Archives for posts with tag: rome

Last year, while we were in New York for our series of events “Italians Do It Live” we met, through popular Italian blog NUOK, Valerio Piccolo, a talented singer/songwriter from Caserta who splits his time between Rome and New York. We went to see his show at Googie’s Lounge and were captured by the dreamy atmosphere that he was able to create.

Full time translator and part time artist, Valerio Piccolo started to collaborate with Suzanne Vega by translating her poetries, and he soon found himself playing as a supporting artist for her Italian shows, till they decided to work together on the sequel of one of her song, Freeze Tag. Valerio wanted to imagine what would happen to the protagonists of the song if they met 25 years later, so he wrote another song, called “Suono nell’Aria/Freeze Tag”, featuring Suzanne Vega herself, where he narrates, in Italian, such encounter. The song is part of Valerio’s latest EP which was released a couple of weeks ago and which he’s now promoting through a series of shows around Italy.

Valerio Piccolo’s new EP cover

He has already received a very good feedback from the public and the media, and his video for the single was premiered on Italian newspaper La Repubblica. Because we like his work and he’s grown to be a frestyl’s supporter, we’ve decided to join forces and organize a show here in Rome where he will perform his songs with other musicians in Trastevere, at Il Cantiere, on the 12th of July.

We would like to invite you all to this event, so that you’ll get to see Valerio performing in a rather cozy environment before he becomes big and famous, and we’ll take this as an opportunity to celebrate together the Roman summer. How does it sound?

:: the frestyl team


*note: this post has been updated: see bottom for details!*

You can’t avoid noticing the posters for their events here in Rome. Their graphics are loud, fun and beg for your attention. IAM SEXTEEN is the name of a group of creative kids who regularly organize big, themed parties, usually at the venue Rising Love. Clearly their mission is to make you have fun and enjoy themselves in the meantime. We’ve already mentioned that for other promoters like FrigoPop and La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa, one of the biggest motivations for organizing music events here in Rome is to give people a bit of hedonistic pleasure. But what else did you expect? Rome lives up to its stereotypes! Who can blame these kids, though, especially at a time where the cultural and political atmosphere is particularly depressing and gloomy.

Two of IAM SEXTEEN posters

The themes of the IAM SEXTEEN parties range from Fashion Victim vs. Zoolander to Disco Casalinga (Disco Housewife) to Soap Opera. They put together a massive set of colorful, funny photos and videos for every party they throw, and ask everyone to dress up according to the theme in the most ridiculous way possible. All of the madness is accompanied by a soundtrack provided by a group of local, electro-pop DJs.

Now that the “indoor” music season is very close to an end and most Roman venues are about to take their summer vacations, the IAM SEXTEEN parties are moving to the seaside and will be held in Ostia at the Open Bar every Saturday from the 28th of May till the end of July. Summer, sea and a fun party seems like a great combo, just what the youth need in the Capital!

As we’ve been talking to these guys over the past few months and have admired what they’ve been doing, we’ve all decided that it was smart idea to partner up and we’re pleased to announce that frestyl will support, with all its might, this summer program of IAM SEXTEEN.

We’ll be putting together a VIP list where all people who attend the IAS events on frestyl will receive special treatment. You’ll get to skip the queue at the entrance and some of you might even score some IAS schwag. Remember, the first party is coming up this coming SATURDAY!!!

Any objections?

Other two IAM SEXTEEN posters


Se siete di Roma o siete passati di qui, tra i mille poster di eventi musicali che tappezzano i muri della città ne avrete forse notati alcuni che si distinguono dalla massa: sono colorati, divertenti, hanno un design particolarmente accattivante e sono targati IAM SEXTEEN.

Ho sempre ammirato i ragazzi di IAM SEXTEEN, perchè mi piace la loro grafica e loro filosofia, perché se uno fa dei party a tema deve farli bene come li fanno loro, e perché mi sembra che riescano sia a far divertire che a divertirsi, e non è poco.

E ora che a Roma la stagione musicale “al chiuso” sta per finire e tutti i locali chiudono, sarebbe stato un peccato che finissero anche i party di IAS perché anche d’inverno hanno quel sapore intrinseco d’estate e di sole. E infatti non finiscono. Si spostano solo al mare, dove ha senso che siano, in fondo! A partire da questo sabato fino ad arrivare a Luglio inoltrato dunque i ragazzi daranno a noi cittadini un’occasione per scappare dalle grinfie del cemento infuocato e immergerci nella magia IAM SEXTEEN fatta di musica e colori.

Dato che ci piace quello che fanno e a loro piace quello che facciamo noi abbiamo deciso di metterci insieme per l’estate, per cui seguiremo e supporteremo i loro party, vi consiglieremo di andarci, e se farete l’attend ai loro eventi vi metteremo nella lista frestyl che non solo vi farà saltare la fila ma vi darà la possibilità di avere qualcuno dei preziosi gadget che i ragazzi faranno apposta per le serate.

Promo video for the SEXTEEN SUMMER VILLAGE

Il primo evento, è sabato, 28 Maggio, all’Open Bar di Ostia. E questo è quello che vi attende:

“Dancefllor a bordopiscina, un’happy area con set fotografico ed il nostro idiot corner con i costumi e gli oggetti più stravaganti, un area make up, zucchero filato per tutti, performances, bolle di sapone, giocoleria e tante altre sorprese vi attendono!”

Dunque segnatevelo. E fate l’attend su frestyl per entrare in lista.

Qualche obiezione?

:: karmanet

*UPDATE – 16th June*
IAM SEXTEEN summer party will take place from now on in another location: Bar degli Illuminati, every thursday, with free entry – keep checking their frestyl page!

Iori’s Eyes is a duo from Milan that I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while now. deadroxy and I saw them first at MI AMI two years ago and she was the one who insisted we didn’t miss them among all the other bands. The first time I was not too impressed I have to say, but playing on a big stage in the daylight is not the best set up for them, I think.

When I got their first EP though, And everything fits in the yellow whale, I fell in love straight away. They reminded me a lot of Electric President, with chilled out electronic songs accompanied by a sweet male voice. What struck me was that their recorded material was impressively different from their live show.

Cover of the EP Everything fits in the yellow whale. In both their EPs Iori’s Eyes have included several pages of original artwork by emerging illustrators.

So I wanted to see Iori’s Eyes playing again, and I ended up seeing them a total of 4 times. Every time it has been a different show, with the two of them, Clod and Sofia, either playing alone or with a drummer, who seems to change every time, reinterpreting the songs in different ways, sometimes turning them into ballads, sometimes making them sound almost punk rock and other times adding more an electronic feeling to them, similar to their recorded version. It’s like they’re either experimenting all the time with their live performance or are really afraid to bore the audience, and in either case it’s fine and I respect them for that.

2/3 of Iori’s Eyes at Le Mura

When we saw them last year, supporting JJ at Dimmidisì, they were more low profile and chilled out, while this year, at Le Mura, fresh from their second EP Matter of Time, they pulled out a much more energetic show. I have to say this last drummer was really adding an edge to the concert, overall much more fluid and varied than all the previous ones, to demonstrate that the band has come a long way since we first saw them a couple of years ago. Now we’re waiting for their first LP, coming out in the fall apparently, and I’ll be curious to see what kind of show they have in store next time.

2nd of the 3 videos Iori’s Eyes made for “Matter of Time”


When you enter Mads, a club here in Rome, during one of the nights called La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa, you realize straight away that it’s not just another live music event. It’s more like a well-curated party, a themed party, a visual and sonic experience. For the specific event I went to, on the 17th of December 2010, Mads was decorated in pin-up style, with old videos of pin-up girls and pictures that could easily fall in the soft-porn category. It was supposed to create a strong effect, and to catch the audience’s attention, clearly. And it did catch mine.

We missed the first band playing, The Sadside Project, but managed to see The Leggins, an Italian band of very young but confident rockers who were able to entertain the audience and make the crowd dance during the whole show. And the atmosphere of the event was completely cheerful, it seemed that many people knew each other already, and again there was this feeling of it being at a big party, or better yet a gathering, a must-attend monthly meeting. Two live bands and dancing with the resident DJs all night long, that’s basically the format of the night.

La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa is one of a few series of events in Rome that are focused on emerging Italian music, trying to raise the awareness of the good music that is produced in my home country but that rarely gets played on the main broadcasting media or becomes known at an international level. The guys behind this particular project are very young and motivated, active especially within the network of La Sapienza, the main university here in Rome. These guys have also been very enthusiastic toward frestyl since the beginning, supporting our project and believing in us. That is flattering, really.

Logo of La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa

So I wanted to know more about La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa and interviewed one of the event organizers, Davide Caucci, who’s been brave enough to reply both in English and in Italian.

La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa (LTFMA) means “Your F***ing Aternative Music” – interesting name for an event. Why did you decide to call it that?

Interesting isn’t it? The story is rather long and absurd, but basically we were doing an advertising for a recording studio that produces low-cost demos for emerging bands, and our target were high-school students, so we thought of designing a flyer as big as 12x12cm [editor’s note: thats 4.7 inches squared for our American friends] which resembled a CD cover and which had on it “LA TUA FOTTUTA MUSICA” (“YOUR F***ING MUSIC”). The flyer was rejected by the studio’s responsible who didn’t want to have a bad word on their advertising. It was like a flash for us. The more they disliked it the more we liked it. We then added “ALTERNATIVA” (“ALTERNATIVE”) to the title because that was the kind of music we had in mind, and at that stage it was about exaggerating, about pushing it further, going against everyone and against the machine. We were sick and tired of events that had strange acronyms or buzz English words to sound international. We wanted to value our slang, our everyday language, the same way we wanted to value our music.

When did you start organizing these events and what made you and your friends decide to start a series of events like these in the first place?

I already had some experience in organizing events for RadioSapienza, the university web radio of La Sapienza, for which we were doing an event called INDIeFFERENT with live radio speaking, live painting, dj-sets and live music. When we created the collective Polimorfo, it seemed right and natural for me to bring my skills and my know-how as event organizer to this overall creative experience. At the beginning we were doing the events on Sunday nights with donations from the audience and local bands who were performing for free because the liked the event and the idea behind it. I’m happy to say that many of those bands became more known thanks to the events and the videos we did during them.

I noticed that you have different themes for the night, how do you choose the theme each time?

You got the point. We like to have a different theme for each event. This year we started with Porno Vintage, linked to a 70’s rock imaginary, but then we get bored of it because we felt like being one of those advertisements with Belen Rodriguez [editor’s note: I didn’t know who she was either, Wikipedia to the rescue], which are emptied from any meaning and filled with t*ts only. So our flyers now are quite minimalist, made only with colors and symbols. It’s about creating suggestions that we can then communicate to our audience. We don’t care about standard and commercially-driven advertisement, but prefer to fill the city and our clubs with peculiar visual stimuli, which are food for thought. Personally I think that the world could be a better place if people spent a bit more time at home thinking and producing good ideas.

How do you choose the bands to invite?

We simply choose them by listening to them. If it’s impossible for us to see them live, we check them out on MySpace or other social networks. The overall idea is to bring the best independent Italian music to Rome for the first time. We did it for bands like Plastic Made Sofa, Criminal Jokers or Dance For Burgess, which are now known at a European level. Right now that things are going well for the project, we’re attracting bigger names, but never really famous bands. Famous bands don’t need us and we don’t need them.

What do you think of the current state of emerging music in Italy? Has something changed? Is the situation evolving?

We mourn the death of MtvBrandNew, the TV program on MTV Italy which died exactly a month after launching a new format called “La Nuova Musica Italiana” (“The New Italian Music”). If you try typing “Indie Rock” on, you’ll get on top of the search results the Italian website, which decided a year ago to stop reviewing Italian bands. The Traffic club, one of the top venues in Rome for independent local music, was forced to close down because of night noises. I just learned today that Rocketta, a booking agency from South Italy, doesn’t exist anymore because it was impossible for them to find live clubs willing to have bands playing during weekdays. Generally speaking, however, the situation is better in North Italy for emerging Italian music. I personally think that an Italian emerging music scene exists in quantity and quality, but it also seems clear to me that it has no economic relevance, if we compare it to the established music scene.

Why do you think that we, as Italians, are not very good at exporting the good music we have?

I don’t know and actually I’d like to know. People around the world like and import our food, they love our pasta. But maybe they think we’re not the best at making music?

Do you think events like LTFMA increase the awareness of good emerging bands?

Of course, I think that our activities and events help to shake something, to make some noise. I’m glad when I see people the next day linking and posting on Facebook the songs of the bands that played the night before, at our event. When I brought Criminal Jokers to Rome, we had three mutual friends on Facebook, the next day our mutual friends were 40. It’s all right, then.

Your events are organized through a collective called Polimorfo, can you tell us a bit about it?

Guido Chiefalo, Lorenzo Muto and myself are Polimorfo’s founders. It’s an abstract concept which takes shape every day, and every day is being re-defined again. Apart from the LTFMA event, we produce low cost videos for emerging bands and we involve our circle of friends and professionals (I have to thank Alessandro, Ele and Fabrizio) to help us make the collective progressively evolve. Now we have the website with some cool things on it, but it’s still a work in progress.

Logo of Il Polimorfo

I have to say that overall I’m a bit more optimistic than Davide about the growth of independent music in Italy, if for no other reason than the enthusiasm of the organizers of LTFMA, people like them, and the crowd that gathers at their events. I think it’s promising, although I definitely can agree on the current state of mass media. It is still not giving enough voice to these trends in Italy. Let’s see what happens next. We surely hope to contribute to make a difference too, here at frestyl.

But for now, I’m rather curious to check out the new minimalist style of the events of LTFMA. And I’m also looking forward to see again the band, Thank You For The Drum Machine, that will play at their next event (together with Dr Panico). I’ve seen them playing at MEI (the main gathering for independent music in Italy) and among the hundreds (they have concerts of emerging bands for 3 full days on 4 stages) they were one of the few that made an impact on my memory (I’m also a big fan of electro-rock/electro-pop). Indeed, Thank You For The Drum Machine have also been recently selected to play at an MTV show in NYC and Los Angeles (called Hitweek) with other more famous Italian musicians (such as Elisa).

So if you’re in Rome on the 11th of Feb then you can’t miss the next party of La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa, nor you can miss the opportunity to see Thank You For The Drum Machine playing live (OMG these long titles are killing me though!!).

Thank You For The Drum Machine – Back To Rock

For all of our Italian-speaking readers we’ve also included a transcript of the interview in Italian below. If you don’t know the language feel free to check out this tutorial before trying to read the interview:

Ok, questo sarà il nostro primo (mezzo) post in italiano, dato che abbiamo intervistato Davide Caucci di La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa, evento mensile che si tiene a Roma, al Mads di San Lorenzo, con band italiane emergenti, e lui (Davide) ci ha risposto sia in inglese che in italiano (wow!).

“La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa” (LTFMA)…nome interessante per un evento. Da dove è saltato fuori?

Interessante vero? La storia è lunga quanto assurda. Stavamo facendo una pubblicità per uno studio di registrazione che faceva demo low cost per gruppi emergentissimi, il nostro target di riferimento erano i liceali e così venne fuori un volantino 12×12 come fosse la copertina di un cd con su scritto “LA TUA FOTTUTA MUSICA”.

Poi il volantino venne bocciato dai responsabili dello studio che non gradivano ci fosse una parolaccia sulle loro pubblicità. Fu come un lampo. Meno piaceva a loro e più piaceva a noi. Ci abbiamo messo sopra “ALTERNATIVA” perchè di quello si trattava, di esagerare, di andare ancora di più contro tutti, contro gli schemi. Eravamo saturi di serate con strani acronimi o facili inglesismi. Volevamo valorizzare il nostro gergo come vogliamo valorizzare la nostra musica.

Quando avete cominciato ad organizzare questi eventi e cosa vi ha portato a farlo?

Io avevo avuto una minima esperienza di eventi già con Radiosapienza, la radio dell’Università, facevamo una serata chiamata INDIeFFERENT con radio dal vivo, estemporanee, dj set e musica dal vivo.

Quando è nato Polimorfo mi è sembrato giusto e naturale portare le mie competenze e il mio know how all’interno di questa realtà creativa superiore.

Facevamo serate la Domenica a ingresso a sottoscrizione volontaria con soli gruppi di Roma che si esibivano gratis perchè sposavano la causa. Sono contento di poter dire che molti di loro sono cresciuti insieme alla serata o ai nostri video.

Ho notato che avete un tema diverso per ogni serata. Come scegliete il tema ogni volta?

Esatto. ci piace legare un tema ad ogni serata. Quest’anno abbiamo iniziato con il porno vintage legato ad un immaginario rockeroll anni 70 ma poi ci siamo stufati e ci siamo sentiti come una di quelle pubblicità dove mettono Belen Rodriguez con le tette di fuori ma non dicono nulla. Ora le nostre locandine sono colori e segni. Sono suggestioni che ricreiamo al nostro interno. Non ci piace fare delle pubblicità così legate al commercio e preferiamo riempire la città e allestire i nostri locali con “stimoli visivi” che possano generare pensiero. Personalmente credo che il mondo sarebbe un posto migliore se la gente se ne stesse a casa a pensare e farsi venire buone idee.

Come scegliete le band italiane che invitate ai vostri eventi?

Sentendole. Se non è possibile dal vivo almeno su myspace e i suoi derivati. L’idea generale è portare a Roma il meglio della musica indipendente italiana per la prima volta. Come è accaduto con Plastic Made Sofa, Criminal Jokers o Dance For Burgess che ora sono band di livello Europeo. Adesso che la cosa cresce e abbiamo qualche soldino in più stiamo prendendo nomi più grandi ma mai troppo famosi. I gruppi famosi non hanno bisogno di noi e noi non abbiamo bisogno di loro.

Cosa ne pensi della situazione attuale della musica italiana indipendente? E’ cambiato qualcosa? Sta cambiando?

Piangiamo la morte di MtvBrandNew. Canale finito da circa un mese dopo aver sperimentato il format “La Nuova Musica Italiana”. Se scrivi indie rock su google ti esce il portale che da circa un anno ha deciso di non recensire più gruppi italiani. A Roma hanno fatto chiudere il Traffic a via vacuna, storico club, per motivi di romuri notturni. Proprio oggi mi dicono che “Rocketta” che organizzava tour al sud Italia non esiste più perchè non riusciva a trovare locali aperti anche in mezzo alla settimana per sistemare i day off delle band, non ne sono sicuro e spero che non sia vero francamente. In generale dalla Toscana in su stanno messi meglio.
Detto questo la scena italiana esiste come quantità e qualità di musica prodotta, ma mi sembra evidente che non abbia una rilevanza economica.

Criminal Jokers – This Was Supposed to Be the Future

Come mai noi italiani non siamo molto bravi ad esportare la musica buona che produciamo?

Non lo so e vorrei saperlo. Tutti comprano e mangiano la nostra pasta. Siamo i migliori a fare la pasta da sempre. Evidentemente non siamo i migliori a fare la musica.

Pensi che serate come quelle di LTFMA aumentino la consapevolezza del pubblico nei confronti della musica indipendente?

Certamente, noi nel nostro piccolo ci sbattiamo, muoviamo le acque. Sono contento quando vedo il giorno dopo l’evento gente che si passa su facebook i link delle band della sera prima. Quando ho portato i Criminal Jokers avevamo 3 amici in comune il giorno dopo 40 circa. Va bene così.

Gli eventi di LTFMA sono organizzati dal collettivo Polimorfo di cui fai parte. Ci racconti qualcosa a riguardo?

Io, Guido Chiefalo e Lorenzo Muto siamo i fondatori del Polimorfo. Concetto astratto che per definizione può assumere più forme e ridiscutersi tutti i giorni. Oltre alle sera ora produciamo videoclip low cost per gruppi emergenti e raccogliamo intorno a noi professionisti e amici (devo ringraziare alessandro ele e fabrizio) che ci danno una mano a portare avanti la cosa. Da oggi abbiamo un sito con un po di belle storie su

Da non perdere dunque il prossimo evento di La Tua Fottuta Musica Alternativa, al Mads di Roma l’11 Febbraio con i Thank You For The Drum Machine, una band di cui posso confermare il potenziale dato che li ho visti al MEI dell’anno scorso e mi hanno davvero colpito (beh questo per chi si fida dei miei gusti naturalmente!)

Minimalist style poster for the next event of LTFMA (check out the frestyl logo in there!)


My ability of dragging people to concerts seemed to be somewhat depleted. Maybe because it was a Monday (13th December) when Amycanbe came to play here in Rome, at Dimmidisì, and perhaps Monday is not the ideal day for a night out for most people. But that didn’t stop me!

I have to admit that I didn’t know this band before they signed up to frestyl, but I have been admiring how active they are not only on frestyl (thumbs up!) but on many other social networks. They’re getting the word out about themselves to the web2.0 crowd, that’s for sure.

So even though I didn’t know much about Amycanbe, their dedication to the internet made me curious. I wasn’t even sure what sort of music they played and I was a bit on guard as there are certain music genres I’m not a huge fan of (hmmm…heavy metal? nothing against it…). Anyway, I checked out their MySpace just a couple of hours before the show, and I was pleasantly surprised: I couldn’t stop listening to their first song in the playlist (which is still my favourite), “The Song Of Matthew And Mark”. I also realized not long before that there was gonna be a supporting band to Amycanbe, the Romans “I Quartieri“, a name which I remembered from one of the Rockit compilations (they have badly-tagged but free monthly compilations of Italian indie music on their website).

So there I go, by myself (after failing to convince deadroxy and lamanu to tag along) to Dimmidisì (which is actually down the road from my flat). I do like this place (roxy and I came to see Iori’s Eyes and JJ a few months ago), which has the right size and atmosphere to enjoy a chilled out live music show. The only thing that was a bit too detracting was a huge projection with silent b&w movies in the middle of the venue.

Not long after I got there I Quartieri started playing, announcing that their drummer was missing that night. But that was fine as the bassist took his role temporarily. I quite enjoyed their show, even if their songs started to sound a bit similar after a while (it happens quite a lot with Italian bands these days, even good ones!), and a bit too depressing as well. More than depressing I should say “emo” perhaps, even if I’m not an expert of the genre. But you know what I mean, songs about suffering from love, loving despite suffering, and other variations on the topic. I have to admit though that the lyrics were well written, and, on top of that, it was pleasant to watch I Quartieri singing as the singer/frontman is quite an attractive young man (damn I sound old!) even if a bit nerdy (but it did fit the style).

I Quartieri @ Dimmidisì

It was like if you had a cute boyfriend who was a bit too deep and sensitive and after you dumped him ’cause you couldn’t stand it anymore he started writing songs about you and became famous, and now you see him surrounded by loving girl fans and feel a bit jealous and regretful, but also hopeful that he’s still suffering because of you (wow I got far with my imagination this time). At times I Quartieri reminded me of the romantic side of Radiohead (the “Creep” side, let’s say), perhaps even as the singer looks a bit like Jonny Greenwood. Anyway, 42 Records, one of best indie labels for talent scouting Italian bands, saw the potential in I Quartieri and produced their first EP. I suggest checking out the song “Confessioni di un artista di merda” (the title is emo itself!), which sounds ike an odd but nice remake of “Agosto” by Perturbazione.

I Quartieri: Confessioni di un a.d.m. (Watch out! The person in the video is not the singer!)

Later our Amycanbe came on stage, 3 men and a restless girl with a beautiful voice, all playing a variety of instruments. The sound was a bit loud, but they delivered a good show nevertheless, varied and pleasant. What most frustrated me about them (but in a good way) is that I couldn’t fit them in any music genre. They reminded me of electronic bands like Lali Puna and Ms. John Soda, but a lot less electronic and a lot more folky. A few other songs even reminded me of Calexico, with almost South American sounds. I took it as as a good sign that I couldn’t label them, as it shows their originality, even in mixing or reinterpreting existing styles and genres.

Amycanbe @ Dimmidisì

Amycanbe sound extremely international, and, at the same time, somehow follow a small trend of Italian bands that recreate very dreamy and fantasy-like atmospheres (such as Denise and LE-LI). This might prove that Italy is starting to accept and appreciate bands that are trying to reach a broader audience but still develop a rather unique style. Still, although Amycanbe is picking up now in Italy, the band was first signed up in the UK by Dancing Turtle Records and only a couple of years later managed to get their first (and double) album produced in Italy by the digital label Sounday (one of the Italian music startups we recently befriended). “Being a Grown-Up sure is Complicated” is a double, very nice album, once again (see my take on Denise) more chilled out than the live show, but it’s better this way, right? I really enjoyed their concert and was happy to come and support them. It was their last date of the tour, but they’ll come back to Rome in February (12th to be precise, at Closer Live, ex Traffic), so you’ll have another opportunity to see them here in the Capital (check out their full schedule on their frestyl profile for other dates!). You should also keep an eye to the other music project of their singer Francesca Amati, Comaneci, another Italian band very international and pleasant to listen to, coming to play in Rome next week at Fanfulla 101!

Amycabe: Killer Bees

UPDATE:: The guys from Fusoradio rightly pointed out that they were the ones organizing this night, so we should give them some credit for it! Basically Fusoradio is an Internet radio from Rome which is supporting a lot of Italian emerging bands through their radio show and music night called “IndiePatici”. You should check it out!

:: karmanet

On the 20th of November I went to Locanda Atlantide to see Musicamanovella, a band produced by my friend Saverio Mancino of ProArt Lab (which hosted, not long ago, its first music camp, “Mind in Sound“, where we presented frestyl). It also happens that the band is from Saverio’s hometown in Basilicata, a place called Pignola.

Musicamanovella came up on stage with a 10-piece band (including a funny/fake conductor). Good thing that Locanda Atlantide has a stage which is big enough to fit bands of such size. From the start it became clear that it was going to be quite an entertaining show, happening, once again, in a quite unusual setting for the music being played (see my last review of Denise & Erica Mou @ The Place). Musicamanovella is clearly a band that has done a good amount of “training” in village fairs and weddings – the ones happening in South Italy, if you can picture them, full of people singing, dancing, and drinking till dawn. You get the idea.

Fast-paced ethnic/folk music, interlaced with jokes and anecdotes from the frontman Rocco. Songs of life and love, with a bittersweet and sarcastic take on human existence itself. Actually, the lyrics mainly seemed to be centred around the “unbearable lightness of being” a man nowadays. But it was bittersweet, with the lyrics accompanied by a rather upbeat and happy music. So much that, a couple of songs in the show, everyone was already dancing, like we were really at a summer village fair or a wedding.

It was quite entertaining, from my perspective, to see Locanda Atlantide, a place that I’ve usually seen full of Italian left-wing hipsters (the last gig I saw there was Noah and The Whale), quite composed in their chilled out way of approaching nightlife (smoking and drinking is still considered chilled, yes), loosening and lighting up with ethnic music and collective dances. It made me want to be outside, though. It made me want to feel the summer breeze around.

Anyway, Musicamanovella is definitely a band to see live. You can try to ask them to play at your wedding if you want to make people dance, but it might be too late now, as they’re getting bigger…

Musicamanovella, playing outside.

:: karmanet

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.

Erica Mou @ The Place

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.

Denise @ The Place

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

:: karmanet