Sunday 12 April 2009

Maria Drives Wild

Drive Like Maria in Paradiso Amsterdam, 10 April 2009
(Ronald says 4 out of 5)
I recently heard a song "I'm On a Train" of a new band called "Drive Like Maria". It was a very catchy rock tune. When I listened to their debut album "Elmwood" I was pleasantly surprised. Great grooves and good rock songs inspired by 70s Led Zeppelin rock mixed with Queens of the Stone Age type riffs and vocals. So it was time to check them out live.

They are a three piece Belgian/Dutch band and drummer Bjorn Awouters at the same time is also taking care of vocals. They climb the stage wearing helmets while the Western style song "Elmwood 6H25" is playing so they're ready for some action. Guitar player Nitzann Hoffmann fires up her guitar and they're off with the instrumental track "Born on the 4th of July" which is the same combination from the album.

Then it's off with the helmets but they stay on the edge. It's raw, it's loud, it's pumping guitars, rolling drum fills, long hair and it's great. After a couple of songs Guido Elshof joins them on stage and replaces singer Awouters on drums who straps on a guitar and moves to the front of the stage to join Hofmann and bass player Robin van Saaze. Even though he manages to sing and play the drums at the same time nicely it does seem that they even rock harder from then on. Especially at the end of the set when they play the best songs of the album like "So"and "Fistful of Bananas".

Watching this band makes you think you're back in the 70s. Even their clothes could have been bought thirty years ago. But this doesn't mean it's outdated. It sounds refreshing and honest. It's going to be interesting to see how this band can develop and grow. If they can keep this up we've got ourselves a kick ass rock band. They might be driving straight to the top at full speed so those helmets may come in handy.

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