Last Monday I’ve had a last minute invitation for the Freak Kitchen gig at La Maroquinerie (Paris, France)… Awesome thing as I missed every single gig they’ve performed in my area since 2003 (I really don’t know how and why I managed to do so?). So, when I got invited, I just thought “hell yeah I wouldn’t miss that one… Oh fuck yes I’m going…”
20.00… Right on time to meet my buddy Pierre from La Chaîne Guitare (The Guitar Channel podcast)!! Quick hello and so we’re heading to the venue… The support band has just started rumblin’!! No time out, straight to the point!
Alive Inc… (www.aliveinc.net for tour dates and some music)
I have to admit that I’ve never heard of Alive Inc before that night. This French trio from Marseille is opening for Freak Kitchen on all the concerts of the French part of the Tour of the Freaks. Their heavy metal music is rather good, and it is played with a lot conviction by this band that has a strong stage presence, and is happy to be here! When the band is happy, the audience can’t be bored. And believe you me, I really enjoyed Alive Inc music that is somewhat related to Freak Kitchen’s music as they don’t hesitate to blend a lot of influences. Surprisingly, one of the finest moments was a cover of a hit from the late 80s: Tears for Fears’ Sowing the Seeds of Love. Though I carefully avoided that song back in those days, their metal cover was very enjoyable. Music works in mysterious ways! Information for the guitar geeks who hang around here, Tyler (guitar, vocals) is the first guitarist I’ve ever seen playing a whole set with a Variax from Line 6. And the best part is that it took almost half an hour to figure it out! I really hope that this band will make its way in the music business, and that will have an international audience!
21.00… Here is the break… Some kind of techno dance music is playing through the speakers.Just a couple minutes to chat with Pierre about how well is doing La Chaîne Guitare, about his experience with a Gibson Les Paul Pearly Gates he had for a couple of weeks, and to remind me that he won the Rittenhouse giveaway around last Christmas (I have to admit that I shed a tear… once again!!)
Freak Kitchen… (www.freakkitchen.com for tour dates)
A sampled sequence announces that the band is about to enter the stage! So many years missing their gigs, and here I am!! Let’s go for almost 2 hours of music from the craziest Swedish band ever, or maybe this is the craziest Metal band ever. The most amazing thing with Mattias IA Eklundh is that virtuosity and rhythm compexity are serving real songs. The man could easily hook up an audience with instrumental music but he prefers to sing and goof around. Well, with his low tuned Caparison guitars he also goes from crazy riffs to shredded solos as if it was so easy to do. At least, it does seem easy but this guy is honest. Between 2 songs he admitted that since he managed to inject some rhythm elements from Indian music into his own music, it kind of changed the structure of his compositions. So after playing a couple of tricky rhythm songs from their latest album (Land of the Freaks that I didn’t heard yet), he confessed that he was happy to come back to some basic 4/4 structures! Well, basic! That’s what he said!!
Freak Kitchen is not just a one man band, that would be a mistake to think so. Björn Fryklund (drums) and Christer Örtefors (bass) are very good musicians with some impressive rhythmic skills that provide a very strong rhythm base to the band’s songs. And as for goofing around, Örtefors is as hilarious as Eklundh… word!! While he was singing Razor Flowers, which I can only describe as some sort of metal crooning song (from Move, 2002), he totally lost his mind in some crazy interaction with the audience. Basically he wanted us to sing the chorus with him but he wanted us to warm up a little before! And that’s how he started to show us the weirdest singing exercises and the funniest dance steps right in the middle of the song. Even Mattias Eklundh dropped his jaw and laughed his ass out! This might seem superficial but I think that’s revealing how crazy (good crazy) those 3 are! They just are great entertainers, and I would really see more people like ’em on stage! Luckily, they’ve played several songs from their previous albums so that I didn’t feel like a total stranger to their music: Porno Daddy, Chest Pain Waltz, My New Haircut, Razor Flowers, Propaganda Pie, Nobody’s Laughing are the songs that are instantly coming back to my mind.
Somewhere between Zappa and Bumblefoot, or maybe between Abba et Ravi Shankar but I’m not sure of that, there is Freak Kitchen that confirmed something I already knew… This band is a must see / must hear for any guitar fan out there. Actually, I think Freak Kitchen should be prescribed as medication against the gloominess of the world!
Here are a couple of videos I’ve shot during the show from my uncomfortable spot right before the console. As I’ve had barrier in my back, it is a little shaky sometimes but the sound is rather good.
My New Haircut
Nobody’s Laughing as an encore (check how he forgot the beginning of a verse, and how he managed that with humor and humility. Unless it is another gimmick, I wouldn’t be surprised!)
And as an extra bonus, maybe you’ve read an old article I wrote about the instruments designed for two-handed tapping? I’ve already knew that Mattias Eklundh had some interest in the Kelstone… Well there was one on stage last monday!