Sunday, 18 November 2018

On Stage: Tusky @ Sugarfactory

I loved the rock band John Coffey and it was really too bad they disbanded a few years ago. Their live shows were legendary and the energy of the band was simply hard to resist. Fortunately from its ashes rose Tusky, with John Coffey's guitarists Alfred van Luttikhuizen and Christoffer van Teijlingen (now on bass), completed with drummer Bas Allein Richir and John Coffey guitar-tech Sjors van Reeuwijk. The music is still punkrock but more straightforward powerrock than John Coffey. Think about a mix of early Foo Fighters and The Offspring and you get the idea. Time to see how if this band can live up to the live reputation of its illustrious predecessor.

Tusky at Sugarfactory Amsterdam, November 16 2018

The debut album of the band Rated Gnar is promising enough just from its cover art. A pink background with a cheerful but at the same time disturbing hairy male cartoon figure and the Tusky logo as its head. Just as the cover art the songs are both cheerful and energetic but also heavy, powerful and a bit aggressive. Enough to raise your fist to any way. As if it comes as a surprise, on stage this combines into a lively rock show that checks all the right boxes.

Van Luttikhuizen and van Teijlingen have seen many stages of all kinds of sizes during their time with John Coffey. This is clear from the convincing way they play at the front of the stage and act as if they are playing a much bigger venue than the small Sugarfactory. This translates into a big ball of energy and a fired up crowd. People are crowd surfing, moshing and even form a wall of death. The music does the rest and it is clear everyone inside here is having a great time. When van Teijlingen asks for a circle pit around the sound table, people obey willingly and start running around the sound engineer who is desperately fencing off the expensive equipment. He's smiling though as he knows it is just innocent play and he knows how these shows go down.

The catchy punkrock songs are a perfect soundtrack of course for a wild night on the dance floor and Tusky's music can be regarded as such. It is rock music to have fun with and have a good time. This is exactly what the band is showing on stage as well, simply four guys having the time of their lives playing in a rock band. That's exactly the way I like it. Like their album art, Tusky is a band that is about simply having fun, but with a rough edge. John Coffey is dead, long live Tusky!

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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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