It was the second time that the surprisingly talented young Australian guitarist Plini has visited us here. In the show last year, which I didn’t get to post about, he was supporting the djent stars Animals as Leaders.
The tiny venue at Patronaat (Haarlem) was packed with probably some hundred people. A friend of mine, who was also willing to come, had at a certain moment discovered the show was sold out.
With the ticket price of €14 it was no wonder! But eventually he got lucky and found a ticket via TicketSwap.
I reckon djent is predominantly younglings’ thing, as most of the audience was in the age range of 20-25.
David Maxim Micic
The musicians on stage were not that old either. The Serbian guitarist David Maxim Micic (26) of the same-named band was accompanied by the drummer Mike Malyan (Monuments), the bassist Simon Grove (Plini), and Jakub Żytecki (Disperse) on guitar. The music they were playing was of a pretty assorted kind, with lots of programming and electronics. Their genre can be characterised as a mix of progressive rock, progressive metal, djent, jazz fusion, and even ambient.
The band was presenting their last release Who Bit the Moon, which had just came out. The band’s very first album was released back in 2011, when David was 21. Over the next six years he has played with some big names, such as Aaron Marshall (Intervals), Jeff Loomis (Nevermore, Jeff Loomis Band), Sithu Aye and others. Almost all works of the band are instrumental.
Here’s one of the videos:
Jakub was handy with the guitar, but preferred to keep a low profile for a while. Also I couldn’t hear him that well from my spot as his solos were a bit lost in the sound of drums operated by Mike. (That said, I really liked Mike’s play, too.)
After David Maxim Micic made way for Disperse, the project of the just mentioned Pole Jakub Żytecki (24). The drums were still being taken care of by Mike Malyan, there was no bass, and the keyboardist Rafał Biernacki stepped up. He was also singing.
Disperse’s genre can probably be described as “David Maxim Micic + vocals”. It’s a similar mixture of electronics, progressive, and djent. They also remotely resembled the disbanded Sun Caged (sigh), but in my humble opinion Disperse lacks their drive and expressiveness. As for Jakub’s guitar proficiency, it’s an even match with David’s as far as I can tell. I had the opportunity to listen to both of them during Plini’s “superjam” (more on which below).
This is one of Disperse’s video:
On a side note, music of this kind is a bit too complex to absorb on a live show if you’re unfamiliar with it. The rhythmic and melodic patterns are just too complicated, whereas a lot of sounds get lost in the live setting. Therefore I’m going to take my time to listen to these bands properly.
The last—but not least—act were Plini (24) from the sunny Australia joined by his compatriots Simon Grove (played earlier with David), drummer Troy Wright and guitarist Jake Howsam Lowe—whom Plini dubbed “Christ”.
The band’s genre can be described as “melodic progressive fusion”, with distinctive, memorable tunes (which sometimes tend to turn into an earworm). Plini’s technique is conspicuous, but he’s so popular not only because of that I think. His humbleness and visible friendliness are definitely appealing, too, as is his way of making jokes at his fellow musicians.
This time around he reiterated that the Netherlands was “hands downs the best place to be.” His affection was returned by the audience in the form of traditional Dutch drops and cheese:
Once there was a hiccup when one of the snare drums got broken. Plini and Jake started a “chord game” during the forced break: Jake would play a chord and Plini would try to arpeggiate it. Which went fine—mostly, but not always:
Towards the end of the show, on Away, Plini were joined by David, Jakub and Mike. During this superjam musicians would play in turns at Plini’s command:
From this I can conclude that all four are pretty damn good with guitars, and I won’t venture to compare any two of them.
To wrap up, the gig was awesome. My haul was a T-shirt and a poster with Plini’s signature! And I’m sure Plini has a great future—if he’ll be persistent enough, of course.
All of my videos are listed in the sidebar on the right; they are also available on the event page. ■