MIKE WATT & Il Sogno del Marinaio

2016 TOUR

Krakow,  October  22,  2016


Mike Watt has sailed the seven seas to hit the Krakow shores again. Last year he landed here with his weathered crew consisting of The Missing Men. And we have been missing his sea shanties for so long that his second coming was obviously more than welcome.

This time it was also a trio, but now on board there were two Italian guys. Andrea Belfi was the drummer and Stefano Pilia the guitarist. The name of this particular group is "Il Sogno del Marinaio" which means "The Sailor's Dream". And so, that Sogno brought the three brothers to our dream city of Krakow which could quite easily be mistaken for paradise if not for a simple fact that it is currently the second most polluted city in Europe!

And this monster Gadda-Da-Vida is a real living hell, so even killer Mike might have a hard time here trying to beat the devil. But since surviving between the devil and the deep blue see has been Mike's lifelong trade, he sure was able to manage it all right.

So, yes indeed, the gig was a treat. And no wonder as Mr. Watt is no newcomer to hardcore cooking. He has spent most of his life banging, slapping or caressing his bass in countless musical ports. From the glory days of the mighty Minutemen, to fIREHOSE, to Dos (with Kira Roessler from Black Flag), to various stints with J. Mascis, Nels Cline, Thurston Moore, Henry Rollins, Porno for Pyros and gazillion others, climaxing and culminating perhaps with his collaboration with the legendary Stooge by the name of Iggy Pop. And, of course, not forgetting his more recent cooperations and side projects from Bologna to Shanghai. Always taking it to a new level.

With this recent incarnation I did not know what to expect, except that remembering Mike's talents and versatitlity, I knew I should "prepare myself to deal with a miracle" as the almighty Rahsaan would have put it. "Yes, we can" was the dominating mood of the show. The music was highly varied, colourful, multifaceted and going in all possible directions.

Mike's bass sound is rich and full. It is warm but powerful. Some of it is, perhaps, due to the specific equipment he uses, but I think what also really helps is his playing technique. He does not use a pick, using his fingers instead. That gives a fuller sound and results in achieving more control. He can rock and he can swing, and there is this funk element you get as well. Mike's playing is relaxed and disciplined at the same time.

Andrea Belfi tried to add even more color and variation to the overall sound. He was the motor for the band and simultaneously the colourist, sometimes literally painting with brushes on the cymbals and the skin canvas. So, yes brushes, mallets, gongs, rattles or a drumstick with inbuilt zils, all well complemented a rather regular drumkit.

Stefano Pilia sounds like he has a strong prog background. He had lots of guitar effects, used a whammy bar and played spacy solos that were built of psychedelic, prog, hardcore, jazz and funk elements.

Somehow, all of it gelled perfectly being an intriguing combination of different moods, sounds and tempos with each musician singing in various songs and the drummer even giving a spoken word performance on his own Auslander.

The punky crowd enjoyed the show immensely, recognizing numerous songs and shouted requesting their favourites. Mike Watt seems to have a strong fanbase here. I remebered many faces from his last year's gig. I was even told that the spirit of Peter from Pedro haunted the house again.

For the encore they played their own version of Robert Wyatt's Zoom.   

Distrowise, they were helped by Hiyori, who herself is an experienced drummer banging in a couple of noise projects. Thanks to her each of us had a chance to get a magic plastic disc, sail home with it and keep dreaming.

Well, happy sails to you, Capt. Mike and the crew, until we meet again!











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