Photo by Keiko Hirakawa
Who needs a guitar to be a rockstar?
Croatia’s 2Cellos continue to take the cello places never thought possible. I’m not just referring to where they’ve taken it musically, but also where the boys have been able to travel to and perform playing their cellos. While it’s not unheard of for skilled cellists to be able to travel the world as part of an orchestra, or if you’re really elite perform a solo show, such as legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma. However, the boys of 2Cellos are breaking new ground. No offence to Yo-Yo Ma, but he ain’t never played the main stage at a premiere rock festival.
The guys got an hour in the early afternoon on Sunday to rock the main stage and rock it they did. They started a bit slow, playing something a little more classical, but after that, they dropped their YouTube smash, “Smooth Criminal” and it was all over. For the remainder of their set, along with their drummer Dusan Kranjc, it was clear 2Cellos were playing a rock festival and they intended to rock.
If someone was strolling by the stage and couldn’t see who was playing, 2Cellos could easily pass for a rock band playing loads of covers. 2Cellos played tunes from the likes of AC/DC, Nirvana, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and more. They play these tunes in a few different ways on their cellos. Their methods include using the bow in both conventional and unconventional ways, using sticks to hit the strings, using their hands to pluck strings and using pedals hooked up to their electric cellos to modify the sound. They use these methods to replicate guitar sounds, but there is still an underlying celloness that resonates.
Even though 2Cellos play mostly covers like they did today, the tunes are reworked, rearranged and fit for 2 very unique cello players. While they’re playing these rock classics like “Satisfaction”, “Thunderstruck” and “Highway to Hell”, our boys aren’t simply confined to sitting on a chair like a normal cellist. They’re up, shouting on the mic, jumping around and of course, doing Angus Young’s famed Duck Walk. How is this possible with a cello you ask? With a specially constructed harness, how else? You didn’t expect these rock stars not to strut their stuff did you?
Their Japanese fans, who have supported 2Cellos almost from the beginning, were definitely on board today too. People were singing to the instrumental versions of their favorite rock songs, dancing, jumping and there was even a bit of moshing near the front. Just because our boys play a different instrument doesn’t mean they can’t rock with the best of them. I don”t know if it was because I took in a lot of jazz over the 3 days or because 2Cellos are that good, but these two lads from Croatia, playing on a centuries old, classical musical instrument, played one of the hardest rocking sets I heard all weekend.