A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few hours on the plane, then in a car, then I arrived in a small village. The last kilometers getting off the Autobahn and driving along narrow, winding roads. No hill to be seen, the countryside flat as a pancake. Scattered farm houses made of red bricks, herds of sheep and cattle and the odd tree. Even cars seemed to be a curiosity out here. It’s funny to think that on that night, i witnessed one of the best gigs of the year (and yes, that includes seeing Beyoncé live). It was quite a surprise when I stood next to this impressively bearded bloke. The venue of the gig was to be the Haldern Pop Bar – a cosy little venue. Quite what you would expect from a village pub in the middle of nowhere in Germany, if it wasn’t for the cool and hip drinks (LemonAid soda, a special German vodka etc) that you would know from hipster bars in Berlin, Hamburg or Cologne.
I was standing next to a bearded guy during a press conference. He turned out to be a musician from Manchester who was supposed to play a few songs after the official part was over. I knew nothing about his music. All I could guess was, that he’d be playing guitar and that I’d be his ride to the airport the following morning.
The great thing about being blown away is, that you are never expecting it. So when Denis Jones went on that little stage, I wasn’t sure what to expect. He was standing behind an array of synthesizers, loop stations, microphone stands and mixing desks. He built every song slowly, steadily, layer by layer until an acoustic drop seemed like a massive wall of sound. While he isn’t the first to use loopstatsions etc. to build songs, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone create such an intimacy while doing it. The current album that you can listen to below gives you an indication. But it is sadly no measure of how captivating he is live.
The stand out track for me was Elvis. His ode to the king blew me away. The acoustic guitar at the start was so intense. The whole room held its breath. The slow groove kicking in, then his Mancunian accent. It all seemed to fit the moment perfectly. The warm summer sun going down outside, while the whole room was staring in astonishment. Moments like this can’t be replaced by audio recordings. Moments like this can’t be manufactured. And that’s why we all love live music. That’s why we love gigs. And that’s why I am very thankful for seeing Denis Jones live that evening somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Germany.
You can buy his stuff here: http://denisjones.bigcartel.com/