Friday 27 February 2009

Thx Johan for 12,5 years of great music

Johan in de Kleine Komedie Amsterdam, 27 February 2009 (Ronald says 5 out of 5)

Johan is a Dutch band and has been around for 12,5 years so it was time for a celebration. And therefore they started on a theater tour playing songs from their three albums. That's not a lot for 12,5 years but all three are little gems.

Singer Jacco de Greeuw has a beautiful unique voice and the vocal harmonies with guitar player Maarten Kooijman are sublime. They play their songs chronologically and this only confirms how strong they are. All the songs still sound fresh and not out dated and not one feels out of place. It feels a bit weird to be listening to a band in a theater without holding a nice beer and not being able to dance a bit. On the other hand it's really cool to be able to really listen to their music, watch the band members closely and really enjoy one of the best, unique and most interesting bands of the Netherlands. Looking forward to their new album "4" that will be released in May.
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Thursday 26 February 2009

I could just scream!

Chris Cornell in Paradiso Amsterdam, 26 February 2009 (Ronald says 2 out of 5)

Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of Chris Cornell. I think he's one of the best rock singers ever. I love Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave and his solo work. His last album "Carry On" wasn't that good but you can't have a hit every time. When I heard that his next album would be produced by Timbaland it raised a few eyebrows. But maybe I was in for a surprise. Unfortunately the songs I heard on the internet didn't promise a lot. I don't like the modern R&B music and definitely not the Timbaland productions. So a bit worried I was heading to Paradiso but I tried to stay open minded.

The gig was one of the few album presentations in Europe. He was going to play an integral version of his new album "Scream". So they kicked in with the album opener "Part of Me" which didn't sound too bad live. Unfortunately it only went downhill from there. It's hard for me to say but the songs are horrible. This is not due to the fact that it's not rock but only because they're just not good. In my opinion a producer should get the best out of a performer but I guess Timbaland didn't know who he was dealing with or didn't care. Chris is no Justin Timberlake. Chris is one of the greatest singers and you need to make him howl and scream! Nothing like that. His singing just sounds really flat on the album and even live. The songs are just stuffed with horrible sounding electronic effects, samples and (synth) string arrangements. The crowd seemed to be shocked since they were very quiet and you could hardly see anyone move.

When they finished playing the album Chris thanked us for trying out "new music". Then they played some requests like "Spoonman" and the more than brilliant "Say Hello 2 Heaven". Paradiso exploded for a moment! Probably relieved to hear these great songs and Chris singing his guts out like in the old days. Even "You Know My Name" not one of his greatest songs sounded good. But after only five old songs it was time to say goodbye leaving a dissappointed audience (telling from the reactions: throwing plastic cups to the stage).

Sorry Chris, there's nothing new to this. I respect musicians that try experiments. It's a huge risk since it may turn out bad. That's what happened with this album. Very disappointing I'm sure but just keep on going and make a killer album next time. I should give it a 1 out of 5 but will give it a 2 out of 5 out of respect for a great singer.
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Friday 20 February 2009

Almost the perfect party

Bloc Party in Paradiso Amsterdam, 19 February 2009 (Ronald says 4 out of 5)

Their first album "Silent Alarm" was an instant hit with catchy rock tunes. But unlike all the other Britpop bands nowadays they decided to go a different way with their second album. And then even another direction with their latest album "Intimacy" making them one of the more interesting bands of their generation. And every time it turned out nicely which is admirable.

This time they included many electronic effects on the instruments and voices together with samples and loops but always keeping the edgy sound with the hooks that are so recognizable for their music. Live this works remarkably good as well. It all blends in tightly and old and new songs mix together nicely making it a coherent set. Front man Kele Okereke seemed very comfortable and was chatting away loosely. Even interrupting a song to ask about the signs with the three crosses (shield of Amsterdam). The crowd that included many young English fans responded enthusiastic. Too bad the band forgot to light the fuse of this explosive mix and tear the place apart...
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Wednesday 18 February 2009

Enough power after 41 years

Tower of Power in Paradiso Amsterdam, 17 February 2009 (Ronald Says 3 out of 5)

I've been wanting to see Tower of Power play for a long time but just never got the chance. Not that I didn't get enough chances since they've been making music for 41 years and regularly visit the Netherlands. So I finally got my chance and I wasn't disappointed.

Of course for me one of the main attractions was drum player David Garibaldi. His funky grooves are undeniable one of the finest around. And he showed me that night why. His hi-hat chirps, sizzles and moans continuously and his grooves always are spot on. Together with a 5 piece horns section including band leader Emilio Castillo, a nice Hammond keyboard, guitar and bass and singer Larry Braggs whose voice was nice and clear, they have a killer set up. Of course it's nothing new they're doing but it's all good solid funk and soul music with a capital "S"!
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Sunday 1 February 2009

Ronald is on the air!

So here it is...another blog. What to expect? Anything about music really. I will post concert reviews, album reviews and I will rate those. And for the rest anything that comes to mind. Enjoy! Read more!