A quiet Friday night in a backstreet of Brussels. A fifties cinema, renovated into a theatre and concert venue (Atelier 210). But the gig is actually in the bar, with about 200 people squeezed around a dotty bespectacled Italian chick weaving tales of ordinary madness on ukelele, acoustic guitar and a bashful keyboard player.
Elisabetta Spada of Kiss & Drive talks – a lot. But she is not so much talking as unwinding the audience with stories of her flu, Laura Pausini and the horror of being squeezed into a small venue as an audience. At times, it feels as though I’ve walked into a stand-up comedy routine. But the banter is interpreted with charming, lo-fi songettes about relationships. She’s from the off-hand but revealing school of writing, giving the impression the songs were made up for the fun of it while dealing with the difficulty of connecting with a significant other.
Musically, I’ve seen Kiss & Drive listed under pop-folk, which doesn’t actually tell what they are like. In concert Spada builds layers of ukelele, vocals and guitar on loops, with Rapahël Dodemont adding almost childish keyboard themes, glockenspiel and a typewriter. It only struck me much later that there were no drums or bass. I hadn’t noticed and hadn’t missed them.
By the end of the show, Spada had the entire audience singing parts for her and forming a queue to buy the EP “My Mood Changes” (recommended, including a version of Kylie Minogues “In Your Eyes”). I get the feeling there will be many more queues before long.
Kiss & Drive have a number of dates in Belgium and Italy in March and April 2012. See Kiss & Drive on MySpace for details.