Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vienna: Ilsebill

Ilsebill at the Kunstraum Niederösterreich; photo by Val Phoenix Art and music: always an intriguing mix. Where would the music world be without art students and their exciting concepts? And sometimes galleries like to invite the scruffy hoi polloi into their environs to give events that bit of je ne sais quoi.

I assume it was the latter that prompted the Kunstraum Niederösterreich to put on the bill that performed on the 4th. It was meant to accompany a performance by performance artist Christian Falsnaes but I am still not sure of the connection, despite the world's longest intro by a compere: she had about five pages of comments before the bands came on in the open-air courtyard.

Second on were Ilsebill, part of a burgeoning queer feminist scene in Vienna. A trio of drums, keyboards and guitar, they are lo-fi and quirky in a way that recalls Young Marble Giants, with a tunefulness that reminds one of Sigur Ros and a bit of attitude that calls up Heavens to Betsy. Not too bad for reference points.

Feeling quite out of place in the rather staid surroundings of a government office building (as part of the Palais Niederösterreich), Ilsebill reacted by rather disengaging from the audience, explaining later that they didn't really give a s**t, especially as they had been drafted in to fill some kind of female quota.

Indeed, the stage lighting and general atmosphere put one in mind of a prog-rock gig rather than the lo-fi punk that is more their home. They made sure to announce they were from Favoriten, a less salubrious part of Vienna than the posh first district of the gig. It was quite endearing and if they were a bit lacking in stage presence and craft, they were highly entertaining and brightened the occasion enormously.

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