In 2008, the Netherlands was introduced to Moke, a Britpop band hailing from Amsterdam. Lead by the Irish Felix Maginn, the five gentleman immediately drew media attention: their sharp Beatlesque haircuts, constant frowns on their faces, sleek black uniforms, and a dark, polished and distinctive sounds. Eight years, three albums and one new band-member later, their sound is still as powerful. Tonight Moke is performing at Gebouw-T, in Bergen op Zoom.
The concert was not sold out, but the five, completely dressed in black, gentleman on stage do not seem to mind the slightest. Accompanied by a heavy cloud of smoke, Moke ascends the stage, where they start with one of the songs from their latest album, The Time Has Come. With the slow build-up of “Dreams”, Moke creates a feeling of mystery, which they continue to hold up the entire performance. Joke’s latest album clearly plays the main role tonight, because the band performs eight of their newer songs. It is a gamble, because newer songs do not always work as well, but Moke catches the attention of the audience throughout the night. The reason for this, is the skill, passion and style which the band performs with. Every song, whether it is a hit single or not, is performed with the same delight and focus. And the audience definitely notices this.
Moke’s sounds is similar to that of Editors and Interpol, with their sharp guitars and the dark, heavy feel. Especially songs from their debut album, 2008’s Shorland, such as “This Plan”, “Last Chance” and favorite “Here Comes The Summer”, fits into this style. This while their later, more light-hearted, work reminds me of U2, because of the grand compositions and the contagious energy of their performance.
But the real treasures are usually the most unexpected. During the encore, frontman Felix Magian and new guitarist Robin Berlijn perform a beautiful, acoustic version of “The Long & Dangerous Sea”. Maginn addresses the audience: “A song has to mean something. To you, but also to me.” This song, as he tells the audience, is about the period of famine in 1800’s Ireland. Thousands of Irish people crossed the long and dangerous sea, in search for food.
One thing becomes crystal clear tonight: Moke is not done yet. Not done at all. The media hype might not have followed the band, but their fans did. And judging by the success of the performance in Bergen op Zoom, this is more than enough for Moke.
This article was originally written for and published on 3VOOR12/Zeeland.