It was a beautiful and warm summer evening in Brunswick, when Deine Lakaien gave one of their rare concerts during the past two years of this pandemic. Alexander counted about four at the beginning of this open-air event that ended in a little Meistersinger contest. I will get to that later.
Time and location were perfect. During the day, one could enjoy a street music festival all over the town. Brunswick was founded by Henry the Lion, who was married to the eldest sister of Richard I of England, as his main residence in the 12th century. Thus, there are still many beautiful medieval squares remaining all over the town.
The stage was built on a small lawn at a site of the local traditional Wolter’s brewery. Of course, one would get the local brew in the small tents set up under the surrounding trees. Dominant on the empty stage: a white grand piano by the piano manufacture “Schimmel” (in German the name for a white horse) that has its main branch in Brunswick.
Appropriately, the set started with two ballades from the “White Lies” album. They were followed by “Over and Done” – one of the songs that give piano tuners nightmares because Ernst treats the piano rather, well, forcefully. That is the reason that these pieces are never played during sound checks, where the piano tuner might still be present.
The newest album “Dual” contains several cover songs with Lakaien songs related to them. Thus, some covers are also presented here in Brunswick in an acoustic version, adding even more Lakaien flair to them. This leads to very cool and special interpretations as, e. g., “The Walk” by The Cure is played on a piano prepared with many things – a glass, a piece of wood, paper etc. - inside. Alexander had to talk quite a lot during the concert to give Ernst enough time for his preparations. Sometimes, he also had to wait additionally for a train to pass by on the close tracks. A perfect environment for “Gone”, a song where tracks play an important role in the lyrics that also requires a lot of preparations. This time, the piano provided not enough space inside and Ernst had to shuffle things around even while he was playing.
There were many “firsts” during this concert. Besides the white piano, passing trains and shuffling, Alexander forgot for the first time in 30 years of band history that “Love me to the end” was the last piece of the set and there was supposed to be a break before the encore. So, the band just played directly the next ballade “Where the winds don’t blow”. As always, it was very softly and intimately intoned by Alexander. This seemed to provoke a bird to a contest and it would tweet vigorously each time Alexander stopped singing. If it irritated him, he did not show. The two kept singing along in their battle until “Dark star”, where the bird clearly lost.
The second but last song was a really awesome interpretation of a chanson by Jacques Brel. One example of the great musicality Deine Lakaien possess, since it is quite a challenge to play songs, which are so closely linked to a distinguished and distinctive musician. The set was closed by “Sick cinema”, a terrific piece of “Dual” that refers to “Happy man” by Can and afterwards turned the place literally into its name – a garden of applause.
I definitely hope that we will be able to hear these songs on the concerts of the upcoming “Dual”-Tour this autumn. Fingers crossed that it has not to be postponed again because of the pandemic!
So long and hope to see you there!
Foto and text by CM
1. Where you are
3. Over and done
4. The Game
5. Because the night
6. Unknown friend
8. Down Down Down
10. The Walk
11. Dust in the wind
12. Love me to the end
13. Where the winds don’t blow
14. Dark Star
15. La Chanson Des Vieux Amants
16. Sick Cinema