Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Good Vibes with El Pino & The Volunteers

Around the time Dutch band Johan announced they were going to call it quits a year ago their drummer Jeroen Kleijn joined El Pino & The Volunteers. Being a big fan of Johan and Kleijn's drum playing I checked out this band and liked it right away. Their last album is full of beautiful songs and well produced. Their folk/americana music should please many people especially with the increased interest for this genre in the past year fronted by bands like Grizzly Bear and Mumford & Sons. Although I'm not a fan of this genre something in this band's music really works for me. But somehow El Pino remain a relative unknown band to my surprise that are still playing the smaller venues like Bitterzoet this time.

El Pino & The Volunteers at Bitterzoet Amsterdam, November 27 2010 (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
When we enter the club it is still pretty empty. Fortunately it slowly starts to fill up during the support act. When it's time for the main band the place has filled up for around three quarters. But it's a place with a lot of character and most people look like they are real El Pino fans so it has turned into a nice atmosphere. The band members take the stage and start to play their delicate melodies. The stage is quite small and the lighting is pretty basic so keyboard player Job Roggeveen and especially drummer Jeroen Kleijn are hidden in the back and in the dark for most of the show.

The songs of El Pino are full of harmonies and all have a sensitive touch. The band puts down layers of great sounding melodies. Guitar player Tjirk Deurloo knows how to fill in just enough guitar to give it that characteristic americana sound while David Pino's vocals add just enough emotion without sounding too sentimental. And of course bass player Mark van der Waarde and Deurloo's tasteful harmonies are the finishing touch. The beginning of the show the band seems a bit detached especially because in front of the stage there's an empty space. But David Pino asks everyone to come closer and loosens up during the show. He's always interacting with the crowd and is definitely in control of the band.

They don't play a very long set but everyone's listening and watching attentively due to the variation in tempo in the their set. There's even room for a bit of dancing now and then. Inspired by the dark and cold weather outside they start their encore with a Christmas song. A few more songs follow before it's time to get back in the cold. But all warmed up by the music that won't be a problem. This band really deserves to be a lot bigger than they are now. Check them out when you get the chance.

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