It was a beautiful summer Friday evening. I had dined nearby sitting under a large, protecting tree and headed now for the “Gudde Wëllen”. A small grape of people formed on the ancient pavement of the narrow alley outside the location, taking the last drags on their cigarettes before the gig. At the first floor, the gallery filled up quite slowly. On scene: A keyboard, a battery and a guitar, waiting for their owners. But as soon as the guys from the Raftside project entered the stage and seized their instruments, more and more fans gathered. The evening started with “Broken Drive”, a song from the new Raftside album “Empty Star”.
Listening to Raftside invariably reminds me of the film “The Man Without a Past”. Labelled “electro songwriting rock” by the main character of the project, Filip Markiewicz, the music is soaked with elements of rockabilly and Surf Rock owing to the Beach Boys, although the synth plays an important role too. But the lyrics, often tending towards political or social criticism, or describing depressive states of mind, break this first impression of easy listening rock’n’roll.
And Markiewicz himself is no sunny boy, although he will never be seen on stage without his plastic sun glasses, for even these, thickly outlined in white, spread melancholy. His lyrics are about “Nazi Friends”, about sinking boats and wrong directions. In “San Francisco Sun”, he cries: “We are calling without sounds, let us pray for fun, we’re so confused”, while the guitar rythms are accompanied by disturbingly whining background sounds.
Scandinavian tristesse mingled with echoes from Morricones soundtrack in “Once Upon a Time in the West”. But the fast rhythms of the guitar and the drums saved the vibe from the downfall. Sometimes the sound of the drums changed into that of bongos, sometimes the delicate piano work became more preponderant. The last part of the evening was filled with older songs like “Cardiac Palpitation” or “Lovedrugs”, and the dark room briefly changed from concert hall to dancing floor, with the three excellent musicians showing that they also can get people to rise from their seats and shake their legs.