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Review: Katzenjammer, Manchester Sound Control
IT is hard to write objectively about a band you have seen three times in a week but I’ll try.
Katzenjammer are a quartet of multi-talented Norwegians with the on-stage energy of a horde of Vikings who have eaten too many M&Ms. They mix folk, rockabilly, country and rock and roll all with a unique twist.
It’s like watching a 1920s’ Berlin cabaret starring Josie and the Pussycats and produced by Tim Burton.
Their warm up act for this short UK tour was the singing beard that is Ben Caplan. If Jim Henson ever needs a model for a slightly deranged, eccentric folk singer then look no further. His brand of dark and humorous songs with plenty of yodelling sing-alongs was the perfect way to loosen up the crowd for what was to come.
For Katzenjammer newcomers the sight of the foursome swapping instruments between songs, trading lead vocals and serving up harmonies to die for is something of a revelation. Where else will you see the drummer break off to play a trumpet solo or someone play the accordion, harmonica and glockenspiel all at the same time?
But these are no party tricks. This is just a band that is unique.
Sadly Sound Control didn’t really live up to its name and much of the set was, for me, spoiled by a muddy and weak sound which really didn’t do the band justice When they did get the balance right, for example on the hauntingly beautiful God’s Great Dust Storm, an acapella number enhanced by a cannon like drum which threatened to rearrange your internal organs it even silenced the loudmouth behind me who had decided to talk through the whole show!
But not even a bad sound and my noisy neighbour could detract from the experience.
There aren’t many bands today with the capacity to make you smile throughout a gig and leave feeling that the world is a better place.
Put simply Katzenjammer are a glorious secret just waiting to be found. If you only discover one new band this year, make sure it’s them.