Wednesday, 15 August 2018

New Sounds: Oh Sees - Smote Reverser

John Dwyer's musical output is still one of the highest in the industry and following Oh Sees' two record last year, there's now a addition to their catalog. Smote Reverser will be released at the end of the week and you can already listen to it now a few days ahead:

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Kliko Fest 2018

It's becoming a tradition that we visit the annual Kliko Fest in Haarlem, a garage punk rock 'n roll night festival at the Patronaat venue. It simply is such a fun night every year with a solid line-up, a wonderful audience and cold beers. This year the line-up simply looks amazing so we definitely couldn't miss it.

Kliko Fest 2018 at Patronaat Haarlem, July 14 2018

Nick Oliveri Band

I was surprised to see Nick Oliveri opening the night at the main stage, since most people don't come this early. Indeed there isn't a huge crowd yet, but this doesn't bother Oliveri for a bit. He's playing with his friends of the Dwarves, except for Paul Cafaro, who play the same stage after this one. Cafaro does have a guest appearance halfway the set. Oliveri gives us a walkthrough of his career playing songs from Mondo Generator, Dwarves and other solo projects. The bass player knows his way around the stoner, punk rock and heavy rock and has quite a respectable catalog to choose from. When he plays Queens of the Stone Age's 'Millionaire' it is clear though, the period he was in that band and earlier on in Kyuss, was his finest hour.

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Equal Idiots

Belgian band Equal Idiots are a really fun garage rock duo with catchy songs that are irresistible. The two young musicians have a contagious uplifting stage presence which makes their music even more fun to watch. Their energetic performance turns the small Patronaat cafe into a sweaty rock 'n roll spot and I'm sure they have made new friends tonight. As they tell themselves it's amazing so many people showed up while The Dwarves are playing the main stage at the same time.

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We catch the last part of Dwarves, the punk rock band founded by Paul Cafaro that Oliveri's has been part of once and a while as did many other members. They are considered one of the last true punk bands and formed in the late eighties. Of course the band has aged a bit but are trying hard to relive their golden years with a mix of their punk and hardcore songs. It turns into a festive show with a more than willing crowd and a wild pit in front of the stage. A not so well aimed stage dive by one of the audience members causes a bit of a scare but later we see the guy limbing towards the ambulance with a grin on his face. It's just one of those crazy wild parties that can happen at Kliko Fest.

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Los Mirlos

And so on this festival you can find yourself with a Peruvian psychedelic Kumbia band. This turns out to be a very tasty mix and the 45 year old band draw a rock crowd that can appreciate a tropical party. There are only a few older members in the band left, but together with their younger fellow musicians they are treating us to a hot Kumbia show that here and there has some ska ingredients. The band is clearly enjoying the crowd and the warm welcome.

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Birth Of Joy

Dutch band Birth of Joy seem to fit in at any kind of music festival around. They are playing big rock festivals but are also able to impress people at blues festivals and tonight heat up the main stage over here. This band has grown so much since their first album Make Things Happen almost ten years ago and only get better. Their sound has matured and these guys are amazing musicians with a stunning performance that knocks everyone off their feet. Another win for this must see band.

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The Mystery Lights

On the second stage The Mystery Lights are killing it tonight with bouncing ball Mike Brandon leading the pack. They are firing off vintage style garage rock songs and make them sound alive and fresh. We're watching the band from the balcony who are playing on the scarcely lit stage. The active Brandon is hardly standing still and the lively performance is wonderful to watch and puts a smile on many faces.

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We continue the party at the main stage where FIDLAR are turning the hall into one wild pit. Shoes are flying around, people are flying around and everyone on and off stage is having a good time. FIDLAR's songs may not be the most original or subtle but you can give these guys a call when you want to have a good time. Sometimes it's just fun dancing along to songs about beer.

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ET Explore Me

The further the night progresses and the more beer is flowing the better the bands get. Local heroes ET Explore Me are giving a wild rock 'n roll show with a crazy organ flying loose. By now at every stage you turn to, people are dancing and enjoying the hell out of this festival. This band gives them exactly what they want so everyone can continue to boogie.

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Oh Sees

For me Oh Sees, or OC's or Thee Oh Sees, or whatever name John Dwyers's group goes by these days, is the biggest name on the bill. I'm surprised to see it is less crowded than the FIDLAR show. Maybe it's the time of the show, since it is already getting late, although this is a night festival of course. Besides changing their name, the band fortunately hasn't changed a thing about their music which is still to the point. This band simply are one of the best on the scene, with all musicians including the two drummers lined up at the front of the stage. The group is playing extremely tight, with a show that has an incredible tempo and never dies down. Tonight they are playing with a lot of power and are tearing down the roof one more time. Definitely the highlight of the night, which is already full of incredible performances.

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Although there are still some bands playing, we call it a night and leave on a high. Kliko Fest is one of the best rock festivals around with the coolest, dirtiest and most fun bands around and without a doubt one of the best crowds. The vibes are so good here and people come here to simply have the best time and party like there's no tomorrow. We are definitely coming back next year again.

Al Pictures

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Saturday, 7 July 2018

On Stage: Elvis Costello + De Dijk @ Royal Park Live

In the middle of the Netherlands there's a big palace Paleis Soestdijk that used to belong to the royal family. It was sold a few years ago and is now put to better use since they are throwing concerts in the summer on the big lawn of the palace. This year one of those nights had De Dijk and Elvis Costello lined up and I don't need a lot more reasons to visit the place.

De Dijk + Elvis Costello and The Imposters at Royal Park Live, Soestdijk July 5 2018

We arrive at the palace about half an hour before De Dijk will play their set and explore the grounds a bit. The park in front of the palace has been transformed in a small festival site with some food stands and bars, including the big queues that seem to be normal these days. A quick burger and a beer is all we need to get ready for one of our favourite Dutch bands.

De Dijk

Of course after seeing them so many times De Dijk doesn't have a lot of surprises any more. But I usually see them play clubs where their most dedicated fans are visiting. Today they are working a crowd that aren't hard core fans but visitors that are coming for a fun night out or are here to see the main act Elvis Costello. It's nice to see though how the band can even get a crowd like this excited for their Dutch soul, blues and rock music. The band is having fun playing their biggest hits for an hour in the sun. These songs are hard to resist and songs that are over thirty years old now are still not outdated and sound wonderful. Great start of this royal night out I'd say.

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Elvis Costello and The Imposters

I've always wanted to see Elvis Costello play, since I think he's a wonderful singer and musician. On stage he's an entertaining story teller that is linking short stories to the songs or is simply joking around a bit. The first part of the show has a couple of his hit songs although he's holding back a bit. His band is amazing and Costello's voice sounds wonderful. He's showcasing this when halfway he performs songs like 'Alison' and 'She' solo and lets his voice shine in slow melancholic songs.

At this point the show goes from entertaining to superb where Costello is totally in his element. When the band returns the show shifts into overdrive with his greatest hits like ''Pump It Up' and 'I Want You'. It's even stopping the part of the crowd that has been chatting the whole night, hardly paying attention what is happening on stage. After almost two hours the band closes the night with '(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding'. Costello played a strong show tonight with a set that was building up nicely. It's even more impressive when we hear later that he had to cancel the rest of his tour because his recovery from surgery a few months earlier is harder than he thought and he needs more rest.

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It's been a fun night with beautiful music and weather although I didn't like the large part of the crowd that only came here to drink and chat with their friends and apparently didn't care too much about the music. I suggest they find a park that is free and bring some drinks instead of spending a lot of money on a concert night and annoy everyone with their boring stories.

All Pictures

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