Live Review: Nils Frahm @ Colston Hall

The much acclaimed German began his musical career taught by Tchaikovski's last student in a suburb of Hamburg. But he knew that playing Chopin in the greatest concert halls of Europe was not going to be for him, "I just didn't practise enough for that." Instead, influenced by the likes of Portishead, ECM Records and Jazz, Nils Frahm chose a career carefully balanced between the composition of soft piano ballads, electronic music improvisation and the hammering of toilet brushes on Steinway Concert Grand Pianos (price: £125,000) or what is by many described as,

The pinnacle of concert grands - the overwhelming choice of the world’s greatest pianists.
— Steinway and Sons
 (c) Chris Christodoulou

(c) Chris Christodoulou

This Sunday, Nils started the night with a few songs of his new album All Melody including:

The Whole Universe, Sunson, Fundamental Values, My Friend The Forest, Human Range, Forever Changeless, All Melody, #2.

My personal favourite was his live interpretation of All Melody. In this song Nils Frahm gives away his faible for early dub influences and passion for electronic music.

 (c) Arthur Gousset (click photograph to watch live performance)

(c) Arthur Gousset (click photograph to watch live performance)

The setup for the one-man-band was impressive as always. In a 5-minute interlude between two songs, Nils explained how his team loved taking a very cumbersome organ on tour that needed manual tuning before every performance. The organ however was so imposing on the stage, both in terms of size and sounds, that they had to hide it backstage and link its sounds to a keyboard that was part of Nils' assemblage. It goes without saying that the crowd was instantly in ore when the famous chords of Says resonated in the large hall.

Applause after applause and long after everyone was charmed by Nils' German accent, he announced the last performance of the night. The audience was not surprised when he reiterated “the last song before the encore” with a smile of his face. Nobody however expected that we would only clap for 5-seconds, as he explained long applauses are “20th century sh*t." And indeed with true German pragmatism, he stood up waved quickly disappeared for a split second and ended the night with what he called “a 5 minute mix of my favourite songs." If I had to summarise his performance in one sentence it would be "Close your eyes to see better."

Overall Nils Frahm's performance was "a piece of musical genius."

Cover Photography: Bandcamp