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Guldbamsen View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Fire! Orchestra at Copenhagen Jazz Festival
    Posted: July 26 2015 at 15:59
I caught this magnificent act during Copenhagen's annual jazz festival. With some 12 (or was it 13) horn players, including head honcho and out of this world saxophone player Mats Gustafson, two female vocalists, bassist, two guitarists, drummer of funk and a mad keyboard/organ pouncer - this group literally sounded like a wild invasion of Huns.

The gig took place at a small venue simply called Jazzhouse. A somewhat stylish and cool little joint with ruby red colours ornamenting here and there, and a small plateau behind the main stage's sound booth, where people like me go for the best sound experience north of Cairo. I was there that night as well - ever so slightly above the sweating crowds just in front of the stage.

What hit me right from the get-go was the overwhelmingly powerful sound of Mats' saxophone. Holy sh*t! That thing sliced through the airwaves like a flying chainsaw. Rapping, tapping, roaring, tooting, screeching, bobbing, swooping elegantly and ferociously overhead.....and with that huge reed section in the back the feel of it all surpassed that of the old school big bands - even the ones that took their cue from the avantguarde like Sun Ra.

How does it feel attending one of these shows you might ask? Well imagine yourself in the midst of this giant bird cage. Surrounding you is a frantic horde of blackbirds on LSD trying to harmonize this utterly bewildering love song. It's groovy like sauce, psychedelic in a larval and sweaty kind of way and altogether rambunctious like an old Willy's Jeep navigating sheer bedrock.

The warmth of all these people packed into a rather small space - coupled together with a humid and hot summernight additionally made this into an extremely hot experience. I was already dripping with sweat after 10 minutes.
I could've stopped moving rhythmically to the beat, sure, but the driving groove and funk of this band persuaded me not to....or maybe that was the beers talking.

The two vocalists suddenly appear!! Wow I'd almost forgotten about them. They ooze into the music that by now has developed this earthy heartbeat and is moving forth almost by telepathic powers. Words that aren't words linger on the air and now they take us into the jungle with beautiful mumbojumbo and sensuous highpitched whispers. Oh my word I'm in love!

Speaking of women: I saw quite a few there as well as old people, hipsters, hippies and a fair few who obviously weren't aware of what they'd just stepped into. Damn that was funny!!! Looking at these terrified faces during a sudden burst of torturised horn is what I live for. There are other things as well, but that ranks high on my list.

I guess I am painting a picture of this looneybin outfit, but that is not at all what Fire! Orchestra is about. It's about feel and nerve. Improvisation within rehearsed grooves yet with a firm grip on things - always managing to sound together. If you're sitting out there with a hard on for jazz rock or just music that relies on reeds, then you've hit the motherload if these cats decides to swing by your neighbourhood.
It is one of the most rewarding live experiences I've ever had the pleasure of attending.

Two thirds into the gig Mats decides to do a Zappa. He starts conducting the remaining reed players into this cacophonous riff that in no way should work...but it does. It reaches around the music and cuts it up into little tiny pieces - all at the same time. Everyone's mesmerized. 'How did he just do that?'

Well it's music baby.



Edited by Guldbamsen - July 26 2015 at 16:49
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 26 2015 at 17:12
glad to hear no one was hurt!! LOLThumbs Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2015 at 09:29
I was....though only a bit. It was rather late into the show that I realised just how much dough I was dishing out for beers. Wow that was painfulLOL...........even more so the day after. 
“The Guide says there is an art to flying or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2015 at 15:29
LOLClap
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2015 at 15:39
Next Friday it's my turn. I'm going! Big smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2015 at 16:06
Fantastic SamuelClap

You won't regret it. I've been to a lot of shows in my life but none that felt like this. 

“The Guide says there is an art to flying or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2015 at 16:21
I'm sure I won't Smile Thanks for the review, it helped with the decision Thumbs Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2015 at 16:23
Always a pleasureSmile

(although looking back now, I wish I hadn't done it over the phone after a bottle of red wine, but yeah.....)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 07:29
The concert last night was amazing, one of the best live experiences ever! Big smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 07:51
I'm thrilled to hear that Samuel! I wish I could see them again right now actually.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 07:57
Me too. There was so much happening all the time, that I could watch the same concert over and over Tongue
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 07:59
How many musicians were there? Was it similar to the gig in Copenhagen or was it a smaller 'travel' crew if you will?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 08:04
There were 19 musicians, I think it's the full band.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 08:09
Sounds about right yeah. The only current band that tops this is the Finnish group Astro Can Caravan who actually plays music in a similar vein to Fire! Orchestra. Definitely worth checking out if you're into this kind of thing. Anyway if my memory serves me right I believe they're 22 members in the band - at least for their debut.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 08:26
I'll check them later, thanks! :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 08:29
Forgot to read this when I saw it the first time, Dave, and when I'd read it I forgot to comment. Great read! Thanks. Sounds like you had a grooovy time. Cool

And you too, Sam. Cool that you went to see them and had a ball. Haven't seen them yet myself, but I will if I get the chance. Sounds like an event too great to miss out on.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 08:32
Thanks Audun, I really appreciate it!

....and yes call me Nostradamus, but I am absolutely certain that you'd go completely apefeaces for this band live. They are a true force to be reckoned with.

“The Guide says there is an art to flying or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2015 at 09:04
^^ I hope you'll be able to see them Thumbs Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2015 at 04:43
ahh wow wish I'll be able to see them one day :O ever since you posted them here I'm addicted to "Exit"!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2015 at 05:24
Nice photo of the concert in Lisbon, they played on a beautiful garden in the middle of the city. The weather was cold (for a summer night) and windy, but they warmed up the place :P


Edited by Meltdowner - August 08 2015 at 05:34
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