It’s a brave move by anyone to cover a David Bowie song, given the respect and adoration that he commands – it’s an even braver move to cover a whole album as a live set, especially from a three-piece – given the depth of the album in question.
But that’s what Chicago trio Disappears did – covering Bowie’s 11th studio album, and the first of the so-called ‘Berlin trilogy’ albums, which were recorded/mixed in Berlin and collaborated with Brian Eno.
It’s certainly not one of Bowie’s more commercial albums but yet it leads itself well to a live performance, and those in attendance were almost certainly there for their love of Bowie, with no disrespect to Disappears – and the fact that they (or anyone else) is unlikely to see Bowie perform it. Disappears did an immense job and did the album justice in at an intimate venue.
The first side of the album has a poppier element to it than the the more experimental later songs and that gave the crowd enough to go on to evaluate Disappears interpretation of the material – songs such as Breaking Glass, What in the World, Sound and Vision are the very epitome of Bowie’s melding of art and pop sensibilities.
Bassist Damon Carruesco did an admirable job of Bowie-esque vocals when called upon, but the star performer was the drummer Noah Leger -his relentless pounding adding to the soundscapes of the guitar and bass effects, and when he came off the stage at the end of the set drenched in sweat it was clear that he’d earned his crust for the evening.
Overall, this was a solid performance from Disappears, covering material that requires bravery, spirit and some ingenuity – bravo, gents, bravo.