Thursday, 25 May 2017

On Stage: Royal Blood @ Paradiso

Brighton rockers Royal Blood seemingly came out of nowhere three years ago when they took the music world by storm with their first album that is full of heavy rocking songs. The two musicians skipped the smaller venues and sky rocketed directly into middle size ones and the bigger stages on festivals. A few weeks back they announced the follow up album and added a show at Paradiso that already is too small for them.

Royal Blood at Paradiso Amsterdam, May 24 2017

That show sold out in no time and I was glad to have bought my tickets in the presale. Shortly after they announced a new show in November in the AFAS Live which is triple the size of Paradiso but will probably fill up quite fast as well. Two singles have been released so far off the new album How Did We Get So Dark? that will come out next month. Those tracks already revealed that the duo wasn't gonna mellow down but will continue just as loud as they did before.

And if there was any doubt, tonight it is clear that the new album will be a massive rocking record again, since they start off with two new songs that come down like a sledge hammer. They didn't change much about their formula, so much is clear, but instead perfected their sound even more. The giant wall of heavy rock has an even more firm foundation of ear piercing riffs and tight in your face drum grooves. The two are having so much fun on stage that their energy rubs off to the fans immediately.

Only once their is a slight change when a keyboard is put on stage and Mike Kerr combines synth sounds with his riffs. For the rest he is rocking the left of the stage, regularly visiting drummer Ben Thatcher at the other side. A nice touch are the lasers at the front of the stage that once and while form a light fence that separates the band from the crowd. It produces a surreal effect that works quite well.

There simply is no stopping to this band and it is clear the new record is gonna be a killer once more. Like a monster truck their show keeps rolling with high speed and shakes Paradiso with great force. People are jamming all the way to the back and without hardly any breaks the duo plays on. Without an encore the truck stops after 75 minutes, leaving the crowd begging for more. I'm pretty sure it will be a rare sight seeing them play these kind of venues again, since they have moved on to much larger ones for good.

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

On Stage: Tamino @ Melkweg

Many times when I go to concerts I will check to see who the support act is and if it's worth rushing to make it early to the venue to catch it. Sometimes I'm simply not able to make it and other times I actually make it but don't know who are opening that night. The best nights are the ones where the support act simply blows you away by surprise.

Tamino at Melkweg Amsterdam, May 22 2017

This is exactly what happened when I saw Belgian rising star Tamino play a support show about half a year ago. His melancholic music but especially his amazing voice was very impressive. He released a self-titled EP at the beginning of this month and plays the small stage all the way in the top of the Melkweg. I couldn't wait to see him again.

In his home country he's causing quite a stir already but over here he still is relatively unknown. Although small, the show did sell out so I guess more people already know about this amazing new artist after all. The charming singer starts out all by himself on stage, only strumming a guitar. His voice blows me away once again. It is so versatile with a very broad range and he seems to be able to bend it any way he likes. His songs are dark and poetic and it's hard not to bring Jeff Buckley to mind.

The first time I saw him, I did notice that it needed a bit more variation and a backup band would probably bring that. It is nice to see that is exactly what he did and he brought a drum player and keyboard player with him, that are also taking care of backing vocals. It indeed lifts his performance to a higher level and opens up his sound. The EP only holds five songs, but it is clear he is working on more. Not all songs are a hit immediately, but most of them are true gems.

Of course his first hit song 'Habibi' ends the regular set and in the encore he plays a beautiful cover version of Arctic Monkeys' 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'. 'Smile', the last song on the EP, is also the final song of the night. The wonderful song that reminds of Radiohead, is a great way to end the night. It would surprise me if this young and very talented artist won't grow into a big star in a few years time.

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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

On Stage: Alex Cameron @ Cinetol

One of the nice things about the Indiestad pass is that you will go see bands that you otherwise would probably let go by. Just one song or a description will be enough to decide to go see a show. And so I decided to go see Alex Cameron, because I saw his video for 'Taking Care Of Business' and the description mentioned the dark atmosphere of David Lynch movies.

Alex Cameron at Cinetol Amsterdam, May 22 2017

So on this Sunday night I find myself in the small Cinetol venue. The Australian musician Cameron brought three friends with him that form a curious band. A sax player, a bass player and a drum player with a Rototom addiction. Especially that last part should have given it away, that tonight we were going back to the eighties, and not the finest moments of that decade.

Because Cameron's music is far away from a dark David Lynch style, but closer to cheesy eighties B-movies. The sweet sax melodies don't really help. Cameron himself is crooning his ass off around stage, running his hands through his hair every other second or so, staring into the distance with a fake dreamy look in his eyes. It is clear it is an act he's playing with a lot of tongue in cheek, but it doesn't make his music any better, or I'm simply not getting it. In between the songs he is chatting away, mocking himself, joking about his music, telling that even his manager advised him not to release his album Jumping The Shark.

I can see why, but it's a well chosen title for his music, because he definitely put too much cheese on it. The light pop songs aren't really killers, sound a lot like each other and seem to go nowhere. Except when the band plays 'Taking Care Of Business', where dark synths sound with baritone vocals, drawing inspiration from fellow Aussie Nick Cave and this time actually bringing that David Lynch vibe. But it's the only highlight of an otherwise pale show, where his act of a failed entertainer can not win it from the mediocre music. He should simply write better songs that are at least as good as that one highlight.

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