Monday, 20 March 2017

On Stage: Jo Goes Hunting @ Paradiso



I'm a member of the Paradiso Vinyl Club, an initiative by Paradiso to support promising new bands. The band can release a 7" single on vinyl and will play a release show at the small hall of the venue. The latest release features Jo Goes Hunting, but this band even already have their first full album Come, Future out now. I saw them play at the Amsterdam Woods festival last year and that raised my attention. I like the new album as well so time to go check them out again.

Jo Goes Hunting at Paradiso Amsterdam, March 18 2017



The band is actually the talented Jimmi Jo Heuting and who transformed his name into the band name. His last name may ring a bell, since his big brother Rocco plays in the rock band De Staat that is currently taking on the world. Jimmi Jo however is doing things a bit differently music wise, although they did play as a support act for De Staat last month at AFAS Live (formely known as Heineken Music Hall). His music is stacked with electronics, weird grooves, buzzing synths and percussion. Some tracks are groovy, danceable songs with a heavy beat, others are edgy tunes with sudden breaks and twists that will mess up your four on the floor dance moves.



To be able to play this live he is part of a five piece band, where everyone including bassist and lead guitarist also add part of the electronic add-ons. It results in layered, dynamic songs and an exciting, sometimes bewildering, performance that is most of all fascinating from start to finish. Heuting is behind his drum kit, singing at the same time, sitting at the front of the stage with his colleagues surrounding him. He will get up now and then to sing behind another mic where he can also add effects to the songs. When drum players are singing at the same time, there's always a chance that things can get static, but this is not the case here. There's plenty of energy and although the complicated music may not excite everyone Heuting shows plenty of potential and confidence to grow a bigger audience.



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Thursday, 16 March 2017

On Stage: Car Seat Headrest @ Paradiso



Last year Car Seat Headrest made one of the best albums of the year in my opinion. Teens Of Denial popped up in many year lists and was one of the few rock albums appearing high between pop and hip-hop records. I didn't see them when they played the London Calling festival last year, but fortunately the band returned to Amsterdam.

Car Seat Headrest at Paradiso Amsterdam, March 14 2017



Originally the band was supposed to be playing at the Tolhuistuin venue but by popular demand for tickets the shows was rescheduled to the main hall which is almost full. This is a small miscalculation by the programmer since the main hall is twice as big. It shows how popular the band got since the release of that great record, which is full of nineties inspired alternative rock songs about anxiety. These songs sound great with ringing guitar chords and sometimes a bit of grunge. Many find it sounds a bit like a mix of Guided By Voices and Pavement, which is definitely true.

Front man Will Toledo doesn't look like a rock star at all, but merely an anti-hero. With his skinny appearance, nerdy glasses and his suit it looks like he came straight from some mind numbing office job in a cubicle. But when the band is playing he actually is showing some charisma. When the jacket goes off later on the show and when he's doing some awkward dancing he reminds me a bit of a young version of Pulp's Jarvis Cocker.



But enough about appearances, it's the music that counts. Like on the record the music is spot on. The band is able to recreate the sound and dynamics of the record and add energy to it. Guitarist Ethan Ives powers the songs with strong riffs and solo's. Toledo's mumbling makes it hard to hear what he's saying in between songs and even when he's singing but I think they are having a good time. The atmosphere tonight breaths the nineties, not only because of the music. May people are jumping up and down, energized by the catchy rock songs. To some songs they are even singing along like the strong and popular 'Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales'. At the end the band returns for an explosive encore with 'Connect The Dots'. After that people remain in front of the stage, hoping to get some more, but the band doesn't return. You just can't get enough when it's so good. Looking forward to hearing and seeing a lot more from this band.



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Setlist:
1. Fill in the Blank
2. Vincent
3. Maud Gone
4. Destroyed by Hippie Powers
5. Sober to Death
6. Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales
7. Unforgiving Girl (She's Not An)
8. Famous Prophets (Minds)
Encore:
9. Connect the Dots (The Saga of Frank Sinatra)


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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

On Stage: Pete Doherty @ Melkweg



Whenever Pete Doherty is playing a gig, whether as solo artist or with one his bands, you have to ask yourself if and when he will show up and in what kind of state. With The Libertines about a year ago he was in pretty good shape and I really enjoyed that show. Tonight one of my close friends got me a spot on the guest list so that reduced the risk of paying money for watching a drunk Doherty on stage.

Peter Doherty at Melkweg Amsterdam, March 13 2017



I guess most people in here tonight know that chances are considerable they will see a poor performance. That question is answered immediately when Doherty stumbles on stage an hour late and starts plucking his guitar: this guy is wasted. He mumbles something about not having smoked anything but it is pretty clear he didn't spend the day drinking apple juice and eating fruit salads. He's drifting about the stage, starting songs that leave his band wondering what he's doing. Sometimes bands can absolutely save a performance when their front men or women have lost it. The Pogues were used to that and were able to play decent shows with Shane MacGowan being out of this world.



But this band tonight look like they met Doherty this afternoon in some local drinking hole and have no intentions of playing a decent show. Sometimes they look as if they really want to be at home watching the latest episode of their favourite Netflix series. The violin is completely out of balance in the mix, mostly being too loud, but even worse, mostly out of tune. This whole show is out of tune. Sometimes Doherty is able to knock out something of a song with a head and a tail, pleasing his most loyal, and mostly British fans. When his show ends we decide not to stay for the encore, but go home and forget about this waste of time. The day after I found out the encore was the best part of the show but I'm so glad I didn't pay any money to see a shit faced Doherty wasting his talent.



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