Wednesday, 10 April 2019

On Stage: The Comet Is Coming @ Paradiso Tolhuistuin



It is good to see how some young jazz bands are able to mix modern music and jazz together into exciting musical adventures. They are appealing to a young audience and play some of the biggest pop festivals with great success. One of those band is The Comet Is Coming whose star is on the rise, to keep it in space. There's a new album out Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery and the band is touring in support of the new LP.

The Comet Is Coming at Paradiso Tolhuistuin Amsterdam, April 6 2019



The London based trio have found an exciting blend of electronica, jazz and anything psychedelic. The funky beats by Max "Betamax" Hallet and repeating freaky sax riffs by "King Shabaka" Hutchings are spiced up with spacy keys and pounding house beats by Dan "Danalogue" Leavers. It is clear why a young generation loves this, since these are great songs to dance to and the music is full of eruptive climaxes.



Once and a while Danalogue will say a few words, but mostly the band will simply keep on going, making sure the energy level stays high and the vibe never gets lost. Hutchings is working hard all night, making his sax squeak and grunt, trying to get the most out of the instrument. Sometimes the tempo goes down with gloomy dark keys that are an upbeat to more orgasmic explosions.



Even the obligatory break before the encore is kept short, so the trio can pick up as soon as possible where they left off. After 75 minutes the band plays the final note of the show, which seems to have lasted only half an hour. This wonderful trip through space sure lost any sense of time. Make sure to catch this band when you can on this tour or on any of those festivals this summer.



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Monday, 25 March 2019

On Stage: Soundgarden Lives! @ Patronaat



Last month I saw Navarone play a show in support of the new LP Salvo only a day after they played the final of The Voice of Holland. A few months before I saw them play a tribute to one of my favourite bands, Soundgarden. Now they are bringing this tribute closer to home and are visiting the Patronaat in Haarlem.

Soundgarden Lives! at Patronaat Haarlem, March 23 2019

Last year the band also played a string of covers on Dutch radio, ranging from Queen to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. They proved there what a versatile band they are and hopefully were able to convince people to go check out their own music, which is top notch as well. Tonight is actually a Chris Cornell tribute since they will also play songs from his other bands like Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, and from his solo career.



Playing these heavy rock songs alone is already quite a challenge, since Soundgarden didn't play middle of the road straightforward rock. Instead they used odd time signatures, changed them throughout songs, played complicated guitar lines and used complex song structures. If that alone isn't enough of a challenge, Chris Cornell had one of the most impressive voices in rock with unbelievable power and an incredible range. Fortunately Navarone have Merijn van Haren who will leave everyone stunned with his amazing vocals.



Why they decided to play with several other singers is therefore a bit of mystery to me. Tonight they are joined by actor Frank Lammers, The Charm The Fury singer Caroline Westendorp, Delain's Charlotte Wessels, Wudstik, and their own guitar tech Bas Wienhoven. Especially Wienhoven, former singer of local Nijmegen band The Liquid Machine, does a very good job. Lammers of course is an actor and knows he's not able to come even close to Cornell, but still turns his performances into lively ones.



But none of these singers is able to do Cornell justice like van Haren does. His voice and range are perfect for the difficult vocal parts of these songs. The rest of the band are impressive too as they work their way through the complex heavy rock songs with great ease. It all sounds very tight and it is obvious they enjoy playing this repertoire. I've been fortunate enough to see Soundgarden and Chris Cornell play a few times and it is sad to realize we will never hear them play that music with him. But it is great to hear this music live again, performed by a band who can make it sound so well.



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Monday, 18 March 2019

On Stage: Raggende Manne @ Melkweg



The Dutch word "raggen" means something like "to romp". Dutch band Raggende Manne are a phenomenon that is hard to explain. Their wild punk free jazz, or "hectic punk jazz" as they call it, with Dutch lyrics that are mostly absurd, is one of a kind. The band has been romping around for over thirty years although they disbanded end of the nineties until their return in 2013. They had a new album planned with an accompanying tour, until disaster struck.

Raggende Manne at Melkweg Amsterdam, March 16 2019



Before they could release the new LP Alles Kleeft and start their tour, singer Bob Fosko got diagnosed with stage four cancer. He decided that he doesn't want to make a big drama out of it and go ahead with the tour as long as he feels fit enough. A changing bunch of guest singers is helping him out every night in case his voice plays up. Tonight they are Ro Krom, Theo Wesselo and actor Bert Kuizenga. For the rest the band just wants to play and throw one of their insane parties like they always do.



Tonight there's simply no room for sadness. Fosko looks in pretty good shape and cracks a few jokes about his disease. For the rest the band and their singers turn the place upside down. Think of it as a two hour punk show, compressed into a single hour. It may all seem a joke, but the music is actually really good. This band will run you over like a steamroller, put it in reverse and then run you over once again. That's why the shows never last really long, although tonight it seems to last a bit longer than usual. It's one of the benefits of having four singers on stage.



It's obvious everyone in here tonight is having a great time and maybe the party on stage is even the biggest. The band can't leave of course without an encore where everyone gathers on stage for the final blow. The band returns a second time and plays their first single that turned into an unexpected hit, the six seconds lasting 'Nee, da's niks'. It's a suiting end of a festive night, a celebration of a unique band.



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