It was as cold as charity inside the admittedly rather lovely interior of Reading Minster and the pews are scarcely made for a long sit. So well done me for being super early and nabbing not only a seat up front only a few feet from the musicians, but also one of the only pews with a little padding.
A couple of support slots afore the main man. First off The Pawnbroker, a pair of local chaps, one mustachioed on the piano and vocals and the other in some natty patchwork jeans who delivered the main vocals. They have a bit more information and stuff on their Myspace pages (really, Myspace, how quaint, c’mon chaps, get with it!)
Second up someone who it transpires stood in for the planned support who managed a five hour drive but not enough time to set up and sound check. Instead Martyn Heyne, young and demure and on the tour with Nils Frahm, treated us so some really rather fine solo acoustic guitar work – a little Vinny Reilly, a little Pat Metheny and a little Manuel de Falla. His icy fingers cannot have been easy to get going but his numbers were enjoyable stuff. Apparently nothing recorded as yet in this incarnation, but there is of course a FB page, where you can see his involvement with Trygghet and the Leven Muster Collective (now there’s a couple of things to find out about)
Without much ado Mr Frahm took his place behind the baby grand and his Yamaha and Roland (could it have been a Juno?) keyboards and gave us an hour and a quarter of some of the most mesmerising music.
As a musician he becomes so absorbed, so connected to his instruments, he almost disappears at times, seems to forget where he is and what he is sitting on; oblivious to all else around. Of course as a pianist he is exceptional, his soft and fluid hands barely touching the keys at times and at others used as percussive tools to pull the sounds from the instruments.
As for the set list, I have no idea, much was familiar, some was not, and it was truly wonderful to have someone of this calibre given the space to develop pieces, merge them with others in a way not possible in a recording.
As with the last time I heard him it was an emotional and totally absorbing experience. Normally one for an eye for a picture for the blog and for the memory, it wasn’t until the last piece that I realised I had sat, rapt for over an hour and not even thought of a snap.
There are times when words are not enough, unable to do justice to the event. My neighbour and I agreed that this was such an evening, much like the Mono with the Holy Ground orchestra show at Koko that we had both, separately, enjoyed.
Nils Frahm is an exceptional and rare musician, already with a great catalogue of material (including the recent and wonderful Felt, clearly one of the albums of the year) tonight also gave us present the opportunity to get our hands on a copy of Juno as a 7″, written for Peter Broderick and recorded in one take on a Roland Juno keyboard, this is also obtainable through the good offices of the excellent Erased Tapes label.
Extraordinary music from an extraordinary musician.