Sunday, 18 November 2018

On Stage: Tusky @ Sugarfactory

I loved the rock band John Coffey and it was really too bad they disbanded a few years ago. Their live shows were legendary and the energy of the band was simply hard to resist. Fortunately from its ashes rose Tusky, with John Coffey's guitarists Alfred van Luttikhuizen and Christoffer van Teijlingen (now on bass), completed with drummer Bas Allein Richir and John Coffey guitar-tech Sjors van Reeuwijk. The music is still punkrock but more straightforward powerrock than John Coffey. Think about a mix of early Foo Fighters and The Offspring and you get the idea. Time to see how if this band can live up to the live reputation of its illustrious predecessor.

Tusky at Sugarfactory Amsterdam, November 16 2018

The debut album of the band Rated Gnar is promising enough just from its cover art. A pink background with a cheerful but at the same time disturbing hairy male cartoon figure and the Tusky logo as its head. Just as the cover art the songs are both cheerful and energetic but also heavy, powerful and a bit aggressive. Enough to raise your fist to any way. As if it comes as a surprise, on stage this combines into a lively rock show that checks all the right boxes.

Van Luttikhuizen and van Teijlingen have seen many stages of all kinds of sizes during their time with John Coffey. This is clear from the convincing way they play at the front of the stage and act as if they are playing a much bigger venue than the small Sugarfactory. This translates into a big ball of energy and a fired up crowd. People are crowd surfing, moshing and even form a wall of death. The music does the rest and it is clear everyone inside here is having a great time. When van Teijlingen asks for a circle pit around the sound table, people obey willingly and start running around the sound engineer who is desperately fencing off the expensive equipment. He's smiling though as he knows it is just innocent play and he knows how these shows go down.

The catchy punkrock songs are a perfect soundtrack of course for a wild night on the dance floor and Tusky's music can be regarded as such. It is rock music to have fun with and have a good time. This is exactly what the band is showing on stage as well, simply four guys having the time of their lives playing in a rock band. That's exactly the way I like it. Like their album art, Tusky is a band that is about simply having fun, but with a rough edge. John Coffey is dead, long live Tusky!

All Pictures

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Read more!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

On Stage: White Denim @ Paradiso

Ever since I heard White Denim's album Fits I'm a fan of these talented musicians and their mind blowing songs. Their music feels like a roller coaster that rides along several rock genres and is full of crazy twists, turns and an occasional looping thrown in. Their latest release Performance is no different, so whenever they are playing in the neighbourhood I want to go see them.

White Denim at Paradiso Amsterdam, November 10 2018

The main hall of Paradiso isn't sold out, but there's a bigger turn up than I expected. It appears this band's fanbase is slowly but gradually growing. This is a no nonsense group who simply pick up their instruments and fly right into it. Singer James Petralli doesn't waste a lot of time talking in between tracks. Instead the band is playing many songs back to back, keeping the momentum going. This doesn't miss its effect, since the crowd starts to move more and more while the show progresses, the cheers are getting louder, the applause bigger and the pit in front of the stage is growing and getting wilder.

The four musicians from Texas don't seem to pay a lot of attention what is going on in front of the stage and are concentrating on their complicated music. Because this isn't your average rock band with blues rock songs, but a rock tornado that is showing us every corner of Paradiso and the rock spectrum. Prog rock, classic rock, garage rock, blues, soul, you name it, all these elements can be heard tonight. Petralli's voice is quite pleasant and packs plenty of soul and blues that totally fits the music.

I've seen this band several times now, but boy are they on fire tonight. They keep swinging punches at us and they are all direct hits. By the time they are done, they leave the crowd knocked out and gasping for air. After they played the Into The Great Wide Open Festival a few months back, I read a review where the critic called them cheesy and talked about a "fun-fair" vibe. If bands like this are playing fun-fairs, then I'm definitely going to check out some of these fairs soon.

All Pictures

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Read more!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

On Stage: Bughouse @ Willem Twee

Dutch jazz saxophonist Benjamin Herman isn't someone to sit down and relax. He's always playing in different combinations with a variety of artists, including some of the greats but also new talent. To celebrate his 50th birthday this year, Herman is releasing three albums, next to the XXV album by New Cool Collective to celebrate the 25th anniversary of that band. One of those albums is Project S, an ode to the Citroen SM, with mellow music inspired by Fausto Papetti and Serge Gainsbourg. A second one will be a record with young talents and should come out any time now. The third one is a punkjazz album, inspired by his eighties heroes Xero Slingsby, John Lurie and James Chance. This is the music he will be playing tonight.

Benjamin Herman's Bughouse at Willem Twee 's-Hertogenbosch, November 8 2018

For this project Herman gathered young musicians Reinier Baas on guitar and bassist Peter Peskens, who you may now from Jungle By Night and The Mysterons. Legendary punk and hardcore drummer Olav van den Berg is behind the drum kit, which turns out to be a very good choice. Van den Berg adds just the right amount of power and speed to give the music that raw punk edge. It may be a combination that raises an eyebrow here and there, but jazz and punk go quite well together.

Somehow throwing a saxophone into the mix, immediately gives it a an eighties feel, the time Herman draws his inspiration from for this project. It sounds incredible and it looks like the four are having a great time playing their energetic songs. Reinier Baas has no trouble adding some dirty and distorted riffs and screaming solos, while Reinier Baas is playing heavy grooves on his bass. Van den Berg's loud, powerful and lightning fast drum grooves are the solid foundation for these hyperactive songs.

Herman looks just as comfortable in this combination as he does in any jazz group he has played in. He has developed a sax sound of his own, that is recognizable in any kind of music, including in these punk songs. The alt sax is a great fit for punk and Herman's parts and solos are spot on, giving the songs that rushing and raw feel. And of course he plays it with the same enthusiasm that we're used of him. It proves again what a versatile artist he is, with a stunning career.

All Pictures

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Read more!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

On Stage: Father John Misty @ Paradiso

Father John Misty, moniker for Josh Tillman, seems to be able to write lush music with great ease. He keeps releasing wonderful music and I like his relaxed style of singing and playing. His combination of rootsy folk music and blues rock seems just right for me and he is one of the few folk musicians I really like. So I was very pleased he was going to visit my home town.

Father John Misty at Paradiso Amsterdam, November 5 2018

It's a sold out show at Paradiso tonight, although it looks like people aren't really packed together. This is a good thing since this place can get really full sometimes. Without a lot of fuzz Father John Misty enters the stage and starts playing. His backing band are behind him and will stay to the back for the rest of the night. Dressed in a white suit it is clear Father John Misty is the star of the night and all spotlights are on him.

He is focusing mostly on his last two albums Pure Comedy and God's Favorite Customer with some songs from his other two albums mixed in. He ignores his life before Father John Misty completely and doesn't play any song from the period he called himself J. Tillman. I'm not sure why that is and maybe there's no particular reason behind it, although his style was different back then. In the end there's plenty to enjoy from his four Father John Misty records.

In a relaxed fashion Misty is going through his music that feels a bit like a routine in the beginning. The melancholic songs sound great though and his voice is very good and clear. When he loses his acoustic guitar and starts moving across the stage things get more lively, going through his usual expressive gestures and poses, with little dances and twirls. He doesn't say much in between songs and is not wasting a lot of time. Ballads like 'Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution' and 'The Palace' are simply gorgeous and things get more intimate in these moments. He reminds me of a combination of Billy Joel and Elton John sometimes.

It becomes clear how good is music is when you hear all these songs. During the night you lose the feeling he is going through his routines and I get lost in the music. Before I know it he has left the stage and returns for a four song encore. He takes time for a little chat, kind of going through a comedy act that is both a bit awkward as funny. Then he finishes the night with the swinging 'Date Night' off his last album, showing he's definitely able to rock as well. Father John Misty proves he's quite a unique artist with a rare talent for brilliant songwriting.

All Pictures

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

01. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
02. Mr. Tillman
03. Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All
04. Nancy From Now On
05. Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
06. Total Entertainment Forever
07. Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution
08. Ballad of the Dying Man
09. I'm Writing a Novel
10. I Went to the Store One Day
11. Hangout at the Gallows
12. When the God of Love Returns There'll Be Hell to Pay
13. Please Don't Die
14. Real Love Baby
15. Pure Comedy
16. Holy Shit
17. The Palace
18. So I'm Growing Old on Magic Mountain
19. I Love You, Honeybear
20. Date Night

Read more!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

On Stage: IDLES @ Melkweg

There's a lot of stuff going on in the world today, lots of crazy things and a lot to get angry about. IDLES are a British band who use these themes in their music that sounds angry and urgent. At the same time it rocks very hard and their live shows are starting to become legendary as they proved on Later...with Jools Holland a few weeks back. Let's see if they can bring this to the stage at Melkweg as well.

IDLES at Melkweg Amsterdam, November 4 2018

As if there was any doubt beforehand, of course this band has no trouble taking Melkweg by storm. From the first song on this place is on fire and goes completely wild. The Bristol band play their songs with a lot of energy, chaos and madness on stage. The band members are running around stage like mad men, doing crazy dances, fronted by charismatic singer Joe Talbot. At the back drummer Jon Beavis is watching everything with a huge smile, now and then laughing out loud with some of the craziness going on around him.

But it isn't all fun and games, because the band do touch on serious ground in many songs. Talbot mentions this in some of his in between speeches. The songs are packaged in lively and savage rock songs, that are easy to scream along to. But it is clear the band is addressing serious issues that they really care about. Their music is the perfect way for them to channel this anger and frustration, and get their message across.

Talbot addresses the crowd in a relaxed manner while at the same time thanking them many times. It's obvious he is in total control of this crowd and can play them any way he likes. He is often singing to individual crowd members, as if he wants to convince every single one of them personally. He could let them tear this place apart but he settles for a a huge jumping pit in front of the stage. One moment there's a proper stage invasion that fills it up completely with wild crowd members. At the end of the song Talbot asks them kindly to leave the stage so the show can continue. Within no time the people have left the stage and the band continues playing.

Although IDLES may sound and look like a punk rock band having fun playing wild music, they prove today they have found a good balance between fun and social awareness. There doesn't seem to be a better time for their music to find its way into the hearts of many youngsters who like the band feel there is something not right in the world and need a way to blow off steam. What better way than to go crazy with IDLES?

All Pictures

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

01. Colossus
02. Never Fight a Man With a Perm
03. Mother
04. Faith in the City
05. I'm Scum
06. Danny Nedelko
07. Divide & Conquer
08. White Privilege
09. 1049 Gotho
10. Samaritans
11. Television
12. Great
13. Love Song
14. Benzocaine
15. Exeter
16. Cry To Me
17. Well Done
18. Rottweiler

Read more!

Monday, 5 November 2018

On Stage: Rolling Blackouts CF @ Paradiso Tolhuistuin

Melbourne band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released their second album Hope Downs earlier this year and it is one of the most fun albums of the year. Their light summery garage rock is catchy and clever at the same time, while the band themselves are known for lively shows. Time to find out myself.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever at Paradiso Tolhuistuin Amsterdam, November 3 2018

The venue gets dark at the start of the show and disco balls turn on while we hear The Style Council's 'Shout To The Top'. It's a cheerful start of the night that is about to only get better. Because Rolling Blackouts CF turn out to be a wonderful and tight band that also pack plenty of musical talent. Their songs may just seem straightforward happy rock songs on the surface, but actually are really clever when you listen closely.

The group is effectively using the two electric and one acoustic guitar, resulting in nice melody lines that are playful. Combined with the tight rhythm section the music is very pleasant on the ears and sounds fresh and sparkling. The three guitar players, Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White, take turns at vocals and all three of them are actually quite good singers, which is pretty rare. Sometimes the guitars just keep on ringing, stretching the songs into never ending irresistible dance tunes.

Now and then the disco balls will start spinning and flashing again as if the band is opening the dance floor once more. Dancing is exactly what is on everyone's mind this Saturday night and the music doesn't miss its effect. The band puts so much joy, energy and heart into their show, that it electrifies the room and everyone that is in here tonight. They mention that they are definitely going to party tonight in Amsterdam, but it is clear the party already has started early.

All Pictures

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Spotify

01. The Hammer
02. Clean Slate
03. Wither With You
04. Talking Straight
05. Sister's Jeans
06. Sick Bug
07. An Air Conditioned Man
08. Colours Run
09. Exclusive Grave
10. Bellarine
11. Julie's Place
12. Mainland
13. Fountain of Good Fortune
14. French Press
15. Time in Common
16. Wide Eyes
Encore 2
17. Heard You're Moving

Read more!

Sunday, 21 October 2018

On Stage: Daniel Lohues @ Patronaat

Twenty years ago, Dutch troubadour Daniel Lohues was in a fun rock band called Skik. They had quite some success but Lohues has wandered into different directions since then, exploring his blues side and for the past decade playing wonderful folk music in theatres. I like Lohues a lot, who is a very skilled and creative song writer with lots of musical talent and a gentle attitude. During the recording of his last album, he noticed he had a lot of fun playing in an electric band again so he decided to do a little tour.

Daniel Lohues at Patronaat Haarlem, October 19 2018

For this occasion he changed the arrangements of his mostly acoustic solo songs, always in his local dialect, so they are suitable to play for a rock band. They don't need a lot of changing, since tonight proves his songs are so strong they can be easily played by a full band without losing their edge. Lohues also chose them wisely, where he knows some of the more light weight ones are perfect to rock out to and some of his most delicate ones can be turned into beautiful ballads.

Of course the blues is never far away either, where his blues adventure quite some time ago pays off again. Lohues and his band are clearly having a hell of a time throwing smiles around to each other and the big man himself plays his solos with a huge grin, now and then making funny faces. He gathered a bunch of amazing musicians around him, that he got to know throughout his impressive career.

The audience is clearly old enough to know him from his Skik times, when he was still a young rocker, living a boy's dream. Every Skik song is greeted with loud cheers and makes the crowd dance to the fierce rock songs. Now he's the veteran musician, who has seen every side of the business and was able to find a way to make a good living out of it and still stay true to himself. Nowadays he's writing the music he wants to for himself and other musicians and is a respected producer. And whenever he wants to rock hard again he just gathers his friends for a night of good old fun rock and roll.

All Pictures

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Spotify

Read more!

Monday, 15 October 2018

On Stage: Graveyard @ Melkweg

A few years ago Swedish rock band Graveyard went through some hard times and eventually even called it quits. I really like the band so I was disappointed the group couldn't go on. But then only a year later suddenly they regrouped and started playing again. Now there's a follow up album Peace and the band are touring Europe, which brings them to Amsterdam once more.

Graveyard at Melkweg Amsterdam, October 12 2018

Before they disbanded the band was able to sell out the big hall of the Melkweg and were ready for the next step to bigger venues. Now they are playing the small hall which is not completely sold out although it is almost full. It is striking to see that only a small pause can kill your momentum, even though the band has not lost their game.

Since the foursome keeps doing what they have been doing all the time: playing genuine and honest hard rock and blues songs with a lot of heart. I like their ability to rock hard and loud while at the same time play gorgeous touching ballads. It is wonderful to watch singer Joakim Nilsson sing those songs so convincing, pouring everything he has in it. Mostly with his eyes closed and his head bent to the side, he's totally in the moment, forgetting everything around him.

It never gets soggy though, since the band shifts into the highest gear often as well, rocking hard. It is these smooth changes and dynamics, combined with a very tight band, that makes this band so good. The new songs aren't too different from the rest, maybe even a bit heavier. I can't imagine this band won't grow any bigger again and move to larger venues the next time they will be visiting. I just hope they will stick around and keep visiting my home town.

All Pictures

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | MySpace | YouTube | Spotify

01. Walk On
02. Please Don't
03. The Fox
04. Hisingen Blues
05. Uncomfortably Numb
06. Cold Love
07. Buying Truth (Tack & Förlåt)
08. Hard Times Lovin'
09. An Industry of Murder
10. From a Hole in the Wall
11. Bird of Paradise
12. Goliath
13. Magnetic Shunk
14. Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)
15. Ain't Fit to Live Here
16. The Siren

Read more!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

On Stage: U2 @ Ziggo Dome

I've been a U2 fan for many years and attended every tour since the Lovetown Tour back in 1990. But they lost me musically long time ago and after the 360 tour I thought I had seen enough. So three years back when U2 released Songs of Innocence and kind of pushed it down our throats I decided to skip the accompanying Innocence + Experience tour, but was sorry I did after reading the reviews. I kind of found back my love for the band after last year's The Joshua Tree tour. When they released Songs of Experience that same year, I really wanted to see the accompanying Experience + Innocence tour.

U2 at Ziggo Dome Amsterdam, October 8 2018

That alone is quite an effort since it's not so easy getting tickets to a concert of one of the biggest rocks bands in the world playing a relatively small venue for such a big band. Fortunately I managed to land a few tickets and so we find ourselves at the Ziggo Dome on a Monday night, staring at something that looks like a narrow long cage. Of course this is U2 so when the concert takes off, the cage turns out to be a bridge with huge screens to either side. The band appears on the bridge to kick it off with a new song 'The Blackout'.

The bridge can go up and down, tilt so it becomes a slope and it connects the main stage with a smaller round stage at the other end. The huge screens flash on sometimes to show accompanying images or colours or to send some of the political messages the band always has been known for. It is a spectacular setup, but it does take away the focus from the band. I see many people watching the screens to their side while the band is playing on the main stage in front of them. But of course U2 has never been a band to keep things small.

I do like the story they are trying to tell about these four Irish boys that started a band, became bigger than anything else and even flew too close to the sun at one point. While Bono tells this story he's not shying away from self-criticism, even bringing back MacPhisto. So we have a big show, a story, but what about the music? It is clear their finest musical years have been long gone and the new songs mostly are mediocre attempts to stay in pace with the current music scene. 'Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way' sounds modern and has a beautiful theme, but simply doesn't even come close to the likes of 'Acrobat' or 'New Year's Day'. It sounds more like a filler song on an album by a band trying to be Coldplay.

Their most outstanding album Achtung Baby is heavily represented tonight, which makes sense since it holds their most daring and exciting music. During 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)' the members of the band couldn't be further apart with Bono all the way on the small round stage, Adam Clayton and The Edge on small risers to either side of the floor and Larry Mullen Jr. remaining on stage all by himself. I happen to be only a few meters away from The Edge which is very nice of course but at the same time it feels a bit awkward to see the member so wide apart, fully detached from each other.

It is clear this band still is at its best when playing their finest songs. Not necessarily their biggest hits but simply their best music. Unfortunately in all fairness there are only a few songs coming out of the past two decades that are part of that. However new song '13 (There Is A Light)', with Bono holding on to a big light bulb, proves the band hasn't completely lost their ability to write a good honest song. Maybe one day they can come up with an album again that is full of these little gems. In the end most fans here tonight don't care about all of this and got what they came for: a spectacular show by a band that still is one of the biggest ones around playing some of their favourite songs. And I am mostly one of them.

All Pictures

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

01. The Blackout
02. Lights of Home
03. I Will Follow
04. All Because of You
05. Beautiful Day
06. Zoo Station
07. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
08. Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
09. Elevation
10. Vertigo
11. Even Better Than the Real Thing
12. Acrobat
13. You're the Best Thing About Me
14. Summer of Love
15. Pride (In the Name of Love)
16. Get Out of Your Own Way
17. New Year's Day
18. City of Blinding Lights
19. One
20. Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way
21. 13 (There Is a Light)

Read more!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

On Stage: Damien Jurado @ De Duif

At the Into The Great Wide Open festival over a month ago, Damien Jurado was supposed to pay the island a visit but unfortunately had to cancel his tour. He picked up his tour again shortly after which brings him to the church De Duif tonight.

Damien Jurado at De Duif Amsterdam, October 5

Only two chairs are standing across from the altar, together with a single microphone. Most of the night he is accompanied by Josh Gordon who is playing nice ringing melodies on his guitar to combine with Jurado's guitar chords. I like Jurado's voice and his calm way of playing songs. His music has something relaxing, like a light summer's breeze but at the same time can have something dark or sad. It is this combination that works for me.

Jurado looks like a serious guy and his songs are not really happy. His little speeches in between are a bit awkward but are quite funny. It even turns a bit jolly now and then, but before things get too cheesy, Jurado starts playing another one of his beautiful songs. For the second time this week I'm impressed with the audience who are keeping very quiet and let the music do the talking. So we can enjoy beautiful songs from his new album The Horizon Just Laughed and older ones like the well-known 'A.M. AM' He also plays some covers halfway the set.

For the last couple of songs, Gordon leaves and Jurado continues all by himself. Somehow things now get more intense and this only makes songs like 'Over Rainbows and Rainier' even better. The crowd doesn't want to let Jurado go so he returns and plays another three songs in the encore. This was a wonderful evening with an incredible musician that can keep an audience to stay quiet for almost two hours with just a guitar and gorgeous songs.

All Pictures

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

01. Dear Thomas Wolfe
02. Allocate
03. Percy Faith
04. The Last Great Washington State
05. Cindy Lee
06. 1973
07. Marvin Kaplan
08. When You Were Few
09. Random Fearless
10. Birds Tricked Into the Trees
11. The Novelist
12. Beautifulheart
13. Hello Sunshine
14. A.M. AM
15. Exit 353
16. Over Rainbows and Rainier
17. Sheets
18. Shape of a Storm
19. Kola
20. Museum of Flight
21. Metallic Cloud
22. Return to Maraqopa

Read more!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

On Stage: Suede @ Paradiso

One of the few bands remaining from the golden britpop generation in the nineties is Suede. The band never reached the same heights as Blur or Oasis but always managed to come up with great music and earned their spot in music history. The band keeps releasing very good albums and it's been a while since I've seen them for the last time. It's a good excuse to head to Paradiso on a Monday night in October.

Suede at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 1 2018

A transparent curtain is closing at the front of the stage, before the show starts and Suede kicks off with 'As One', the lead off track of the new album The Blue Hour. The band members are throwing large shadows on the curtain while playing behind it, partly obscured. Singer Brett Anderson is at the front making contact with the crowd through the curtain while singing "Here I am / talking to my shadow". It has a mysterious effect and it's a nice touch. When the curtain is drawn, the band is picking up speed.

They play a very tight show with a lot of variation: big bangers are alternating with more emotional and slower songs. Anderson's voice is pretty good at the start but is fading throughout the show as if he's losing it. Especially the high notes have turned into hoarse cries towards the end. It doesn't seem to upset Anderson for a bit, who keeps on going with incredible energy.

He's a charismatic front man who is unmistakably the front man of this band. Although the other members are playing more in the background, they are important to the sound of the band. Especially guitarist Richard Oakes is playing stunning riffs and solos, seemingly with great ease. For 'All The Wild Places' Anderson remains on stage all by himself with an acoustic guitar. It is very rare these days, but the audience is dead quiet when he's playing the beautiful song. Later on during one of the new songs 'Flytipping', the sold out venue is completely quiet again. Many kudos to this crowd for giving this band the attention they deserve.

Of course they can't leave without playing big hit 'Beautiful Ones' in the encore and the band closes the night with 'Life Is Golden', while bathing in golden light. This new song could easily grow into a fan favourite and a is a good end to a good show. Even though it wasn't a perfect one, it was one that totally underlines the skill and quality of this amazing band.

All Pictures

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

01. As One
02. Wastelands
03. Dawn Chorus
04. Outsiders
05. The Drowners
06. We Are the Pigs
07. So Young
08. It Starts and Ends With You
09. Tides
10. Roadkill
11. She
12. To the Birds
13. Filmstar
14. Metal Mickey
15. Trash
16. Animal Nitrate
17. All the Wild Places
18. The Invisibles
19. Flytipping
20. Beautiful Ones
21. Life Is Golden

Read more!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

On Stage: MIEN @ Sugarfactory

The members of new band MIEN may sound familiar, since the band consists of The Black Angels‘ Alex Maas, The Horrors‘ Tom Furse, Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dhir and The Earlies’ John Mark Lapham. They met on several different occasions which resulted in this collective, who are looking for a The Velvet Underground with Nico sound, reimagined by their respective bands. The result is a psychedelic journey rooted in the sixties. The group is now on a small tour that also crosses my hometown.

MIEN at Sugarfactory Amsterdam, September 25 2018

The show has been moved from the Melkweg to the smaller venue Sugarfactory. It is obvious why when I enter the small hall just before the show starts. Less than fifty people are in here and there still is plenty of room. It is nice to be up close to the band though who are on the same level as the crowd.

During the performance, visuals are projected on the back curtain to accompany the psychedelic music. There isn't a lot of light to show the band as they are performing mostly in dark blue lighting (which explains my dark fuzzy pictures). The sound isn't great during the show although it gets a bit better halfway. Especially the vocals which are full of reverb, are hard to pick up. Of course it is part of the psychedelic sound, but they seem to be drowning in the rest of the music, which is especially dominated by loud drums.

It makes it hard to get into the music, which should be right up my alley. I love all those bands, and I think this combination is quite interesting. Rishi Dhir is playing bass but sometimes switches to his beloved sitar, which simply is an instrument that goes perfect with this kind of music. But tonight the several layers aren't really blending together and the music misses its effect. Instead it all starts to sound alike. The band isn't really connecting with the small crowd, who mostly are waiting for something to happen. The last couple of songs sound better and we get a trace of what is possible: a psychedelic new wave version of The Velvet Underground. Too bad it is only a small part of the show that sounds good enough.

All Pictures

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Read more!