grandbrothers are a German piano/experimental duo and along with hearing the music, I was also interested in HOW they created it. This soon became apparent as the plucky duo took time to talk about how the piano formed the integral part of the music, in fact, every sound that emitted from the stage was created via the piano. A mass of wires went from the table to the top of the grand piano and through a technical setup of receivers, pickups and other forms of witchcraft, they were able to manipulate and enhance the raw output from the piano into elaborate drum patterns and synthesized sounds which really enhanced the experience. You may think I’m talking utter nonsense, I guess you really had to be there to understand what he was talking about or at least have a technical understanding of the kit that he was using on stage, I of course have none so my random ramblings are all you have at this stage to go on!
The music ranged from soothing piano led soundscapes to more upbeat offerings which wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a nightclub, either way, the capacity crowd at Rich Mix were really up for it and managed to transform a cold Tuesday evening into something that felt more like a weekend night out! Grandbrothers performed a decent 3 track encore prior to departing the stage after telling the audience that they’d be back in April 2018 for another Shoreditch performance (tickets selling FAST) so if you wish to see them, I’d act NOW.
Would I recommend you check out this duo? I’d be a fool not to!
There sophomore album Open is available now on City Slang and follows up nicely from their debut offering Dilation which burst onto the scene in 2015, available from their shows and from all good online retailers (and no doubt an independent record shop if you’re lucky enough to have one in your area!)
Review and Photography by Steve Muscutt