For Dutch indie pop band Coparck, a gig in Egypt was a mixed bag of surprises.
Originally scheduled for April 22, the five-man ensemble found themselves held back when unforeseen volcanic ashes crippled air traffic over Europe and consequently, the rest of the world.
In a celebratory return last Friday at Al-Azhar Park’s Geniena Theater, Coparck beat the drum for Holland’s win over Brazil in the World Cup quarter finals by belting out a short set of eclectic tunes from their past four records.
Relying on synthesizers, political undertones and an imposing stage ambiance reminiscent of Radiohead, Coparck caressed a half-full theater with a type of music rare to Egyptian concert-goers. And although they could have benefited from a non-seated venue and a bigger, slightly more engaging crowd, it seems that we will not be seeing Coparck again — sadly.
“This is one of our last shows,” Coparck drummer Marcel Van As told Daily News Egypt after Cairo’s show.
“After 10 years we decided that doing a fifth album probably could be a repeat of something we already did, and maybe after all these years we deserve something else to do, a new challenge,” he said about the band’s split-up.
While members plan to continue down the music road, they felt that it was time for each of them to do it independently.
“This is what’s very nice about music, that you can do something completely different… The other side of it is quitting after 10 years, I don’t find it very easy,” Van As, who joined the band in 2003, said.
Conceived in 1999, Coparck released their first album “Birds, Happiness and Still Not Worried” in 2001 to much acclaim in Holland and Japan.
Meanwhile, “The World of Tomorrow” from their second album “Few Chances Come Once In A Lifetime” (2005), was a favorite among Dutch radio listeners.
Carrying a futuristic connotation, “Tomorrow” paints an alternate world where humans leave the earth for a floodlit sky, bringing along their earthly possessions. It touches on both technological advancements and mankind’s inability to live without it.
“I saw the lights coming in from the clouds; cars in the sky, parking lots all around; drifting by, the world of tomorrow,” trolled Odilo Girod, vocalist and songwriter of Coparck.
Girod said that while the songs he writes center around his vision of the future and contemporary politics, he often weaves in elements of irony for subtle undertones.
On the title of their latest album “A Dog and A Pony Show” (2009), Girod said, “It’s like masking something up, making something bigger than it is. Like what the Americans did when they invaded Iraq, for instance.”
The band took the term that is a nod to touring circuses in 19th century American culture and turned into a understated, somewhat humorous, criticism of the US foreign policy, accusing it of “covering up,” “feeding the fools” and “just following the money.”
“It’s powerful and it has got a double meaning. All the songs [in this album] are layered,” Girod added, referring to weaving in samples and synthesizers.
Another hit from their last album is “A Good Year for the Robots,” which explores dehumanization and discrimination. One music blogger wrote of the man/robot starring the track’s video: “In alternative interpretations of the story of the Tin Man, his gradual dehumanization is attributed to the growing threat of industrialization at the turn of the century.”
In terms of influences and genre, the band finds it difficult to pigeonhole themselves to just one.
“We have a mixture of several styles. We have pop songs but also rock and jazz,” Girod said.
“Sometimes they call this alternative rock, but alternative rock [in pure form] leans highly on guitars, and with us it’s not mainly guitars; it’s piano, it’s samples and stuff like that,” Van As jumped in.
“Sometime we refer to Bach, Beck, maybe also Radiohead… but it’s Coparck,” he said.
Recent addition to the band, guitarist Gijs Coolen.