The doors of the charming rhiz Wien opened once more to host the perfect party for vampiric dandies, complete with lute music and jaw harps, provided by two projects committed to keeping the eldest spirit of music alive.
It’s almost 9 o’clock and the rhiz is already packed with one of the most colourful and interesting crowds of all of Vienna. As one looks around, it’s easy to perceive the excitement vibrating out of everyone’s bodies and rightly so, because it’s not every night that you get to see one of the most interesting Dark Folk acts of the recent years. However, one question does arise and that is: how come no-one is wearing a long, dark coat and a cravat at a Jozef van Wissem gig?
The concert begins on the dot, with the sweet sounds of Alpine Dweller, an Austrian trio that surprises with the wonderful chemistry of its members and by forming a small orchestra on stage. Every song they play serves to show yet another ability of these skilled musicians, and they finish their presentation amongst a bout of cheering from the audience, the mesmerising whistling sounds that come from their lips seemingly coming from actual birds instead of humans.
Now it’s time for the main act, who is received warmly by the mesmerised crowd. There are even more people in the room, however improbable. Jozef Van Wissem’s stoic presence takes over the stage and it’s as if time ceased to exist. The harmonious sounds of a properly-caressed lute are all it takes to transport the entire audience to a time long gone, that in which, as the artist himself would say, the lute was a pop instrument.
It is almost hard to believe that this man possesses only two hands, judging by the variety of sounds he manages to produce with the aid of just one instrument and the occasional booming of his commanding voice through the microphone. One thing is clear: he enjoys what he does, and in turn inspires everyone around him to do so as well.
As the night comes to a close with one last song, responding to the audience’s cries for more, a massive sense of warm nostalgia seems to take over the room; a yearning for a time and a place long gone. However, van Wissem is here to remind us that not everything that is dead should stay that way, and that once every couple of moons, even vampires are willing to crawl out of their chambers to enjoy the transcendental pleasure of music.