Gesbach sessions | 23. November 2021
Although the Belgian singer-songwriter is best known in Switzerland for “Ayo Technology”, he relies on analog acoustics and modesty in his concerts as a trio. He draws the audience with him, and at the end of the party also, from the wonderful chairs in the concert hall.
Milo (center), Nina, and Tom even play the Christmas carol and are more than a month ahead of their time.Photos: Patrick Schmid
“After two hours we will no longer be in the same place we were at the start of the concert,” Milo says, announcing his musical journey that he is about to begin in the concert hall of the Grand Hotel Gisbach. Shortly before he came from Germany with two of his friends and band members Nina Babbitt and Tom Vanstevot. Because the track wasn’t meticulously planned in advance, the trio had to improvise along the route and accept detours—just as it happens on stage at unconductive concerts. “We play very minimally acoustically, and that leaves us with plenty of room for spontaneity and the unplanned,” explains the young star from Belgium. Even if technological advances dominate many today, the live experience remains unrivaled and will literally push you away – sometimes even from your seats.
“As a rule, concerts are held without chairs, but at this time of year the audience is more likely to be seated,” Milo notes. “The advantage is that party-goers can focus entirely on listening and experiencing.” During the audio sessions, he added background stories to the first songs – how he started playing guitar, for example, how he looked at Michael Jordan or how he fulfilled his dream of driving in the DeLorean DMC-12, the car from Back to the Future. » In this way, the musical journey intersects with the worlds of culture, sports and cinema and does not exclude Milow’s big hits like “You and me”, “You don’t know” or “Howling at the Moon”. However, the cover version of “Ayo Technologie” is better known in Switzerland. With this, the musician celebrated the greatest success outside Belgium. With this song at the latest, chairs are surely forgotten, and Milow is happy that his predictions came true on time halfway through.
At his concerts, he’d always stand up by himself, among other things to breathe or relax, says Mello. It would also apply to Nina Babbitt and Tom Vanstevot, who have been on the road with the singer-songwriter for nearly 15 years. The trio surfs quite symmetrically, like in some kind of wave, so each disconnected session is completely different. “That’s what makes the live experience so special,” Milo says. You can capture a concert with sound and film, but no matter how well you perform, you can never get close to the original. “Live music fills all the senses, not just the eyes and ears,” says the musician, explaining the effect. Because of this special atmosphere, when watching the recording, some think, “Damn, I wish I was there!”
Milow stands at his concerts, among other things due to breathing or relaxation.
I was there
Milow is convinced that even if technology affects many things in life, this lived experience does not replace it. This attitude is manifested in the music, which is nourished by two guitars and three vocals, complemented by a few clicks. “It’s hard to feel inspired by an empty room with cameras,” Milo says of the digitally broadcast parties. So you can bridge the past few months, but now you’re noticing more how people crave live experiences. Like here at the Grandhotel Giessbach, for example. The band proves that you can kick off here every once in a while with a new Christmas song, in which you’re more than a month ahead of your time.
Today in the banquet hall you can find wooden chairs that have nothing to do with the original furnishings of the historic house.
Carved from the right cloth
Since the first session with Philipp Fankhauser, the Gesbach sessions experience included not only the small theater with carpets, but also about 250 wooden chairs with red covers. They’ve only been here for a few decades now, and some of them had to be phased out already. In the rest of the hotel, original chairs from the Wilhelminian era can still be seen in some places; Professionally inspected and restored. In order to fill in the gaps, the Grandhotel Giessbach is gradually turning to a reinterpretation of the original chairs by the traditional Horgenglarus. “People are getting taller, and there are additional requirements for jobs,” explains Marco Wenger, former managing director and acting member of the board of directors of the oldest manufacturer of chairs and tables in Switzerland. “Comfortable and elegant chairs still represent a hotel as, say, kitchen creations,” he says.
For Marco Wenger, member of the board of directors of traditional Horgenglarus, …
… the appropriate chairs represent a hotel in addition to its kitchen.
ready to take off
Before the session began, the Giessbach team lined up chairs. In this way, all spectators have a good view of the stage that has been set up in the middle of the hall since the first session with Philipp Fankhauser. Hannes von Allmen of the technical team is in charge of the furniture, and they reach out to align the rows perfectly and make registered guests more welcome. “Experience shows that even at quieter parties, the audience likes to get up from their seats to dance along,” says the music technician. He expects the same from Milo’s songs, some of which he knows. Needless to say, the chairs wouldn’t line up in the same place anymore. Because – as Milow declared in the best experimental way before the concert – after the last apparition tones have worn off, the people in the concert hall also turn from Milow’s music appear in the universe and find yourself in a different place.
Hannes von Allmen takes care of the furniture and lines up the chairs with Milow before a Giessbach session.
Between songs, Milow tells backgrounds and stories from life.
The Belgian used to be as big as Michael Jordan.
Driving a DeLorean car, as in Back to the Future, was once his dream.
The hall is poorly lit.
The belt is mainly lit with spots at the back.
For the trio, the stage feels bigger than the day before with James Morrison and the nine-member band.
The three friends and band members get along and can compose music and improvise together like a wave.
Nina Babbitt sings in the background and allows percussion instruments to sound.
He convinces Tom Vanstifvot with his guitar playing in addition to his voice.
The audience celebrates the trio and is pleased with its numerous apparitions.
Light Luggage – The band takes a number of guitars with them on their trip.
With the appearance of Milow (center), hotel manager Mark von Weissenfluh also fulfilled his companion Josiane’s wish.
The Grandhotel Giessbach is opening the doors for another session with Sina this year.
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