I read about this try out the day before. Even though my cousin is the main man in Krang, I do see him more often on stage than in real life. Not that there has been any trouble in the past, our lives just grew apart. Until very late I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. In the end I decided to take my bike and drive the 6 km that seperate my home town from his. I arrived just in time to see the start.
The new tour from Krang will be different. Not your standard rock show, more like theatre, more artsy. Not weird if you think that Andre Manuel is known as a left wing comedian without the ability for compromise. He has won several prizes, but never became as big as others with less talent. He doesn't mind going on television, but only on his conditions and compromising his idea is not his style. He used to play in a band called Fratsen, he was their singer-songwriter. In the east they had a huge fan base, all concerts were sold out weeks in advance. At the height of the Seattle hype they had to play as an opening act for one of the many grunge bands that toured Europe. They had a bus full of fans with them and played in the famous Paard van Troje in Den Haag. After the opening act the crowd left, the hype had to play for a near empty hall. Fratsen could have been big, some of their songs had hit-potential, but somehow they never managed a hit. Before routine took over he called it quits and started a new band.
Krang is his new band. More experimental, less accesible. He lost big scores of fans, but never looked back. If this is what he wants to do, this is what he does. Not coincidental the name of the band Krang. In our dialect it means something like inside-out, like wearing a sweater inside out, it is "krang". Andre lives his life inside out. Because of this, he has many famous critics behind him. All cd's are well received, but never well sold.
After a few 'normal albums, the new one will be different. So will the tour. It's not just a band playing music anymore, it is an evening filled with music, light and images. The band plays on the left and right of the stage, in the middle on the big screen images flow along with the music. Not like a clip, not completely Greenaway either, but certainly not clear. Leave it to your imagination seems an important factor in the way people perceive Krang. On this chilly friday night I find myself in a chair outside the place they were supposed to play. It gives them more space. It is a try-out, the very first time they play 'Gluut' (Twents for Sound). Andre has been compared with one of his heroes: Captain Beefheart. His voice has given him the nickname the Dutch Tom Waits. Since he stopped with Fratsen and started with Krang, he has started using samples and computers to their music, in some of their songs they sound like Portishead. His anger in other things make him look like Frank Black in the Pixies. Sometimes the music is incredibly quiet, almost inaudible, passing mopeds disturb the near silence, but in the meantime somehow fit in as well. In other songs his political views easily appear. Try blending all above famous artists and add a bit of Dylan, some Gavin Friday, a pinch of Talk talk (the darkness) and to top it off some Ramones. Have you got any idea what the experience is like? I wasn't too sure myself. Cows on the screen, Adri, the drummer, using the metal poles of the screen as his drumkit, Jelle, the bass player doing several other instruments and above all the sometimes impossible to understand lyrics by Andre. Krang is something different. Krang is krang.
Afterwards I as talking with another relative when Andre joins us. They hadn't played these songs as a whole yet. A lot went wrong, but he was satisfied. The tour can start now, his face told us. Fifty something others can, like myself, that they saw the first of it. The rest of the Netherlands will follow. Until the moment we are all Krang.