The fourth of July is a big day in the United States. For most Americans it is a day of hot dogs, apple pie, homemade ice cream, outdoor band concerts and fireworks. There are also a few people who recognize the day as commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence and signaling the birth of a nation.
This year the fourth of July will be cause for celebration of another sort in one of the great music capitals of the world. ConFused5, the popular Retro-Rock band from Salzburg, Austria will be headlining at the Rockhouse to celebrate the release of their new album "Out Of Confusion" on the internet-based record label Sellaband. Taking on the role of impresario, bandleader Markus Melms has scheduled a night to remember. On the bill will be the sensational young Dutch band So What and from Argentina, the very talented Gisel de Marco accompanied on guitar by my good friend Pieter Vos, aka Pieps.
Local boys ConFused5 always put on a memorable show but this lineup offers a wide variety of music and is Markus' way of thanking the Sellaband community for the support which made the new album a reality. So What has already raised their $50,000 recording budget and is now interviewing producers for their turn in the studio. Gisel de Marco is well on her way to the same goal and this concert could be the shot in the arm that puts her closer to her final countdown.
So who is Gisel de Marco? The tracks offered on her Sellaband profile reveal a pure voice of rich clarity and dazzling technique. The ambitious productions are still of decidedly demo quality but Gisel sings as if she is in the big room at the old A&M studios. Gisel has a mature sense of dynamics well beyond her years. Her performance on "I Wish I could Fly" demonstrates a flare for the dramatic and shows great potential for what will happen when she has the opportunity to sing on a full-blown studio production.
"I Found You" shows another side of this young singer. The vocal is engagingly performed and, as with the previous track, one could imagine Gisel really letting out all the stops. There is something a bit measured about this track but again, the potential is hugely apparent. There is real character and honesty in her voice on "All The Way." "Roma" is yet another side of Gisel. The vulnerability of this track is haunting and touches the listener in a very personal way without being contrived or disingenuous.
The last track on her Profile is an excellent collaboration with fellow Sellaband artist
Marc Supsic. Hats off to Marc for creating a beautiful soundscape to showcase Gisel's talent. A very musical effort on both their parts. Marc's tasteful writing takes Gisel in more of an alternative direction and the result opens up even more possibilities for her future endeavors.
Gisel has that special ability to make a performance exciting without resorting to kitschy pyrotechnics or simply belting at the top of her lungs. If she continues to develop along the same lines her style and technique certainly offer the possibility of a long creative career. Her command of American pop diction is very natural and she does a great job of camouflaging how difficult these songs really are to sing. One of the keys to understanding how good she can be is the quality of her background vocal parts. Most professional background singers are highly skilled and technically more advanced than the artists they sing behind. Gisel proves beyond a doubt that she can do it all.
So...who is Gisel de Marco? The tracks on her Sellaband profile show a wide range of potential directions for a young singer at this stage of development. There are traces of many influences including Celine Dion and even the renowned vocal chameleon, Marnie Nixon. $50,000 will give her the opportunity to look inside herself and, with a good production team to guide her, she will surely reveal the genuine artist inside.
If you are in the Salzburg area on the fourth of July, do yourself a big favor. ConFused5 will rock the Rockhouse with their new album and So What will give a preview of what we can expect from their own upcoming album. But come early and get a good seat. Gisel de Marco, accompanied by Pieps, will be opening the evenings festivities and she is not to be missed.