APTBS (lido, 23/09/13)

by juicyfrog

alongside an overabondance of sumptuous records, LPs and EPs, ear plugs are to be found on the merchandising table.
a mischievous smile appears on the frog face expressing an evident eagerness. the frog is even a bit afraid to loose an ear in this guitar battle.

yet the show opens with an indie and shoegaze band from the pond, called Suns of Thyme. the music of the four spick-and-span lads isn’t properly uninteresting, but the affected voice of Tobias Feltes (vocals, guitar) unfortunately spoils the frog’s enthusiasm. you know i hate criticizing things this way, but, if the voice displeases you, you have no chance to stuck to the music, would this latter sound promising.


so the wait is pretty unbearable (but will be highly rewarded) – until Oliver Ackermann (guitar, vocals) arrives. his gentle smile and wave don’t give any evidence of what is about to happen. Robi Gonzalez (drums) wears a splendid red bacardi-rhum-coca-cola t-shirt, which makes me feel like a gullible fool, happy to be in the middle of a tiny crowd made of many tattooed toads and weirdos. as Dion Lunadon (bass) appears like a rocket on the stage, he freezes the audience with his slightly threatening stare. observing his bass and Ackermann’s guitars, i naïvely wonder why there are so badly damaged and ponder how i got to know the band.

A Place to Bury Strangers, oh my, what a fantastic name.


guitars start hooting, and Ackermann’s emotionless voice opens a first ditty. my hands go to my ears straight away, checking out their perfect airtightness. i’m surprised to find them comfortably inserted and realise that this very evening will probably blow my mind. lush guitar sounds spread in the room and caught me up in a spiral of hesitations and questionings. it’s damn hard to understand how such a guitar sound can gush forth. um, Oliver Ackermann is also the founder of an effects pedal company in Brooklyn (who sells hand-wired pedals to NIИ among others!), but the sound power is definitely puzzling. it takes me a little while before i recover from this audio thud.

there’s no sign of kindness, warmth nor hope in APTBS’s thunderous music. it is as noisy as a rocket lift-off and ferocious as a train crash. this distorted, dirty (exquisite) wall of sound is impressive and goes beyond every thing i’ve seen until today. despite their music shows some incursions of shoegaze, you can’t escape it.

the three of them are like spellbound. Dion Lunadon slices through the stalls, holding his bass like a devil and twirling among us without missing a single note. when he decides to go back to the stage, he simply throws his bass at Robi Gonzalez’s feet. my goodness, this is pure madness.

guitars fly here and there, both Ackermann and Lunadon apparently enjoy smashing them down, whereas an over excited toad jumps regularly on the stage to demonstrate some mysterious hysteria. the crowd pogoes gently with a restrained violence, this bizarre and sticky atmosphere is however exhilarating.


yet, there comes a time when some poetry arises from the stage. Ackermann turns off the stage lights one by one and switches on a projector, from which appears a ballet dancer. her shadow reflects on the walls, on the ceiling and i wonder whether he wants to show us the path to the underworld or magnify an urgent need for slender beauty. the venue is plunged in darkness and she dances, dances, repeating the same sharp movement.

but no one should believe that the beast settled down. in a precise hastened gesture, the dancer vanishes and Oliver Ackermann falls on the floor to rub gently and patiently some stupid white light on his guitar cords, a malicious ray of light which burns our eyes. a devilish groan bursts suddenly from the guitar to finish us off.

when the light comes back finally, everyone appear dazed and confused, as if the tempest suddenly quietened down but was about to return.

if you don’t understand why, give it a try now.