The debut concert of Weyes Blood’s European tour around the current album “And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow” is a coronation mass and a service at the same time. In Germany she will only play next Friday (February 3rd) in Cologne. But no unnecessary haste in the hunt for tickets; all concerts of the tour of the Californian are completely sold out. Perhaps the “black or secondary market” will still give something.
In contrast to the indie club formatting of their previous appearances before the pandemic, for example here in the rather cozy “Kantine am Berghain”, in Berlin in the “Festsaal Kreuzberg” you can see a new will to stage.
The smartphone mannequin from the revue sailor’s video for “It’s Not Me, It’s Everybody” greets as a still image on a screen stretched across the entire area behind the stage. Weyes Blood, who has been on the road extensively for almost 20 years now, has never been in a hurry with her career. Once plucking the bass in the riot project Jackie O Motherfucker, then fabricating all sorts of tracks with her West Coast producer buddy Drugdealer.
Now that it’s approaching its 35th birthday, the live production has obviously become more elaborate and “bigger”.
There is also a somewhat spartan backdrop that nonetheless suggests opulence: LED candles flicker on ornate candelabra. At times, this “Phantom of the Opera” scenario flashes through in a dazzling white, as if the Holy Spirit wanted to haunt the border area between Kreuzberg36 and Alt-Treptow.
Sacred stage optics
While Natalie Mering used to wear trouser suits in turquoise or white as a stage outfit, her robe has now been chosen to match the sacred stage look. A High Priestess with long brown hair in a flowing white ghost dress. We understand: from the cover look of the album to the live performance everything from a single source. Nothing is left to chance with the fashion, trash film and Hollywood-loving multi-instrumentalist.
After all, the mellow-melancholic new songs are performed quite compactly on this Saturday evening, the tempo of around 55 bpm is rarely exceeded. The slow waltz may have served her as a model from classical music.
“When the mirror takes you too far. Oh, God, turn me into a flower..”, Weyes Blood revels in their atmospheric sneaker “God, Turn Me Into a Flower”. Her flowing robe becomes the backdrop for a floral hippie look. Not only the French edition of the fashion bible “Vogue” is enthusiastic about the ambiguous 1968 reinactment with apocalyptic text grounding.
A beating red heart shimmers under the white ghostly robe, which looks like an alien baby from the banquet hall counter, which has already been used several times in her online videos.
And the fact that Natalie Mering is not just any of the currently floating corpse musicians with an esoteric message can be seen from the fact that humor is often evident. At her Berlin concert she makes casual I-know-me-from jokes during the announcements. She asks the crowd whether she would come into the local techno club Berghain with her Enya outfit. Knowing full well that the dress code in the baller stronghold there is rather pitch black.
“When it comes to the fundamental question of ‘magic versus entertainment’, then my profession is more enchantment,” says the West Coast artist in a cover story in the US magazine “SPIN”, where she has just been named “Artist of the Year”. The live performance confirms this statement without a doubt.
The big question is, will Mrs Mering get her baroque sound cathedrals onto the streets without the esteemed audience gently dozing off from the completely sold-out metropolitan tour? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! The program, interpreted by two organ synths, a bass and her guitar performance, is of course a quiet one. Uptempo numbers like “Children Of The Universe” are almost speed metal. But the frenetic applause of the Ü27 audience clearly signals: “Enchantment accepted!”
Mering’s song list revolves around the “And in the Darkness” epic, and it speaks for her timing that she congenially performs the fantastic hippie operetta “Wild Time”: a six-minute Monsters of Laurel Canyon chorale. “With no Fear, We would Fall!” Witchcraft only she can do.
Roland Owsnitzki Votos – Roland Owsnitzki