The Place is a strange place indeed. It’s out of time, and it’s a bit out of place considering the kind of music we came to see. The Place is the venue which hosted the live show of Denise in Rome (11th Nov), an up-and-coming Italian band that roxy and I saw at MIAMI last year and really liked. They also happen to be friends of jodosha, as they’re from Salerno as well (I mean, don’t they ALL know each other there?). Denise, who is the singer, has a very peculiar voice, she sings in English, and brings you into a fantasy world which her band fellows help out to recreate on the fly.
Going back to The Place, it is a rather posh, black and red, not too big restaurant/venue which is half filled with candle-lit tables for the wealthy people, has big rough steps on a side for the plebes, and some pillow-covered seats in front of the stage for the nerds. I’m sure this division was not meant to be such, but it felt that it could have been the not-so-secret planning behind the mind of the interior designer.
While it probably works well for a jazz show, it is a bit weird to be in such a venue for an indie gig, but the contrast made it interesting, otherwise I wouldn’t have wasted so many words on it already. And I probably had the time to study the Place thoroughly, as somehow we thought that this time the gig would start before 11.30pm and came early. How foolish of us.
But now, back to the gig. Denise was preceded by a recently well-hyped (in the indie scene) singer-songwriter, Erica Mou, who was alone on the stage with her guitar (if we don’t consider the 5 photographers that seemed to be part of the package). And she managed to keep us entertained enough with her presence and her great voice. She’s very young and talented, even though she’s got some space for improvement, as after a while the songs seem to sound a bit too much alike, and the lyrics are a bit too “youthful” (at least for me, but maybe I’m old, or maybe she’s young). Good discovery, overall. I’ll keep an eye on her.
Then Denise came out with the full band, and The Place became suddenly brighter and happier. They’ve grown as a band since I’ve seen them last, and she’s grown as a frontwoman; more confident, more engaging, and still very peculiar and hard to forget. As I was mentioning before, Denise manage to bring you into their own fantasy world made of fairies, confetti and dancing trees. In a way they remind me of CocoRosie, but less weird and more cheerful, and of our LE-LI, but more upbeat and less nostalgic (LE-LI loves to perform a lot of well-adapted covers). In a few cases Denise even reminded me of The Cardigans somehow, the ones of Carnival and Erase and Rewind. Listening to the album later, Joanna Newsom came to my mind as well.
True, Denise’s pronunciation could be slightly improved, but their singing in English can definitely help them reach an international market (even though, let’s admit it, singing in Italian can be pretty hot too). In any case, awesome live show, and a brand new album (called Dodo, Do!) for a grown-up Denise, much awaited after a series of EPs which had good reviews in the indie scene. See them live and get the album if you’re looking for something refreshing and peculiar. Keep in mind that the album is more chilled than the live show. And if you get to see them at The Place, you might remember them even more.
Denise – Burning Flames