BERLIN (Frequency Intl.) 13 Dec. 1010 — The contrast between pop and rock manifests as soon as Eva Briegel steps to the mic. The waif-like blonde singer fronts German band Juli, who are often branded as pop-rock, but the atmosphere in the venue is worlds away from the hysteria and intensity of a rock concert. Fans sway dreamily, shoulders barely touching, as Briegel leads the audience on a whimsical, dancing journey through a landscape of understated pathos.
This subtle poignancy crests with the song “Ich bin in Love (Paris),” off the band’s recently released album, In Love. Cheering when Briegel announces, “This is a song about Berlin, and it’s called ‘Paris,’” ** the audience goes utterly silent as her trembling, ethereal voice unfolds a story of longing and isolation. “Alle sind in Paris, nur ich bin in love…” Even here, the singer’s lighthearted humor shines through, as she endearingly accompanies herself with careful, strategic flourishes on a glockenspiel.
At times, the band seems to struggle with the natural atmospheric limitations of their soothing songs, attempting to contrive the characteristic gestures of arena rock. In an ironic twist on spontaneous games of audience beachball, the band provides enormous balloons at one point, which security must attempt to keep offstage without confiscating. The audience claps and waves to the band’s direction, but distractedly. However, the screams for an encore are heartfelt, and at the massive explosion of confetti guns, the mood lifts to a cathartic conclusion.
Juli are one of a triad of powerhouse female-fronted bands in the German music scene, rounded out by indie icons Wir sind Helden and the intensely emotional rock of Silbermond. Their latest album, In Love, appeared on September 17, 2010.
** translated from original German.
Images © Caitlin Hardee, Dec. 1 2010.