Sunday, 17 February 2019

On Stage: Thijs Boontjes Dans- En Showorkest @ Melkweg



After spending a marvellous three weeks in beautiful Colombia it's hard to get back to everyday life. Fortunately new releases are pouring in so fast it's hard to keep up, which means the busy club season has started as well. There are many concerts coming up and needless to say I'm going to try to see a large deal of them. But what better way to start than a fun night out with Thijs Boontjes?

Thijs Boontjes Dans- En Showorkest at Melkweg Amsterdam, February 15 2019



Many people are probably wondering who the hell I'm talking about, especially anyone from outside the low lands. Boontjes is a rock and roll artist who is singing songs in Dutch. His lyrics are little stories about life, love and anything that goes with it. His music therefore comes across like a mix of Dutch rock legend Herman Brood and Dutch maestro André Hazes. He even recorded a song 'Ballade van de Moord' with Hazes' daughter Roxeanne who sings it with him tonight on stage.



Boontjes adds plenty of humour to his lyrics and shows ,which makes it all about having fun and doing a little dance. Therefore he calls his band Thijs Boontjes Dans- en Showorkest (Thijs Boontjes dance and show orchestra). Boontjes carefully avoids to cross the line of bad taste or making things too cheesy.



Instead he simply adds all the ingredients for a plain fun rock concert with enough songs to sing along and dance to. When you look beyond the surface you will notice his music is actually really clever and there's more to it than you may expect. He brings a band with very skilled musicians that I happen to know of several other bands in the Dutch rock scene. The band creates an environment for Boontjes to thrive in and he looks very comfortable on stage with a lot of cool.



On his Hammond he emphasizes the swinging rhythm section consisting of drummer Bram Hakkens and bassist Jeroen Overman, who he played with in Dutch singer Douwe Bob's band. With Guido Blom guitar licks, who he knows from their old band King Jack, it adds a rough edge to the sound, so it doesn't become too soft. All in all Boontjes has found a successful formula to combine musical quality with entertainment and lots of fun. This explains why tonight's release party for his fresh new album Geen Achttien Meer is sold out.



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Friday, 18 January 2019

Damn Good Coffee



I'm in the mood for some damn good coffee, so I'll be gone for a while drinking a couple of quality cups while enjoying the sun and warmth. Rock on people! Fresh pots!

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Naughty Naughty Naughty Naughty @ Paradiso

The new year started kind of on a sad note when we had to say goodbye to two great Dutch rock bands last week, Death Alley and Birth of Joy. Fortunately there are quite a few talented young rock bands to follow in their footsteps. One of those bands is Canshaker Pi, who already left a big impression. Now they are throwing a party in Paradiso with a couple of other young talented bands and one group of veterans.

Naughty Naughty Naughty Naughty Naughty at Paradiso Amsterdam, January 10 2019

Afterpartees



What better way to start a party than with the after party? It's usually the best part of a party anyway, so Afterpartees are perfect for getting this one going. The group has a new record coming up and are excited to try out new songs on the hungry crowd. Fronted by the always lively Niek Nellen the band is turning the stage into a jolly chaos. The band may not always very tight and Nellen's vocals can be out of tune or out of his reach now and then, but they make up for that big time with a huge amount of energy. The band has plenty of catchy songs and Nellen is pulling out every trick he has to warm up this crowd. This is definitely one of the most fun bands we have in the low lands.

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Real Farmer



Upstairs in the small hall it is very crowded and I am about to find out why. Real Farmer is a very promising new band that seems to come out of nowhere, but some members have been around in the scene for a couple of years. Their noise rock and post rock songs sound very convincing and I really like their sound. Everyone else is digging this band as well since it stays full until the end of their set. It reminds me of bands like Protomartyr sometimes and the group leaves a very good impression. I'm going to keep my eye on this band.

Scram C Baby



The only band tonight that has been around for a long time is Scram C Baby. So what are they doing on this night of young upcoming bands? Singer John Cees Smit is Willem Smit's dad, guitarist and singer of Canshaker Pi. How great is that? Father and son on the same stage on the same night? Scram C Baby are an established rock band, that just released a very good new album Give Us A Kiss. The group plays a top performance with clever rock songs and an inspired show. Smit is heavily promoting his son's band, waving the Canshaker Pi scarf whenever he can, like a proud father. I'm sure he taught him everything he knows.



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45ACIDBABIES



It's been a while since I saw 45ACIDBABIES play a support show. A few months back I saw singer Sophia de Geus play with her punk rock duo FFOOSS. Tonight it's time for her electronic side. This band is very creative, playing hooky and wilfully songs. Although the audience tonight is a party willing crowd, they can also appreciate this music that requires a bit more effort. The band plays a good set and is able to convince the people in the small hall.

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Pip Blom



Young rock artist Pip Blom is a star on the rise that already draws attention from abroad. Her songs are both rocking as catchy and there's always a pleasant vibe in her music. It all sounds fresh and lively and her band members are bouncing with her on stage like the curls on her head. Everything is still quite unpolished but that is part of the charm. After a number of singles and a first EP a couple of months ago, everyone is eagerly awaiting her first album to drop some day.



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Lewsberg



Rotterdam band Lewsberg is becoming an indie favourite quite fast, impressing many people with their The Velvet Underground sound, with clear guitar lines and the half talking half singing style of Arie van Vliet. I really like their music but still have trouble getting into their static stage presence, that is part of their act. But when you focus on the music, it totally works and the songs of their first album sound simply great.

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Canshaker Pi



Of course this night isn't complete without a performance by the organisers themselves. You can leave it up to this band to end the night on a high. The band is clearly used to the line-up change now, as they fly into this show right away. It is wonderful to see how this band is growing and see the band members are slowly growing up. Their sound is maturing as well, getting more deep, without losing that edge that makes them unique. Without any obvious effort they are turning the floor into a wild dancing party with crowd surfers and stage divers flying around. It is well passed my bedtime when they return to the stage for the final encore and close the night with a big bang, giving everyone in here the party they wanted.



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It is great to see how a band like Canshaker Pi is now moving to the front of the alternative scene over here and is offering a stage to upcoming bands. It is really hard for these kind of bands to make a living from their music and it is very hard work. I really like how they are helping out each other. In the end everyone is winning here on this beautiful night.

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Saturday, 5 January 2019

On Stage: Death Alley + Birth Of Joy @ Paradiso



I was sad to hear Dutch rock band Birth of Joy were going to call it a day. I've always liked this band with their incredible groovy rock music. Fortunately they were throwing a farewell show at my favourite venue. Then Death Alley announced they would join the band for their own last show as they are quitting as well. It means I have to say goodbye to two of my dearest rock bands in this country.

Death Alley + Birth Of Joy at Paradiso Amsterdam, January 3 2019



On top of that Amsterdam post-punk band NEED opens the night. I like their lively shows and their clever and sharp songs. Fronted by the very active singer Sam, the band is overwhelming but good. At the beginning the crowd is a bit hesitant, but the explosive band is slowly winning them over. Sam announces that at this night of goodbyes, they will be saying goodbye themselves at their next concert. This is an absolute shame, since this band has a lot to offer.

Death Alley



A warmed up crowd is eager to have one more night with Death Alley, a band I fortunately got to see a couple of times. There classic hard rock is mixed with pyschedelic rock and that combination is working very well. You really have to like singer ‎Douwe Truijens who, like the rest of the band, is always working hard on stage with a very positive attitude.



Oeds Beydals' guitar riffs and solos are always amazing, very skilfully played and full of heart. Songs turn into long jams with endless riffs, grooves and solos, full of twists and turns, but without sounding overcomplicated. The band ends in style with the amazing 'Supernatural Predator', an epic piece that is a fitting end of a wonderful band.



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Birth Of Joy



I have been lucky enough to see Birth Of Joy several times and this band always delivers. Three incredible musicians that can let their instruments rip like there's no tomorrow, playing irresistible grooves. They understand how to use dynamics in music efficiently, slowing down, or taking it back in volume, only to let it loose shortly after. It makes any crowd go wild and beg for more and more and more, until the band leaves them breathless.



Tonight is no exception and they sound more vicious than ever. Because it is the last time the trio seems to have picked it up a notch with a wild show. Kevin Stunnenberg is rocking the stage and his guitar, Gertjan Gutman is lashing his organ and Bob Hogenelst is showing his incredible stick skills one more time. Within no time the floor is a swirling crowd of people dancing, jumping and crowd surfing. At the end the band uncorks a bottle of champagne before they treat us to a few more last songs and close the night well past midnight.



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Tonight we had to say goodbye to two amazing bands, even though I really don't want to. They proved tonight why that is a big loss, ending it all when they are without doubt on top of their game. Thanks for all those mind blowing shows and amazing music guys!

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