It was a far from packed Tolhuistuin that welcomed the first act of the night, Borys, quite likely unfamiliar to the lucky few who were to listen to this wizard of modular synthesizers. Some people probably didn’t even know there was third act performing that night (one of them was me) and there should have been others who have mistakenly gone there, thinking they were at the next door’s concert.
The Canadian producer introduced himself really quickly, warning about his crazy dance moves (these went completely unnoticed as everybody was so immersed in his music) and invited people to check out his gear which was indeed quite impressive. A very small crowded reacted immediately and gathered around Borys, making it feel quite intimate, almost like a private performance. The first sounds that came from Borys’ modular synthesizers sounded like those delightful noise tracks that people like Pete Swamson have been making. However, this was kind of misleading. As the performance went on, it was pretty clear that Borys’ music mainly consists of an hypnotic techno, truly grabbing and quite intense.
Then came on stage Miss Lanza, accompanied by Tori Tizzard on drums who has been playing together with Lanza on this tour, as in the past the R&B’s new heroine had mainly performed on her own. Lanza’s set started off smoothly, slowing down the tempo (as it would happen later with Junior Boys’ opener) after the considerable intensity of Borys’ performance. ”Fuck Diamond” followed next which got the crowd slightly more excited, however as soon Jessy Lanza moved closer to the centre of the stage and removed her coat, the sound went out, prompting Lanza to make a funny comment about it: ”This always happens when I take my coat off”. The first highlight of Jessy’s performance came with ”Kathy Lee” as many attenders lose themselves to dance to this rather more familiar song. By then it also became pretty obvious what you’re in for when attending Jessy Lanza’s gigs – an absolutely flawless performance. After grabbing the crowd with ”Kathy Lee”, she didn’t lose it for even one second as she played two already released tracks from her forthcoming album, the sumptuous footwork-oriented “You Never Show Your Love” and her most experimental one to date, which is indeed still the best song of the year as suggested by Gorilla vs. Bear, “It Means I Love You”. If there was still someone who wasn’t deeply entranced after hearing these live, then that person or those people were finally won with the extremely additive ”Keep Moving” that closed her set that many certainly would have wanted it to be longer.
Both Borys and Jessy Lanza definitely did a terrific job in lifting up the crowd for Junior Boys. The delight of the audience in seeing Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus walk on stage was pretty evident. However, Junior Boys cooled things down with a cover of ”Some People Are Crazy” by John Martyn. Naturally, this is not the kind of song to make people go wild, but the crowd reacted positively to it as they were quite excited to finally hear the band that was the main reason for them to be there. After one or two older songs, Junior Boys played their lovely smooth new single “Over It” that proved that the crowd was equally enthusiastic about their new stuff. The climax of the show happened when played pratically in a row “Love Is a Fire”, ”Parallel Lines” and “Big Black Coat’, which on their live performance confirms it as an incredible piece of dark electronica epicness. Shortly afterwards they left the stage, only to come back as expected for the encore, in which they played “Banana Ripple”, that was definitely a splendid choice to put an end to a very joyful night for everyone who was at Tolhuistuin.
When Borys was performing, he told the audience that Amsterdam was one of his favourite places in Europe and after this night, there’s no doubt that Jessy Lanza and Junior Boys will feel the same.