Das Pop – 17/02/2009 – King Tut’s

Ellie Gallagher

“Children of Glasgow. We are Das Pop. We are going to be your friends tonight.” Lights focus on sparkling drums, then bass, guitar and finally vocals; a slick opening to a buzzing, animated and surprisingly friendly set by not any mere pop group, rather the pop group creeping across Europe.

The choreographed introduction bled into single Fool For Love, the Belgian foursome’s childish energy seeping into every corner of King Tut’s. No one man carried the show. Piano faced drums, each player abided by the rules while visibly enjoying on-stage banter: challenging, joking and prompting each other. An atmosphere of juvenile fun and partying developed within the span of just a couple of tracks, and the feeling was shared between the band and the undeservedly thin crowd alike.

Front man Bent Van Looy’s clear, bold words, delivered with just the right combination of arrogance and affection to the tiny crowd, broke down the barrier with karate kid-ease; his verbal high-kicks suggesting they were genuinely pleased to be at our service. Leading drums, always central though never overwhelming, were accompanied by arresting bass hooks in the likes of Underground, their summer release, while guitar and its siblings sat comfortably throughout.

Everything was going swimmingly until — disaster struck. A complete power cut snatched any sound from both guitars and piano and threw silence in their place. Did chaos ensue — drumsticks thrown to the floor in rage, incoherent abuse hurled from one Belgian to another? More like, did the crowd even notice? The lull mid track led seamlessly into an impromptu drum solo thickened within seconds by tambourines and cowbells, just a few puzzled glances and scurrying roadies giving any hint of a change of plan. Like the chocolates their homeland is famous for, sheer smoothness.

Das Pop’s creativity didn’t stop there either. A carefully designed light show accompanied the set transforming the four into characters worthy of a Frank Miller graphic novel. The delicate combination of a total blackout at the musical climax of their latest release, Try Again, followed by strategic strobe lighting drew them as black and white shapes, all lines and edges. Speech bubbles would compliment Bent’s sonic assault nicely.

Das Pop gave a solid performance from beginning to end, almost try-hard. The kind of wide-eyed, open-hearted pop one seems to like to dislike, even hate, but simply, deep down, can’t help falling for.


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