Monday, 7 August 2017

On Stage: Daniel Norgren @ Caprera Bloemendaal

One of the nicest things about live music is to see a show you were not even planning on seeing and get completely blown away. This is what happened to me when I saw Swedish artist Daniel Norgren four years ago at the Into The Great Wide Open festival. Now I own almost all of his records and try to make it to his show whenever he is playing in the neighbourhood.

Daniel Norgren at Caprera Bloemendaal, August 5 2017

This time the modest Swede is playing at the beautiful open air theater Caprera in Bloemendaal, a small village at the coast of The Netherlands. The first time I was here six years ago, I saw The National play a stunning show while the rain kept pouring down. Today it is raining as well, where I was hoping for a nice summer evening. It doesn't matter too much and it certainly won't get me down.

The first couple of albums showed Norgren as a blues musician with gritty blues songs in the style of Tom Waits. He slowly moved more into Americana, country and folk territory and now seems to have found a style that really fits him. I'm not even a big fan of country and folk but there's simply something about his genuine and heartfelt music that I find irresistible. The last few albums are drop dead gorgeous with beautiful atmosperic songs that he mostly recorded with a four-track recorder all by himself. On stage he is playing solo once and while as well, or with a few friends.

Today he's playing with drummer Erik Berndtsson and his long time steady force, bass player Anders Grahn. But first they start out by just the two of them, where Grahn is playing the organ. All three musicians are versatile artists who will be playing several instruments throughout the show. While the rain has stopped, it's a very strong start of the evening where Norgren is showing his sensitive side with a few of his most captivating and breath taking songs. Slowly the music unfolds while the evening progresses and the band is cutting deep through Norgren's catalogue.

He's showing what makes him so good, which besides the wonderful songs are his way of patiently crafting his music, bringing lots of dynamics into it by using small pauses and putting a lot of variation in it. It means we hear a lovely folk song like 'Waiting For You' and later on the always amazing 'Moonshine' that sounds like a long blues jam with shredding guitar solos and wild drums, and everything in between. Norgren's voice can be soothingly soulful and gritty, adding to the variation.

At the end of the night once again he impressed me and has won people over who came here without knowing who was playing. A well deserved standing ovation leaves him with no other choice than to come back twice for a few more songs. The tree musicians watch the crowd and receive the applause with a shy smile on their faces. I simply cannot get enough of this wonderful artist and will definitely see him next time he comes around again.

All Pictures

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