Sunday, 10 December 2017

On Stage: Triggerfinger @ Melkweg

A few years ago Belgian band Triggerfinger recorded a live album Faders Up 2 at the Melkweg Amsterdam. The band had a major breakthrough year in our country and it seemed right to record the album with the Dutch fans. That love has not faded since, but only grew stronger. Now they return to the same venue with their new album Colossus.

Triggerfinger at Melkweg Amsterdam, December 7 2017

On that new LP we can hear a less heavy band but a lighter one and a more pop sound. Of course they still lean heavily on big grooves but are now adding synths and clear guitars. Live they add a fourth member to be able to recreate that sound.

For the rest not much has changed. Singer Ruben Blok still is the charismatic showman that goes through his familiar rock poses with his guitar. The other showman is master drummer Mario Goossens who draws just as much of attention to his rolling drum fills, explosive solos and a good deal of cymbal chewing. Steady rock Monsieur Paul watches them with a grin on his face while plucking his big bass.

Live member Geoffrey Burton looks a bit ordinary and shy compared to the illustrious trio while he adds some mean guitar and effects to the mix. The now four headed rock monster may have a less frightening face but still knows how to roar. Although I like the new record, I notice I like the older heavier songs like ‘My Babie’s Got A Gun’ and golden oldie ‘First Taste’ better than the newer ones. But this is just my personal taste and maybe I just haven't got used to their lighter touch yet.

With three sold out shows in the Melkweg and most of the others throughout the country there are hardly any tickets to be found for any of their concerts through the lowlands. It is clear the love for this rock machine is still very strong. And what’s not to like if you’re looking for a convincing rock show where the beer is flowing? The band ends with Iggy Pop’s ‘Funtime’ and that's exactly what it is.

All Pictures

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01. Upstairs Box
02. And There She Was Lying in Wait
03. First Taste
04. By Absence of the Sun
05. Flesh Tight
06. Perfect Match
07. My Baby's Got a Gun
08. Black Panic
09. Bring Me Back a Live Wild One
10. All This Dancin' Around
11. Colossus
12. Afterglow
13. Man Down
14. Funtime

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

On Stage: New Cool Collective + Bettie Serveert @ Podium Victorie

I got a weekend at the lovely city of Alkmaar as a present and tickets to go with it for Dutch rock band Bettie Serveert at the brand new Podium Victorie. The surprise was even bigger when it turned out New Cool Collective were playing as well, who I had to miss a few days earlier because of a nasty cold. Our ticket was valid for only one band of course, but once you are in you can visit both halls. So of course I went for the surprise combo and went to see both!

New Cool Collective at Podium Victorie Alkmaar, December 1 2017

I simply cannot pass on a show by this amazing band, who just released Electric Monkey Sessions 2 which is full of amazing swinging music. This unique band were never able to disappoint me and tonight they aren't letting me down either. Big swinging grooves, sparkling horns, dazzling percussion and mind blowing guitar and piano solos, it's all there. They can go from explosive songs to sexy slow ones. Tonight we get many songs from the last couple of albums and it's hard to pull myself away halfway. But Bettie Serveert have already started and I certainly don't want to miss them.

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Bettie Serveert at Podium Victorie Alkmaar, December 1 2017

For over 25 years Dutch alternative rock band Bettie Serveert are one of the most loved bands in the alternative rock scene. And for a good reason, since they keep making very good albums and haven't lost a bit of their spark on stage. Together with their fans the band has aged well and seems to rock harder than ever. Like young dogs the group works their way through their impressive catalogue, mixing all time favourites with newer songs. The band already mentioned there's a new album coming out in the near future, which is very good news. It is promising to see that they are in very good shape.

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In the end I also manage to get back to the other hall to score a New Cool Collective album signed by all members. This has been an amazing evening and a wonderful surprise. I just love these kind of presents!
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Thursday, 23 November 2017

On Stage: Gorillaz at Ziggo Dome

Everything surrounding Gorillaz is a spectacle. The cartoon band created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett has become a big name, one that is associated with diverse and exciting music, dazzling use of multimedia and spectacular shows. Maybe the latest Humanz album was a bit of a disappointment, although I think it is still one that is very enjoyable. This summer I watched the band on a live stream of the Gorillaz festival Demon Dayz and know that tonight's show simply cannot disappoint.

Gorillaz at Ziggo Dome Amsterdam, November 21 2017

Right before the sold out show there's a happy vibe among the people and everyone is eager to see this long awaited concert. The crowd is just as colourful as Gorillaz' music, with people of different age, colour, countries and background. It is clear that this music unifies people which is a nice thing to notice. The lights go out and we hear the intro of 'M1 A1' and its familiar "hello".

Of course the big screen will show stunning visuals and parts of the music videos. It's funny to see how older videos have a lower resolution and look more grainy. In a few songs it will show the guest singers like D.R.A.M. in 'Andromeda' and Jehnny Beth in 'We Got The Power'. Fortunately there are a many guests live on stage as well like Little Simz in 'Garage Palace' and De La Soul who are firing everyone up in 'Feel Good Inc.' Peven Everett is impressive in 'Strobelite', Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz give a wonderful performance in 'Sex Murder Party'. There's so much going on that you hardly know where to look. The band is amazing with a 6 person choir giving some of the songs a gospel feel, where all musicians are working so hard and show a lot of heart.

Damon Albarn himself is looking very pleased too with the people surrounding him. He must be in heaven with so many great musicians around him, even though he's the biggest star on this stage. With his melodica he joins in on the fun as well, playing beautiful versions of 'Melancholy Hill' and 'El Mañana' back to back. What an amazing musician he is, who never fails to impress. There's a special homage to his dear friend Bobby Womack who passed away a few years back, as his face is shown in the disc shaped screen all the way up. Gorillaz are leaving no one out and let everyone join in on the fun. After twenty songs it's not over by far and we get a six song encore.

'Demon Days' closes the night with everyone going at it one more time and the screen shows the stained glass window of a church. It was a high mass today, a big celebration and a feast for the senses. Gorillaz explores the entire world of popular music and still knows how to make it sound as a whole. When we leave the venue we can only see happy faces around us. It's the magical touch of Gorillaz.

All Pictures

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01. M1 A1
02. Last Living Souls
03. Rhinestone Eyes
04. Tomorrow Comes Today
05. Every Planet We Reach Is Dead
06. Saturnz Barz
07. 19-2000
08. Superfast Jellyfish (with De La Soul)
09. On Melancholy Hill
10. El Mañana
11. Dirty Harry (with Bootie Brown)
12. Strobelite (with Peven Everett)
13. Andromeda
14. Sex Murder Party (with Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz)
15. Out of Body (with Zebra Katz)
16. Garage Palace (with Little Simz)
17. Punk
18. Stylo (with Peven Everett and Bootie Brown)
19. Feel Good Inc. (with De La Soul)
20. We Got the Power (with Little Simz)
21. Cloud of Unknowing
22. Hong Kong
23. Kids With Guns
24. Clint Eastwood
25. Don't Get Lost in Heaven
26. Demon Days

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