Live Review: Parov Stelar, Strasbourg Zenith, April 2015

A Stelar Performance...

So, who exactly are the 'Parov Stelar Band' and what do they really play?

Some call it "jazz, house, electro swing and breakbeat," the "breakbeat" label clearly coming from the 4/4 drum pattern that features in many of their tracks.

We headed off to The Zenith in Strasbourg to watch the band as we're fans of the music and really like the unique genre of jazz, swing, and dance beats they combine in their music.

The first two gigs were French DJ's doing their thing, keeping the kids entertained.

The sound and [LED] lighting systems were fantastic indeed, but deep house DJ music is just deep house DJ music.

There were plenty of "greys" at the concert. They were sat on chairs with us, moms, pops, and offspring, all Parov Stelar fans, we assume, because no 40+ would ever go to a rave would they?

After the second DJ finished his stint they cleared the stage for the Stelars. The Zenith, which has a 12,000 capacity, has a dance floor that can hold 4000 "ravers," however this seemed to empty out whilst the sound technicians wheeled the equipment into place.

The show starts and amazingly the dance floor fills to capacity. It's all lights and smoke with a background video punting the band's forthcoming album titled Demon Days.

Through the smoke the band members, six of them take their places, Parov Stelar himself at the helm doing the mixing, a guitarist, live drum set, sax and trumpet players and vocalist, one Cleo Panther.

What a show, the combo of mixed loops, electronic bass drum, complete with live brass, drums and bass guitar certainly makes a unique sound live.

Cleo Panther oozes class on the stage, she has the right look, makes the right moves and has the perfect voice for Stelar's compositions.

Humbly, she moves into the shadows when the other musicians strut their solo stuff, but comes bursting out when it's time for her to front the band again.

The sax and trumpet players have to be the liveliest brass section I've ever seen, they do not stop moving, dancing to every beat, even while playing.

All in a fantastic show from the Austrians, full of energy with a mix of new songs and the better known classics, which contained additional zest not found on the album releases, but absolutely completed the spectacle in a brilliant way.

What was impressive to see was 4000 plus kids on the dance floor and probably 10,000 in total bouncing to a band that's playing electro swing music that perfectly ties the long gone golden era of swing and the modern era of dance up together.

Being a music lover, what completes any musician or band in my book is when they can achieve the sound quality on stage that they do in their studio recordings.

The Parov Stelar Band exceeded my expectations because they kick butt on stage, not just with the excellent songs, sound quality, and lighting production, but because everyone on stage gives it everything they have!

Parov Stelar is band I would highly recommend to see live, whether you're 18 or 58, there is something for everyone in their music and their performance.

Raymond Wilson
Revenge of Riff Raff
29th April, 2015

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