Monday, March 16, 2009

The Ex Factor - Lille Le Grand Mix 15 March 2009


Losing a band member who has been part and parcel of the sound, setup, and spirit for the last 30 years would prove a major blow to any other musical formation. But to Dutch sonic sculptors The Ex it has provided them with a new found spirit and energy, and musical freedom that leaves most of their contemporaries floundering.

Late last year, lead singer Jos decided to call it a day with the band he had been a member of for the last 30 years. The Ex recruited singer / guitarist Arnold from Dutch band Zea as his replacement. Last night was their second show with this new starting lineup.

And what a show it was. From the initial guitar scrapings and drum shuffles, followed a cacophonous 3 pronged guitar assault pinned down by Kat's brilliant rhythm sticks. Infectious tunes with an african tinge provided the canvas for vocals which have seen colours of melody added...something not really associated with Ex songs. And the interplay between the 3 guitarists (note no bass....only Andy's baritone guitar anchoring the low end) was a joy to hear. Maximum riffage and tunes galore. More hooks than Ali, more bite than dracula. The set was dynamic and powerful, and the audience, both old Ex-heads and new-timers, were completely engrossed to the end. Somehow it all went by too quickly.

In a time when reunions are the norm, and rehashing the past is a ritual, there are still some bands who blaze their way forwards and push the whole darn concept of being in a band to the max. Those old bands who come together again and try to make a new album together usually fall flat on their faces. But some bands have never split up and have shown that a belief in the music you make and a trust amongst the people you work with are possibly the most important tools in a band dynamic. Thank goodness for The Ex.

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