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Friday, February 1, 2013

Hipsters, sound issues & Veronica Falls' vital indiepop

Veronica Falls (+ Univers). Sala BeCool, January 31st

Indiepop action. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The first concert attended on this 2013 was to see Veronica Falls debuting its new album, "Waiting for Something to Happen", in Barcelona. It's quite shocking to realise it's my fourth time watching the band in not even two years, but at the same time, quite understandable: their songs are among the most recognisable, enjoyable and playful that has been released in the last couple of years. Their music is contagious, vital.

The whole night started unpromising. A notorious delay, several hipster-cliches, with a new "annoying factor": the wannabe-photographers who doesn't give a damn of the people ahead of them, just for the sake of taking picture 1.000.001 in order to add another folder to store (in their ultra expensive MacBook Pro of course)... Ahem.... let's just focus on the music.

Univers at BeCool. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The support act was a very good choice, not very far from the London combo in terms of style, and also a very young band. Univers, with just a proper EP released, has enough to show a lot of promise. Like a poppier, less "in-your-face" version of Mujeres (the lead singer and guitarist is a member of that band), this is garage-pop with a serious hint for melodies that invite you to shake your body. I know that mumbling vocals is part of their style, but unfortunately sounding was average at best, at least from the front row, and you could only hear guitars and drums. In any case, an interesting discovery. Pretty sure won't be the last time I write about them.
Roxanne Clifford. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

After a not very exciting last-minute soundcheck, it was finally the time for Veronica Falls. From the very beginning, with "Right Side of My Brain", it was obvious something wasn't quite right. Too much volume on the bass, not a lot of space for vocals to shine, when they are a fundamental part of the band's sound, quickly revealed as a problem to solve. Roxanne in particular suffered from that situation, trying to arise her voice among the noise, singing quite a few false notes as a consequence. But she managed (she wasn't shy to ask for changes to the sound engineers either) to improve the sound quality of the gig as it developed.

The setlist. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
What about the new songs? As expected, Veronica Falls mixed their "young classics" with many of the tunes that comprise "Waiting for Something to Happen". "My Heart Beats" and "Broken Toy" suffered from the aforementioned "sound issues" but even despite that fact, we were listening perfect indiepop pills. The single "Teenage", played on the last section of the gig shone with pop grace. The same applies to the sweet "Buried Alive", reserved for the encore. But there were three new songs that, for me, were the stand-outs of the night. "Tell Me", with these chiming guitars, "Waiting for Something to Happen", the tune, and the mesmerizing "If You Still Want Me" (very careful with this song folks, very careful). So eager to listen fully and review the album.

The band in BCN. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Alongside newbies, the Londoners provided the audience the majority of winning cards they have (missed "The Fountain", personal favourite), like "Found Love in a Graveyard", "Bad Feeling", "Beachy Head", "Come On Over" or "Starry Eyes", that closed the gig. Overall, it wasn't the best of the live performances I have seen from them, but still. Seems that something, extremely good, is going to happen, with the new album from Veronica Falls. Again.

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