ON THE DATE of the one year anniversary of D’Alva’s #batequebate record, we saw an eclectic, entertaining, powerful, fun, mysterious and sexy Alex performing on the CCB stage.
Alex D’Alva and Ben Monteiro (the producer) grew up in Greater Lisbon; their fathers are both African and mothers Brazilian. Their ethnic and cultural varieties were taken on stage, and other main traits of the show were liberty and energy. Their background and cultural heritage combined with their talents creates an interesting mixture of sounds and styles which never clash. Diversity makes D’Alva’s music original and fun.
The show was a party right from the beginning and setting it off was Alex’s entrance on stage coming from the middle of the audience, while Ben Monteiro and the band kicked off with samples of Spice Girls, Ashanti in a musical-gospel style. Also the game of spotlights and Alex’s hand-gestures had the audience leaping up on their feet to dance.
There were videos showing cartoon like images of 80s’ products and concepts. The concert started off with the title “Aquele Momento” and Alex invited the audience to interact with him by singing and clapping or waving their arms in the air.
There were videos showing cartoon like images of 80s’ products and concepts. The first title was “Aquele Momento” and the audience was invited interact with the band by singing and clapping or waving their arms in the air.
The backing singer’s performance is amazing — Carolina Barreiro not only has an incredible vocal extension but also dances spectacularly well next to Alex. Together they showed off their moves in the style of Beyoncé’s Single Lady choreography.
Ben Monteiro’s musical skills are outstanding, arranging and rearranging, composing such an interesting mixture of sounds. Alex D’Alva not only impressed me with his dancing but also for his humour. For instance, Lugar Estranho was introduced with a reference to a character well-known from our generation: “people are always confusing me with the Prince of Bel-Air, but I’m the Prince of Moita”. From that point onwards it was a journey back in time, forward and back again, twisting and turning, shaking the audience all around. The tune could have well been mistaken for a Tears for Fears’s hit.
On the stage there was always something new happening, like when Diogo Piçarra’s and Isaura’s, one after the other, performed next to Alex in a duet.
The rhythmic sound, red misty lights and afflicted faces stole our hearts. “Sempre que o Amor me quiser”, a cover fome the hit in the 80s by Portuguese artist Lena d’Água, was dedicated by Ben to his mum who was in the audience. I loved the fusion of voices when Carol, Isaura and Alex sang Tu e Eu.
The next piece, “Primavera”, was introduced by him as being the most difficult in the album. The electronic atmosphere was changed to a magical brooding one; he reminded me of James Blake. The lyrics are a plea for attention towards the missing guidance and acceptance of who he really is. Will that Primavera ever come though? And his tears at the end of the song can only reveal his doubt. From my point of view those tears, made me want to hug him and reassure him that happiness comes from us and the willingness to share our individuality with others. My wish came true when Ben Monteiro run towards him to hug him on the stage, very emotional; to me it felt like that embrace was phisically representing the three decades found in one single album.
Once again the band got rid of the previous atmosphere inviting us to get back into the party mood. Ben Monteiro backing singer and at the guitar, Gonçalo de Almeida at drums; Ricardo Ramos at the keys, Simão Chaves at the guitar and Carolina Barreiro the backing singer just get you breathless. Percussions, drums and electronic sounds recreated a mix of tribal sounds and samba were silenced by final sirens and the throwing of drumsticks in the air.
Images in the back ground gave a hint of a journey through the 80s decade with the Joker, Angry Panda, Skeletor and others all became part of the liberating madness which succeeded “Primavera”. “Barulho” helped Alex and the audience move on and get the party started once again.
At the end of the chaos (“Barulho” means noise in Portuguese), D’Alva announced a surprise to the audience and asked us to check under our seats for an envelope. A woman named Mariana found it, which contained a blue ticket giving her the chance to get on the stage and have a go at the piñata in the shape of a giant hashtag which hung from the ceiling. Also, other tags appeared throughout the concert, perhaps to better reach out to the audience by using the language of social networks.
Mariana, got to wear safety glasses and after different attempts she only managed to break the stick and not the actual piñata – hilarious! Then a man volunteered, and by using a thicker stick, smashed the piñata open, letting candies spill out. At that point the audience got invited on the stage for a group photo.
All in all, their music can be enjoyed by all ages and the album “#batequebate” is just the right title chosen to describe this incredible mix of beats contained in D’Alva’s latest album.