SNOWAPPLE AT THE SLAUGHTERED LAMB, CLERKENWELL, LONDON 6TH FEBRUARY 2015
Two years ago in Islington, three tall Dutch girls are performing. They call themselves Snowapple, the show is great so I buy the CD, this was their first album. Once home I realise that the CD I bought really beats expectations, the melodies are rich and the songs intelligent and well produced. Two years later I still play this album regularly. About 3 weeks ago, my favorite e-place to discover new music talents, a Dutch website (total coincidence) called Luisterpaal (http://3voor12.vpro.nl/luisterpaal.html) , is streaming a new album by Snowapple, “Illusion”. I click on it and fear the worse, ie same kind of songs but less good. But then again the album is absolutely superb, with a great variety of styles but a strong unity within the album, so a real album basically. All augured very well for a series of great gigs in the UK (http://www.snowapple.nl/agenda.php). On Friday the 6th it was at the Slaughtered Lamb, in London Clerkenwell. Snowapple arrives on stage, all dressed up by a Dutch designer who is touring with them, and they really look great. Straight away before they play any note you sense they went into serious efforts to give high quality entertainment to their audience. With them come on stage a guitarist, a bass player and a drummer. After giving them a more detailed look, I realise that I recognize two of the girls but not the third one. A fan next to me tips me in, she is the new girl, Laura.
They start with the first song of the new album – Small Stone- which you can listen on their website. Very infectious song and the treatment on stage is more than the marvellous rendition of what is on the record, it really lives and breathes. And that makes you remember why you bother going out to listen to people playing. I try to compare with their performance two years ago; a quick word with the fan next to me, yes we agree, they have matured a lot and really master the stage now. Laura, freshly integrated in the group, fits with Una and Laurien very naturally, as is she had always been singing with them. I found out that actually they had very little time to perfect their act since she joined the group, which confirms what you see on stage, a high sense of musicality. They do another couple songs from the new album. This time their performance is not great, it just blows me and people at the gig away, even better than the record. The performance is at the same time intricate, super tight, effortless, as well as magical meanwhile they seem very happy to be there sharing their songs with us. Yes they universe is sophisticated but unpretentious and definitely welcoming. The genre of their music clearly borrows a lot from folk music, or even neo folk (they do not mind talking about CocoRosie…), but the vocals evoke the perfect harmonies from post war girls trios. The combination of those two key influences, and there are many others, is clearly enticing and the audience is under their spell. Then they play from their debut album a French song that if she was still alive Edith Piaf would have killed to have it. I have to ask them later if it is actually a song that was written for Piaf. No, Laurien says, a French friend of ours wrote it for us. It strikes me that what makes Snowapple so refreshing is their empathy for other cultures, which reflects in their inspirations and encounters with other artists. The rest of the gig is all as charming and captivating, and most people still have a grin on their face when they leave the venue. Someone just talked to their intelligence and reached their souls,
Reviewed by Cedric Torossain | Pictures by Tony Bartolo