I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that the launch of Brikkuni‘s second album, Trabokk, was the most eagerly awaited music event on the Maltese scene these past months. Well, it was for me anyway and I’m sure that those of my ilk, who move away from the plastic sounds of the mainstream, agree.
And finally, after teasers galore and a very polished but no less cutting online video launch of l-Ufficju, yesterday happened.
The mesmerizing Yasmin Kuymikazis, aka YEWS, opened the night. Her music is haunting and kind of burrows a place for itself in the recesses of your subconscious to re-emerge hours later in a softly hummed tune, when you least expect it. I had missed this lady’s performance at V-Gen so I was particularly eager to experience for myself what others have been raving about.
The raving was justified and I have promised myself to get better acquainted with her works. Her music, which already delighted my senses yesterday, will probably be even more effective in a more intimate venue.
Yesterday’s performance also suffered from those two crosses that a Maltese audience typically brings with it: people show up way too late to be able to enjoy the support act. And those who do show up chatter non-stop. Not that they stopped during the main act, mind you. WTF do people find to talk about mid-gig that won’t make for better conversation over drinks, afterwards?
Fast-forward to ten thirty (I think?) and Brikkuni took the stage. The hall was truly packed. People have come to really appreciate local work, even if they refuse to stop nattering. Small price to pay for a thriving scene, I suppose, so I’ll shut up about it.
Brikkuni chose to focus on tracks from the new album during the first half of their performance. A clever choice, given that few would have been in the mood to appreciate the subtle lyrical messages that characterize Trabokk if they had been moshing to Gadazz Giljan thirty minutes earlier. Their opening, it-Tnejn, set the tone for the first hour or do. Heartfelt, with lyrics that are wonderfully evocative and that paint a bittersweet tableaux in the mind of the listener.
Brikkuni’s second album is a quieter, more incisive affair than the first. Kuntrabanda makes you laugh at the brash wit, makes you jump, makes you feel alive. Trabokk makes you take an introspective journey with its musical beauty and lyrics that yes, will raise a sardonic smile but will also make us question our lives as we delve into our psyche.
Favorites from the new album include L-Ufficju which makes us hate ourselves and our lives, imparting a jolt of “is this it?”. Cikku c-Cinkwina, which delivers the funniest twist ending and which gives a rather scary insight into Maltese middle-class psychology. Irkotta, which is maybe the Brikkuni answer to Xtruppaw‘s il-Puberta and also a play on words, referring to one of the erm, biggest disputes on the Maltese linguistic front.
But that’s enough introspective delving for one night. After playing practically the entirety of the first album it was time for Brikkuni to revisit Kuntrabanda. With the opening bars of Fil-Bar Ta’ Taht il-Knisja the crowd went wild. and who can blame us really? Some songs will always have the power to bring out the beast in the collective and Fil-Bar is one of them. As is Gadazz Giljan. And Kollox Suggettiv. And.. I could go on.
Every single track from the second half of the gig was a mosh fest. Every so often I looked at those who had opted for the seated section upstairs and wondered how anyone could not want to be in the thick of it, right under the stage. As an aside, it was fun to see the namesake who inspired Gadazz Giljan make the customary appearance, it does add a certain something to the song.
The encore that didn’t really happen was also fun, with the top moshers of the night storming the stage while Brikkuni frontman Mario Vella grinned evilly on. It didn’t last sadly, due to security doing what they are paid to do and who can blame them? But I have to say that, once again, it was The Clandestines’s Daniel Abdilla who gets the award for creative crowd surfer of the night. His antics on the moshpit are always gleefully hilarious.
To conclude, Trabokk fully fulfills all expectations and should keep us happy for another year before we start whining for more. Michael Carabott’s editorial, on today’s issue of the Malta Independent and Mark Camilleri’s feature on yesterday’s It-Torċa (for the Maltese speakers) also make great reading so do pop over to their sites.