After seeing the 5th show in 2 years of José González and the String theory, it is finally time to review them. Unfortunately the past 4 shows i did not get around to reviewing, but were mighty fine shows nonetheless! I saw them last year in Düsseldorf in January, and then in march in Los Angeles, and twice in Berlin in November. All 4 were excellent shows, but this time around they were even better!
We headed to Philharmonie in Luxembourg a little before 8 pm on october 6th and were in our seats just in time for the start of the show. A little final soundcheck of the horns and strings, and in they went! Very slowly building up the first song with white noise from plastic bags. We had center front row seats, and i was a little concerned about possible sound issues, but it was as flawless as everywhere in the room!
Seeing them a few times gave me a pretty good idea of what we’d be in for. But as they are excellent musicians, they still managed to surprise by re-shuffling the setlist which in my opinion is now the best it has been to date! Starting a little slower with a few highlights in between moving in a crescendo to an explosive finale, which was again topped by the encore, with all musicians standing as well as all of the crowd on their feet!
The stage set up is pretty classic for an orchestra show, with José González in the middle on guitar, Nackt the conductor on his right, center ring of strings, horns on the left, and backup vocals, and keyboard on the right. The back was reserved for percussion which is manned by 3 people and is a special design and construction for the string theory, producing some spaced out electronic sounding vibes with metal sheets, and resembling everything but a classical drum kit.
Over the past year of touring it is clear that each and every musician has grown closer to the others, even tough there were a few new faces, or maybe just faces i did not recall from previous shows, it felt like they were a close knit family! Whether it is Jose slowing down, the backup vocals picking up a bit, the string players holding up their instruments to use the microphones for additional vocals, or just sitting back for a second to let something else come to the forefront, Nackt picking up a power drill, or the 3 percussionist pounding away on their setup everyone added no more and no less than was required for perfection!
I for one am very much looking forward to their live album release which should be happening soon! And if you have not yet seen them, do yourself a favor, and go listen to them!