Monday 31 May 2010

15 Minutes Of Fame: Green Head Motherfucker

Pinkpop had some nice performances but nothing really epic. Although one man probably became a Pinkpop legend of his own: Sander Bosch with his green hair. After Green Day singer Billy Joe Armstrong asked him on stage to sing 'Longview' he didn't hesitate, jumped on stage and totally rocked Pinkpop. Respect! Make it past the singing girl first before the real fun begins:
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Wednesday 26 May 2010

The Dead Weather Find Right Form

The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)

The debut album 'Horehound' of The Dead Weather, one of Jack White's musical projects, was missing the roughness and quality songs you would expect from these seasoned musicians. Maybe the expectations were too high. Now within 9 months they have released their second album and are showing that they can live up to these expectations and are aiming for more. All the things missing from their debut are present on this album that's full of hot, steaming, rough and sweaty rock tunes. Alison Mosshart is at her best, moaning and screaming, putting more effort in it than on their debut. Maybe they released that one too soon. Read more!

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Danko Jones Follows His Regular Recipe

Danko Jones - Below The Belt (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
Danko Jones already came up with some testosteron loaded albums in the past. After a few it was clear he wouldn't change his formula although some albums are better than others. It does get a bit old to listen to songs about women, sex and, the modest man he is, his own qualities once again. This album has no suprises but compared to the previous one 'Never Too Loud' he's in better shape. He won't win over many new fans with it but it will please the ones he already has. Read more!

RIP Dio (1942-2010)

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Monday 10 May 2010

Slash Forgets To Go Wild

One of the best assets of early Guns 'n Roses as we like to remember it was guitarist Slash. His guitar play and appearence was a huge plus to the band. Now Axl Rose is trying to revive those golden years but in reality is destroying a well-earned place in rock history. Slash has chosen his own path and after an effort to star again with Velvet Revolver and making guest appearences on many albums he now is trying it on his own by releasing his first solo album. Well not exactly on his own since he invited a bunch of friend vocalists to help him.

Slash - Slash (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
And when superstars decide to guest on each other's records this usually doesn't lead to great achievements. Unfortunately this holds for Slash's record as well. An impressive list of singers like Ozzy Osbourne(Black Sabbath), Chris Cornell(Soundgarden, Audioslave), Andrew Stockdale(Wolfmother) and Iggy Pop to name a few make their appearence. This could lead to fireworks but that only really happens on just a few tracks.

The song 'By The Sword' with Andrew Stockdale is by far the best track on the album. This is the kind of song you would expect from a rock guitar hero like Slash with one of today's most interesting rock singers. Slash's guitar is moaning, screaming and pumping while Stockdale is singing his guts out like we're used of him. Album opener 'Ghost' with The Cult's Ian Astbury isn't bad either with a great repeating riff. Also the track with Lemmy 'Doctor Alibi' lives up to the status of both performers.

Unfortunately most of the tracks are merely mediocre. Some have just poor choice in guest singers. An artist like Kid Rock just doesn't belong between the likes of the mentioned rock singers. And I don't understand why he chose to work with Maroon 5's Adam Levine who just turns every song into awful yammering. The choice of playing 'Beautiful Dangerous' with Black Eyed Peas' Fergie doesn't even turn out that bad compared to these tracks. Relatively unknown singer Myles Kennedy who will be touring with Slash isnt't one of the best rock voices around either and cannot lift the songs to great heights.

It isn't only that the choice of some singers is a bit odd but most of the songs simply aren't that great. Slash is showing he's not brilliant at writing songs. He could have made that up by playing killer riffs, grooves and solo's but that hardly happens. Of course the guitar parts are good but he never challenges himself and safely plays his parts in the same way we're used of him. I'd have loved to hear him just go nuts with his guitar and spin out of control here and there.
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Paul Weller Showing Musical Baggage

Paul Weller - Wake Up The Nation (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
After he left successful bands The Jam and The Style Council Paul Weller hasn't looked back. His solo career is maybe even more successful delivering some master pieces of its own. And he's still going strong on this highly acclaimed new album. The British music critics can't get enough of it. It sure is an album with lots of variation exploring all kinds of musical directions from punk and garage rock to more soulful tunes and even some danceable tracks. Yet I wouldn't call it a master piece. It's a nice album but some of the tracks aren't all that special or great and the variety make it slightly unbalanced. Read more!

Thursday 6 May 2010

Liberation Day A True Celebration

In The Netherlands we celebrate the liberation of our country at the end of World War II every 5th of May or as we call it Liberation Day. It's a nation wide official holiday every 5 years and so this year I was off as well (the government wants to go back to a yearly official holiday which I support completely of course!). And what's a celebration without music? So cities throughout the country have liberation festivals and of course our capital is one of them. A great chance to check out bands like Moss, The Mad Trist and Gotcha! Allstars.

Liberation Festival 2010 on Dam Square Amsterdam, May 5 2010
There were two stages close to each other with the main stage on Dam square. I only knew the bands on the main stage and that bill didn't look bad at all: Moss, The Tunes, The Mad Trist, Junkie XL, Ed Kowalczyk, Gotcha! Allstars and Giovanca. So we headed to the center to check them out and enjoy a little sun while we're there.

Moss (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
By the time we arrived they already started playing. I wanted to see this band for quite a while since I love their highly acclaimed album that they released last year. And they sure didn't disappoint me. They played a tight balanced set and their harmonies sounded live just as good as they do on the album. I'm sure they won over some new fans. Can't wait to see them in Paradiso next month.

We wandered about for a while thinking that The Tunes probably wasn't my cup of tea. By the time we returned we still could catch a few songs to find out I was right. But I was pretty sure that I was gonna like the next band.

The Mad Trist (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
And they sure kicked ass. A great heavy set of stoner rock filled with roaring guitars and pounding drums. It does sound a lot like Queens of the Stone Age, even singer Arthur von Berg copies the singing style of Josh Homme. The songs also don't offer a lot of variety. So hopefully they will develop their own sound in the years to come and live up to the potential they showed.

Then it was time to check out our favourite tapas bar in town 'Catala' and skip Junkie XL and Ed Kowalczyk. Not too bad since I have seen Junkie XL a few times already and he moved into a direction that I'm not too fond of. I lost interest in Kowalczyk ages ago. After great food and drinks smelling like garlic from a mile away because of that delicious aioli we returned to get ready for a party.

Gotcha! All Stars (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
And a party it was going to be. This legendary band from the early 90s has returned with a vengeance. The stage was filled up to the last square meter with instruments and musicians. Their only goal was to show us and themselves a good time. A funk and rock show that would make George Clinton proud. And what a surprise when they brought singer Mary Griffin to join them on stage. I saw her in August singing with Dr. Funkenstein himself as well. In the end I don't think anyone could stand still and although it was cold with the sun down it sure was a hot show.

After this great performance we decided to skip Giovanca and call it a day. Hopefully next year when liberation day will be a yearly holiday again the bands will be just as interesting. What a great way to celebrate freedom!
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Monday 3 May 2010

Friendly Bells

Broken Bells - Broken Bells (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
Broken Bells is a collaboration between Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and James Mercer (The Shins). That's an interesting combination and first single "The High Road" sure was promising. The album however is on the safe side though and doesn't really stick. It's a decent album but maybe just a bit disappointing from these top artists and not something I will be playing over and over again. I had expected a bit more from Burton's drums as well. Despite the nice lazy feel they sound a bit flat and powerless. Read more!