all words and photos: Aditya Banerjee
Scala and Kolacny Brothers performed at the 9:30 Club to an audience of 20 to 50 somethings. If you’ve never heard of Scala and Kolacny, you might recall their cover version of Radiohead’s “Creep” that was prominently featured in the trailer for The Social Network. They’ve been in the U.S. for about 3 weeks now, even performing at Coachella (if that is any testament to their awesomeness).
The group can be separated with Scala, the Belgian girl’s choir whose harrowing voices cover songs by several artists including Nirvana, Kylie Minogue, Muse, U2, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, UB40, and even Rammstein plus several original compositions from the Kolacny brothers. The Kolacny brothers is made up of Stijin and Steven. Stijin plays the role of conductor (and whose eccentric gyrations and arm movements adds to the choir’s strong contemporary approach) and his brother Steven, who performs on the piano.
The unfortunate thing about Scala & Kolacny is that the group doesn’t show tremendous range in their songs. Often, one song will blend into another – they are far too similar. But their covers are superb and their approach is original. The performance as well is a very relaxed affair, with the banter between Stijin and Steven proving to be light-hearted and entertaining.
There is a two-fold effect to Scala’s style: one is a creepy, horror-movie-esque sense of feeling while the other is almost virginal. Listening to the choir perform a cover of Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” will send a slight chill down your spine, while “21 Things I Want in a Lover” by Alanis Morissette radiates with an odd sense of innocence. Their most successful songs appear to be their covers of songs with somber lyrics that are sung evocatively – such as Radiohead’s “Creep”, U2’s “With or Without You”, and Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter”. In these examples their soft, angelic voices compliments the lyrical content of each song, especially with Steven’s performance on the piano.