Gloomy clouds decorate the Copenhagen skyline and the rain threatens to fall at any second now.
It’s Friday night and we find shelter in the warm and cosy premises of legendary venue Loppen – neatly located by the entrance to Christiania – tonight’s host to Dutch baroque pop artist Jacco Gardner and his band of psychedelic crusaders.
Show opener ‘Grey Lanes’ immediately catches your ear and imagination and kindly welcomes you inside to share the dream for the next hour or so.
Breakthrough single ‘Clear The Air’ is next and sets the scene for tonight’s show, during which we’ll be treated to songs from his latest album Hypnophobia, and debut album Cabinet of Curiosities.
The songs vary from sixties-oriented pop ballads to lofty futuristic themes that make you feel like you’re trapped inside some obscure seventies film, and it’s easy to draw parallels to late sixties album giants such as Odyssey & Oracle by The Zombies or Forever Changes by LOVE.
Jacco Gardner – a multi-instrumentalist in his mid-twenties – clearly seems to have captured the essence of good song craft, and it’s a joy to listen to.
The songs are delicate as flowers in the spring, tightly wrapped in soul-dripping arrangements and angelic harmonies that borrow the best from the past. It is retro, yes – but the songs and melodies are original in their own unique way.
An absolute highlight is the Beatle-esque ‘The Ballad Of Little Jane’, which carries on the vaudeville tradition/music hall style of ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’, or ‘Honey Pie’ – the same way McCartney & Co. did several decades earlier.
The band carries on with one delicate tune after another, and songs like ‘Where Will You Go’ and ‘The Riddle’, keep up the standard throughout the set – we also get a speedy, up-beat version of ‘Chameleon’, which shows bassist/vocalizer Jasper Verhulst hard at work.
The show ends with the big and dreamy ‘Find Yourself’, after which the band leaves the stage only to reappear for an encore.
“I will bury you – where the sun goes down” sings Jacco on final song ‘Lullaby’, before him and the band burst into a five minute long, space jam outro.
When we slide back out into the night, the rain is pouring down.
We stop at Pusher Street for coffee and a dream cake.
Remaining tour dates:
04 – Rotown, Rotterdam, Netherlands
05 – Effenaar Grote Zaal, Eindhoven, Netherlands (w/ The Soft Moon, Moon Duo, and 15 others)
05/06 – Eindhoven Psych Lab 2015, Effenaar Grote Zaal + Kleine Zaal + Café + Foyer, Eindhoven, Netherlands
10 – Milkboy Philly, Philadelphia, PA, US
11 – Rough Trade NYC, Brooklyn, NY, US
13 – The Press Room, Portsmouth, NH, US
14 – The Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA, US
17-21 – NXNE 2015, Toronto, ON, Canada
20 – Beat Kitchen, Chicago, IL, US
24 – Sunset Tavern, Seattle, WA, US
26 – Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR, US
29 – The Wayfarer, Costa Mesa, CA, US
30 – The Echo, Los Angeles, CA, US
01 – The Casbah, San Diego, CA, US (w/ Calvin Love)
03 – Lowbrow Palace, El Paso, TX, US
05 – Club Dada, Dallas, TX, US
09 – New Mountain Avl – Theatre, Asheville, NC, US
15 – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton, UK
16 – The Louisiana, Bristol, UK
17 – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, UK
18 – The Tin at The Coal Vaults, Coventry, UK
19 – The Leadmill, Sheffield, UK
20 – The Bodega Social Club, Nottingham, UK
26 – The Workman’s Club, Dublin, Ireland
Words: Anders Knudsen