The Parov Stelar Band at Heaven
Beneath the sweaty, cavernous arches, Heaven plays host to the proud return of The Parov Stelar Band and the opening night of their European Tour (celebrating new album Art of Sampling, out in November). Stelar returns with an incurable love for hyper-energetic, dance-worthy electro-swing, and an unquenchable passion for boundary-pushing and cross-genre creation, bringing his innovative electro-fusion to the stage. DJ and producer Parov Stelar (real name Marcus Füreder) is accompanied by a full band: Max the Sax (Markus Ecklmayr), Jerry Di Monza (Gerd Rahstorfer) on trumpet, Willie Larsson Jr. (Hans-Juergen Bart) on drums, Michael Wittner on bass, and vocals are courtesy of Cleo Panther. Panther’s sultry belting voice and black backless number pay respects to classic dance-hall sensibilities as she shakes some 1950s retro glamour into an already glittering set.
Showcasing tracks from their new album, as well as from The Princess (2012), nearly two hours of hyper-energetic electro-swing are launched with rolling mock-film credits and stunning monochrome visuals: Stelar has left his down-tempo numbers at home. With nods to techno, house and break beat, and full homage paid to the classic swing band, it is the sax and trumpet that take centre stage, with tirades of full-blast brass – except for the occasional crowd pleasing slap-bass solo.
Flashing and strobe lighting remain loyal to the electronic dance-hall tradition, and melodramatic drops build the room to a frenzy. One resulted in an interesting genre switch mid-track from melodic swing to euro-dance that was wholly unexpected yet much appreciated. Closing number Jimmy’s Gang is accompanied by the glorious full colour visuals of the official video.
Stelar is often hailed as an innovator in the world of electronic music and is even the creator of a new genre that DJ Rainer Trüby dubbed “minimal jazz house.” With heavy veins of funk, smoky nu-jazz and faithful swing samples, fused with the latest innovations in EDM and nu-disco, this is a sound well-loved on the continent and a welcome Austrian export. Though the set may have seen a brief return to the less creatively progressive mainstream drops and euro-dance samples, these are too occasional to indicate a departure from Stelar’s idiosyncratic, groundbreaking fusions.
Half an hour before the end, the band leave the stage and the customary call for an encore is a hail of stamping feet that make the floor of the club rumble like an earth tremor. According to the audience, Stelar’s position as sonic trailblazer is secure.
Photos: Daniel Donovan
For further information and future events visit the Parov Stelar Band’s website here.
Watch the video for Jimmy’s Gang here: