Last november I was stuck on Matador, the new Arms and Sleepers album, so I started to share them with my friends, buddies and all sorts of acquaintances, so they’ll hear the lovely music these boys make. I’ve mentioned them around here before.
About two weeks ago, the rumours of an Arms and Sleepers gig in Cluj started. I tried to keep calm the enthusiasm that was already building inside, so if it wouldn’t be confirmed, I won’t be too disappointed. One week before the event, the show was confirmed by the band. Arms and Sleepers at Remeber the Pub (or Fire, as everybody who goes there knows it) on Sunday, May 30th. How come this sudden? The guys were supposed to play in Moscow but they were denied the visa. It’s not too nice of me, but I’m really happy for this incident. Ok…my first doubt: Fire?! I mean, there are lots of other bars/pubs which are known to be better for concerts. But it looks like none of theme were ok with the short notice. I was already at peace with the fact that it might not sound very well, but I was glad I was gonna see this band live, I’m gonna talk a little to these people and I’ll buy some merch.
How do you begin a story about a concert that blew you away? It’s really easy to talk about conventional shows, where x plays guitar, y the bass, z pounds the drums, everybody’s in the front of the scene, enjoying or not what they’re seeing. When everything melts but it’s perfectly clear and absolutely beautiful, things get more difficult. Ok, so here we go.
Because sometimes anxiety gets to me and won’t leave me alone, I left my group at home and started for fire (yes, I’m gonna keep calling it fire), although I knew it won’t start at the announced time. At least I’d be anxious there. At the location, they told me not to enter the room they’re gonna sing in , cause they’re getting it ready. Hmmm…ok. I met people I haven’t seen in a while, talked a little, bought Matador. At about 11, we were welcomed to sit down in the room where they were to play.
I was a bit surprised, but I sat down on the first row and waited quietly. In one minute the madness began. The first thing that struck me was the sound. I couldn’t believe that this place can actually sound so good. I’ve been here at a few shows before, but the sound was always a problem. I don’t blame it on anybody, cause the place is not made for concerts…but the fact that now the sound was so good, it was a proof that it can be done. Then I found out that the guys in the band did all the arrangements.
After the first explosion of sound, I was hit with a series of favourite songs from Matador , which gave me an awesome state of mind that hasn’t left me yet. A state of wild calm with all my body invaded by music, from head to the top of my fingers which kept the rhythm on the knees, which were moving with my legs and feet the music.
I was watching the guys on the stage…I couldn’t decide on whom to keep my eyes on, so I wouldn’t miss a thing. Benkn, the curly guy – was either with the vocals, or with switching and pushing buttons…then he’d pound the cymbals, shake weird little instruments or play the guitar. I’ve seen people playing the guitar with a fiddlestick, or with the griff directly on the mic, but he’s the first one I’ve seen playing with a screwdriver. Then there’s Max (the one with the glasses), one of the actual members of Arms and Sleepers, he’s either playing with the buttons, or on the keyboards, he’s hitting the xylophone or , most of the times, with the guitar in his arms. The second member of the band, Mirza, is switching from the keyboards to the buttons, he’s grabbing his bass or blowing in the claviola. After all this commotion you’d think the drummer, Kyle, just worries about his drums. Most of the times yes, he’s pounding the drums with all sorts of weird sticks, but from time to time he intervenes with a trumpet or a small instrument of whatever sort. Plus, the had really nice visuals during the whole show.
When I heard the beginning of Simone, I felt like screaming the lyrics from the top of my lungs…I sat quiet and murmured them. At Butterflycatcher, I exchanged looks with my brother. It’s his favourite.
It was the perfect atmosphere and one awesome show. Yes, I’ve seen big bands which played great in shows I liked a lot. I also so big bands who don’t have an ounce of the feeling these guys have. It was another kind of an experience….and this show gets on the top of my list, there with Massive Attack and their Bucharest show in 2008, two entirely different experiences.
The guys stuck around after the show, they chatted with the people (myself included), I had my Matadorsigned, my brother continues his newly started vinyl collection with Black Paris 86 and Matador. Among other things, the guys said they liked it here, and they’re gonna come back in their next European. I hope it’ll be so! And whoever hasn’t seen them now, go next time. You’re in for a great experience.
I got home pretty late, with a huge smile all over my face and a great feeling. Of course we played the vinyls.
I want to give a special thanks to the guys from TBA Crew, Ed and Ion, who were quick enough to bring these wonderful guys in Cluj.
I’ve originally wrote these impressions on my Romanian music blog, Babylon Noise, HERE. But I wanted to have an English version as well, for all the people to read it, maybe it’ll convince someone to go see this band. And I promised the guys I’m gonna tell everybody how awesome they were 😉