Wednesday, 15 November 2017

On Stage: Future Islands @ Paradiso

After the sudden success of their previous album Singles, Future Islands were able to come up with a new one that didn't disappoint. The Far Field wasn't a lot different but they continued where it left off and wrote another bunch of good songs expanding on their sound. By now their live reputation has been established and a fun night is guaranteed.

Future Islands at Paradiso Amsterdam, November 13 2017

Of course all eyes are on singer Samuel T. Herring who stole so many hearts with his amazing dance moves and his sincere performance. Herring is a story teller and uses music to get them across. Not just the way that songs are stories in themselves and the lyrics, but also the way he's singing them. He will portray the songs with his lively performance, stretching his hands out to imaginary people on stage, putting imaginary things in his mouth or pulling them out.

Herring, who now looks like Jack Nicholson halfway his transformation in the nineties movie Wolf, gets more and more into his role during the show, dripping with sweat after a while. The man is a delight to watch, the way he passionately performs the songs with grunts, audible slaps on his chest and his famous monkey dance. He will drop to his knees, jump up and down in faster parts and at one point slides head first to the side of the show. You would almost forget about the rest of the band who are almost invisible, playing with him in the background. It is maybe a bit unfair to them but I'm sure they are comfortable with their part in the band and the man in the spot light.

Let's not forget the music, that is both dark but also has a summer vibe to it at the same time. The warm synth sounds make sure it doesn't get all sad and desperate, but become melancholic most of the times. The tracks from several albums aren't too different from each other but still are varied enough. Of course people still react to big hit 'Seasons' but also show plenty of love for the other songs including new songs like the singles 'Ran' and 'Cave'. At several moments the applause and cheering keeps going for a long time after the end of a song, showing how much Paradiso has embraced this band tonight. Herring slaps his fist on his chest a few times to return the love.

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01. Beauty of the Road
02. Before the Bridge
03. Time on Her Side
04. A Dream of You and Me
05. Walking Through That Door
06. North Star
07. Ran
08. Balance
09. Long Flight
10. Cave
11. Through the Roses
12. Give Us the Wind
13. Ancient Water
14. Inch of Dust
15. Seasons (Waiting On You)
16. Tin Man
17. Spirit
18. Black Rose
19. Beach Foam
20. Vireo's Eye
21. Little Dreamer

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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

On Stage: Queens of the Stone Age @ Ziggo Dome

Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme seems a different person these days. He used to be quite a tough guy, even on stage, but ageing and a horrific experience during knee surgery a few years back changed him. When the world seems to be on fire, he and his band respond with a Mark Ronson produced record to dance to and forget about all the worries for a moment. So on a Sunday night we head to the Ziggo Dome to join Homme and his friends for a dance.

Queens of the Stone Age at Ziggo Dome Amsterdam, November 12 2017

This is exactly what Homme tells us during his little speeches in between songs. "Tonight is Saturday night" and "I want you to dance, drink and shagg". He wants us to forget about yesterday and to not think about tomorrow. He looks very relaxed and in a good mood. With a cigarette and a drink he declares his love for this country and city once more, calling it “the true land of the free”.

Surrounded by flexible light poles, the band cuts through their catalogue, playing a tight rock show like we're used of them. Homme's voice is clear, Troy van Leeuwen's guitar playing sparkling and the rhythm section is killing it. A few years ago when we saw drummer Jon Theodore join in for the first time, it felt completely natural and now it seems as it never was any different. What an incredible drummer that guy is and together with bassist Michael Shuman it is a killer combination. Dean Fertitia is the one who's filling up the missing pieces, adding guitar and keys.

Indeed the new songs are perfect for dancing and it is simply impossible to resist the catchy grooves of 'The Way You Used To' and 'Feet Don't Fail Me Now'. They have a more poppy sound and a lighter touch than the older material but it's not so far from a song like for example 'If I Had A Tail'. With a career spanning over twenty years, the band has evolved a lot, but still the songs from the seven albums go well together. Old ones mix perfectly with new ones and golden oldies like 'Avon' sound just as good as ever.

Homme is in a chatty mood tonight, although not all of his stories make sense. He gives out some advise or tells about what drives him now he's older. The man who is the image of cool tells us being cool is actually caring about something instead of pretending not to care. It proves the way he changed and it suits him very well. This relaxed attitude flows back into their music on their latest LP Villains and in their performance tonight. It is good to see that this band has grown so big for a good reason and I'm sure have plenty up their sleeves for many years to come.

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01. If I Had a Tail
02. Monsters in the Parasol
03. My God Is the Sun
04. Feet Don't Fail Me
05. The Way You Used to Do
06. You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire
07. No One Knows
08. Avon
09. The Evil Has Landed
10. Turnin' on the Screw
11. Smooth Sailing
12. Domesticated Animals
13. Make It Wit Chu
14. I Appear Missing
15. Villains of Circumstance
16. Little Sister
17. Sick, Sick, Sick
18. Go With the Flow
19. Head Like a Haunted House
20. Un-Reborn Again
21. I Think I Lost My Headache
22. A Song for the Dead

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Monday, 13 November 2017

On Stage: Millionaire @ Paradiso Tolhuistuin

Sometimes it is so good to find out a band will return that you haven't heard from in a while. We didn't hear from Millionaire, kind of Tim van Hamel's personal project, in around ten years. Earlier this year they were back with a new album and I got to see them twice at festivals. But now I finally could see a full show again.

Millionaire at Paradiso Tolhuistuin Amsterdam, November 11 2017

I'm sure glad this band is back since both those performances tasted like more! The one at the ITGWO festival was a bit awkward as it was in the middle of a hot sunny afternoon and not many people made it to the main stage where the band was rocking hard. Tonight the venue across the water in Amsterdam isn't sold out but has filled up nicely. 45acidbabies does a great job warming us up with hooky electro punk rock songs. We're so ready for Millionaire now on this rainy Saturday night in November!

The Belgian band doesn't need much time to warm up themselves and light the fire immediately from the start. It's good to see I'm not the only one who is eager to see them play again as people start rocking and dancing right away. Tim van Hamel is a delight to watch with his crazy moves. Better even, his guitar playing is incredible with screaming solos and big heavy riffs, backed up by a tight band.

Of course there are plenty of Queens of the Stone Age references in the groovy rock songs and van Hamel must get tired of questions about his relation to Josh Homme who helped him out in the beginning of Millionaire's career. By now he doesn't need his help any more, as he's talented and skilled enough on his own to play inspired rock music. The songs on the new LP Sciencing are catchy and heavy, and full of twists and turns that can make your head spin. Best of all they are great to dance to, so van Hamel must have picked up that from Homme.

It is simply too hard to stand still with songs like 'I'm Not Who You Think You Are' or the mysterious 'Little Boy Blue'. Of course they kick out a head splitting 'Champagne' as well. Yes, it is so good to have this band back again.

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