Tuesday, 13 November 2018

On Stage: White Denim @ Paradiso

Ever since I heard White Denim's album Fits I'm a fan of these talented musicians and their mind blowing songs. Their music feels like a roller coaster that rides along several rock genres and is full of crazy twists, turns and an occasional looping thrown in. Their latest release Performance is no different, so whenever they are playing in the neighbourhood I want to go see them.

White Denim at Paradiso Amsterdam, November 10 2018

The main hall of Paradiso isn't sold out, but there's a bigger turn up than I expected. It appears this band's fanbase is slowly but gradually growing. This is a no nonsense group who simply pick up their instruments and fly right into it. Singer James Petralli doesn't waste a lot of time talking in between tracks. Instead the band is playing many songs back to back, keeping the momentum going. This doesn't miss its effect, since the crowd starts to move more and more while the show progresses, the cheers are getting louder, the applause bigger and the pit in front of the stage is growing and getting wilder.

The four musicians from Texas don't seem to pay a lot of attention what is going on in front of the stage and are concentrating on their complicated music. Because this isn't your average rock band with blues rock songs, but a rock tornado that is showing us every corner of Paradiso and the rock spectrum. Prog rock, classic rock, garage rock, blues, soul, you name it, all these elements can be heard tonight. Petralli's voice is quite pleasant and packs plenty of soul and blues that totally fits the music.

I've seen this band several times now, but boy are they on fire tonight. They keep swinging punches at us and they are all direct hits. By the time they are done, they leave the crowd knocked out and gasping for air. After they played the Into The Great Wide Open Festival a few months back, I read a review where the critic called them cheesy and talked about a "fun-fair" vibe. If bands like this are playing fun-fairs, then I'm definitely going to check out some of these fairs soon.

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Sunday, 11 November 2018

On Stage: Bughouse @ Willem Twee

Dutch jazz saxophonist Benjamin Herman isn't someone to sit down and relax. He's always playing in different combinations with a variety of artists, including some of the greats but also new talent. To celebrate his 50th birthday this year, Herman is releasing three albums, next to the XXV album by New Cool Collective to celebrate the 25th anniversary of that band. One of those albums is Project S, an ode to the Citroen SM, with mellow music inspired by Fausto Papetti and Serge Gainsbourg. A second one will be a record with young talents and should come out any time now. The third one is a punkjazz album, inspired by his eighties heroes Xero Slingsby, John Lurie and James Chance. This is the music he will be playing tonight.

Benjamin Herman's Bughouse at Willem Twee 's-Hertogenbosch, November 8 2018

For this project Herman gathered young musicians Reinier Baas on guitar and bassist Peter Peskens, who you may now from Jungle By Night and The Mysterons. Legendary punk and hardcore drummer Olav van den Berg is behind the drum kit, which turns out to be a very good choice. Van den Berg adds just the right amount of power and speed to give the music that raw punk edge. It may be a combination that raises an eyebrow here and there, but jazz and punk go quite well together.

Somehow throwing a saxophone into the mix, immediately gives it a an eighties feel, the time Herman draws his inspiration from for this project. It sounds incredible and it looks like the four are having a great time playing their energetic songs. Reinier Baas has no trouble adding some dirty and distorted riffs and screaming solos, while Reinier Baas is playing heavy grooves on his bass. Van den Berg's loud, powerful and lightning fast drum grooves are the solid foundation for these hyperactive songs.

Herman looks just as comfortable in this combination as he does in any jazz group he has played in. He has developed a sax sound of his own, that is recognizable in any kind of music, including in these punk songs. The alt sax is a great fit for punk and Herman's parts and solos are spot on, giving the songs that rushing and raw feel. And of course he plays it with the same enthusiasm that we're used of him. It proves again what a versatile artist he is, with a stunning career.

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Wednesday, 7 November 2018

On Stage: Father John Misty @ Paradiso

Father John Misty, moniker for Josh Tillman, seems to be able to write lush music with great ease. He keeps releasing wonderful music and I like his relaxed style of singing and playing. His combination of rootsy folk music and blues rock seems just right for me and he is one of the few folk musicians I really like. So I was very pleased he was going to visit my home town.

Father John Misty at Paradiso Amsterdam, November 5 2018

It's a sold out show at Paradiso tonight, although it looks like people aren't really packed together. This is a good thing since this place can get really full sometimes. Without a lot of fuzz Father John Misty enters the stage and starts playing. His backing band are behind him and will stay to the back for the rest of the night. Dressed in a white suit it is clear Father John Misty is the star of the night and all spotlights are on him.

He is focusing mostly on his last two albums Pure Comedy and God's Favorite Customer with some songs from his other two albums mixed in. He ignores his life before Father John Misty completely and doesn't play any song from the period he called himself J. Tillman. I'm not sure why that is and maybe there's no particular reason behind it, although his style was different back then. In the end there's plenty to enjoy from his four Father John Misty records.

In a relaxed fashion Misty is going through his music that feels a bit like a routine in the beginning. The melancholic songs sound great though and his voice is very good and clear. When he loses his acoustic guitar and starts moving across the stage things get more lively, going through his usual expressive gestures and poses, with little dances and twirls. He doesn't say much in between songs and is not wasting a lot of time. Ballads like 'Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution' and 'The Palace' are simply gorgeous and things get more intimate in these moments. He reminds me of a combination of Billy Joel and Elton John sometimes.

It becomes clear how good is music is when you hear all these songs. During the night you lose the feeling he is going through his routines and I get lost in the music. Before I know it he has left the stage and returns for a four song encore. He takes time for a little chat, kind of going through a comedy act that is both a bit awkward as funny. Then he finishes the night with the swinging 'Date Night' off his last album, showing he's definitely able to rock as well. Father John Misty proves he's quite a unique artist with a rare talent for brilliant songwriting.

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01. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
02. Mr. Tillman
03. Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All
04. Nancy From Now On
05. Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
06. Total Entertainment Forever
07. Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution
08. Ballad of the Dying Man
09. I'm Writing a Novel
10. I Went to the Store One Day
11. Hangout at the Gallows
12. When the God of Love Returns There'll Be Hell to Pay
13. Please Don't Die
14. Real Love Baby
15. Pure Comedy
16. Holy Shit
17. The Palace
18. So I'm Growing Old on Magic Mountain
19. I Love You, Honeybear
20. Date Night

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