Watson Melkweg 09
Pictures thanks to Toofonky

It’s no secret, I’m a bit of a Patrick Watsonite (as can be read here and here). I’ll refrain from an all out gush-post, although it is quite tempting as tonight was the best I’ve seen them yet. I was expecting a regular here’s-our-new-material gig with some of their tried and tested numbers mixed in. I was however treated to a surprise, because low and behold, when the screen with the tauntingly repetitive cartoon show lifted, it revealed the band was considerably bigger than usual.

Enter the Wooden Arms (incidentally the title of their 2009 album release), a string quartet with violin, viola and cello. Their fusion with the band made the new material sparkle all the brighter, a warm glow reaching all the way to the back of Melkweg‘s captivated audience. This glow was enhanced by some great (low) lighting, making it all feel very intimate.

When time came for their tried and tested acapella song amidst the audience the set-up was different: Watson dons a Terry Gilliam-esque structure of megaphones towering over his head and we are treated to a bare version of The Storm rather than Man Under The Sea. It still works a charm.

All of the new material really worked well, with Kuster’s awe inspiring percussion at it’s vigorously beating heart, as could clearly be heard during his solo in Beijing. Other memorable moments included the intrumental Hommage, Where The Wild Things Are (with a tongue in cheek battle between the original band and the stringplayers), Machinery of the Heavens and oldies Luscious Life and Drifters.

On the down side I really missed the female vocals, particularly on Big Bird in a Small Cage. Maybe Dolly would be up for some guest performances?