No band, no urge to innovate, no experiment. On the stage of the sold-out upstairs hall in Paradiso, Amsterdam, is a man with an acoustic guitar. He sings, plays chords and imitates a trumpet with his voice. The simple result is moving.
Lars Kroon, under the name Toverberg, leans somewhat towards Velvet Underground in their lovely phase (‘Pale Blue Eyes’) in the sound of his music. But the melodies sound original, as can be heard on the new album Happy Life. Toverberg successfully sails past the cliffs of clichés, collecting the subtle vocals and sweet twists along the way from, for example, ‘Graveyard’ and ‘Don’t Destroy Me’.
On the album the songs are accompanied by a band with drummer and choral vocals. Solo it sounds just as atmospheric. His gentle voice sometimes seems to approach the notes in a searching way, and sometimes tough. He plays the ‘mouth trumpet’ in the title track, and also appears to master a decent mouth trombone.
Kroon was once bassist in the band Go Back To The Zoo, followed by St. Tropez and solo project Lars and the Magic Mountain. Toverberg is his fourth incarnation. This performance at Paradiso had been postponed five times, he told the audience. He would play the show that was planned last year with sets, costumes, gospel choir and horns. After the cancellation, he chose a new route: songs that can also be performed in smaller numbers.
His lyrics celebrate this new ‘happy life’: ‘Lot’s of time to write a song’. With nice chats in between the songs and a presentation that is both vulnerable and solid, Kroon hits the audience. The audience spontaneously claps into ‘Someone To Blame’. So Toverberg still got a backing band.