Smogus - Live&Unplugged
I was aware of this release for quite a while. Why? Because Smogus is a great band from my hometown (Sassenheim) and I’m really proud of that. Though, I haven’t been to the release party of this DVD and I didn’t even buy it. What a shame! I’m sorry guys. But then there was a big surprise for me. Metalrage.com receive the DVD in the mailbox and I immediately made this DVD mine for a review. Curious as I was I put it in the player right after I received it.
Ok, I gotta admit something before I even start this review. I wasn’t really happy with the fact that this DVD is a live & unplugged one. Why not? Because Smogus plays some really cool music and I was a bit disappointed when I found out that they hardly play any normal gigs nowadays. Most of the gigs are acoustic and although I knew (and liked) some of those songs, I still thought it was a pity that they focused on an other target group with their acoustic sets. This DVD changed my mind…
This set is played at dance saloon In Casa in Leiden. Therefore there were a lot of local Smogus fans/family able to come and see the show. That’s a wise decision! The shows gets something extra because of that and you can see the band obviously enjoys every f*cking second of the set. And that can only add something to such a special show. I’m not bullshitting you when I tell you I watched a big part of this show with a big smile on my face. Not only because the band enjoyed the show so much, also because of the great songs they play. Man! Was I wrong when I thought Smogus could better focus on their normal music. This set is in one word AWESOME!
It’s obvious that the band put a lot of time in this set. They’ve added some instruments (see Guest appearances below the review) to their normal repertoire, which can only be described as great additions to an even greater set. Especially the flute parts on the DVD gave the whole thing a Manu Chao alike sound. And by saying that I immediately arrived by the main description for this set. Imagine the normal Smogus, combined with Manu Chao and lots of happy tunes and there you have it! Smogus Live & Unplugged.
Now before I get over to the next part of this DVD I’d like to mention one minor thing of this part of the DVD; the crowd shots. I’m sorry guys but I really think you should have left the biggest part of those shots out. They’re bad quality shots (and yeah, also worth to mention, this DVD is shot by amateurs so don’t be too critical!) and I’d rather see the band playing than some vague figures moving their asses around in the venue. All in all it doesn’t spoil the great feeling that sticks with me while looking at this set.
And this is the biggest surprise of the DVD for me. A normal gig of Smogus. Now that’s not really something you’d expect on a Live & Unplugged DVD do you?! Well, Smogus did it and I can only thank them for that. A short but powerful set is given away and although the crowd is a bit tame in the beginning, frontman (in my opinion he’s the frontman without a doubt) and rapper YB shouts out his lungs to get the crowd moving. This man really convinced me of his artistic skills (no offence to the others!) and I can only give him my compliments for the energy and joy he puts into every set. Smogus Live @ Paradiso might not be as great as the Live & Unplugged set, it sure kicks ass and it’s definitely something that should be on the DVD. So far so good! Let’s see what else we can find on this –already worth the money- Smogus disc. Ah…the history of Smogus unplugged. Let’s take a look shall we?
This small documentary starts in 2002. Again, a surprise for me because I didn’t know Smogus was playing acoustic music that long. In that very same year they played two acoustic songs on the radio (3FM show) and it appeared to be something they’re still doing now. The next year Smogus rented a house in Belgium and changed it into a studio where they were able to spend more time on their acoustic set.
It’s 2004. Smogus gets to play more acoustic sets and they’re getting more and more fun in doing this. Then it’s June 11th, 2005. The day of the recording sessions. Smogus is about to make their first DVD recordings and it turns out to be a great show.
All in all this documentary contains quite some humour and it’s really interesting to see these guys building up their acoustic skills from the very beginning. The only minor of this part: (again) the video quality. Don’t let it spoil your fun! Neither did I.
Not a really necessary part of the DVD but what the hell…maybe you’ll like it!
One think became very clear to me. Smogus has made something really special and something every fan should own. Two gigs, a documentary and a photo gallery with some good quality pics in it. I’d say: check this shit out ‘cause it’s definitely worth your money!
Dani – Vocals/Trumpet
YB – Raps/Vocals
Jay – Guitars
Arnd-H – Guitars/Background Vocals
Baxy – Bass/Double bass
SEH! – Drums
Willem Driebergen – Accordeon/Melodica/Keyboard
Jelle Hooimeijer – Percussion
Annemieke Luijk – Flute/Background Vocals
01. Last Time
02. Move On
03. Let Me Be
04. Just For Me
05. The Game
06. Good Intentions
08. Act It
09. Time Out
10. Changing Fate
11. Don’t Care
12. Flush Your Life
13. This Is Who We Are
02. Stop Running
03. Don’t Care
04. Last Time
06. Time Out
07. Just For Me
08. Let Me Be
09. Flush Your Life
10. Changing Fate
11. This Is Who We Are