Sao Paulo-based singer and songwriter Tim Bernardes is currrently on a short European tour and stopped in Amsterdam last night where he plays two shows in two different venues at the Tolhuistuin. Yesterday’s larger club room was sold out (as is today’s smaller Zonzij) and you could tell from the audience participation that parts of the Brazilian community of Amsterdam showed up for this 90-minute trip. Singing along to many of Tim’s tracks, the full room (capacity 550) was also extremely quiet during the slower ballad numbers. And since Tim was playing solo with guitar and piano exclusively, most of the evening was relatively calm and subdued.
Tim’s voice is a wonder. He can change from a flawless, beautiful falsetto to a deep bass and roaring growls in a second. He played music from his most recent LP, the 2022 “Mil Coisas Invisíveis” as well as songs from his debut “Recomeçar” (2017) and a few more rockier, powerful pieces from his group O Terno. Starting out with the peaceful “Nascer, Viver, Morrer”, he won the audience over from the very first note. It’s not easy paying attention to a solo voice/guitar/piano set for 90 minutes, but Tim managed to find a great sequence and balance. Sure, there were the crowd pleasers like “A Balada de Tim Bernardes” with its irresistible hookline when he sings “E por que não cantar?
E por que não cantando? La La La La”. And of course the warm and embracing “Fases”, both from his most recent album. But it seemed that he was able to put even more emphasis and oomph into his songs playing them in a solo vein. It was pretty impressive to witness his immense virtuosity with crossing his songs over to this incredibly attentive audience.
He also included a song which he wrote for Maria Bethânia’s last album “Noturno” (2021). On “Prudência”, he showed his exceptional ability for writing and conveying deftly crafted love songs with a twist. Switching to piano from time to time, he sometimes reminded me of Elton John, sometimes of Stevie Nicks in terms of his compositional skills. But needless to say, his way of phrasing and building suspense is impressively unique and thus, a pure joy to witness. He left us into the mild Amsterdam night with a smile on the face. London and Geneva are still on the agenda so make sure to check him out.