Friday, 14 March 2014

In The African Sun

Yes, it's that time of the year again. I'll be going for African sun, smiling faces and cold beers. Have anything interesting to share? Drop me a line. Behave while I'm away.

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Wonderful Daryll-Ann Still Gold

Out of the blue Dutch alternative rock band Daryll-Ann announced the end of the band in 2004. A sad day for the Dutch music scene. Last year by surprise they announced their reunion. A box set with their entire catalogue and a club tour was announced. No way I was gonna miss this one.

Daryll-Ann at Paradiso Amsterdam, March 13 2014

And there we are again. All of us ten years older, but it feels like coming home when the band takes the stage. What follows isn't a trip down memory lane, it's a 2.5 hour set of pure magic. In total 25 songs and 5 more in two encores pass by. And they prove what a great band this was and still is. Beautiful songs like '10.45', 'Serenades For The Lonely', 'All By Myself' and 'The Doctor & I' sound just as strong as they used to.

Timeless songs with beautiful lyrics, lush harmonies and a band that still sounds so fresh as if they never went away. 'Raga The Messenger' is dedicated to Steven Craenmehr, the Dutchman who so tragically died yesterday at the SXSW festival. It's a nice gesture from the band, who are lining up highlight after highlight.

It's always hard to tell if guitarist Anne Soldaat is having a good night. Sometimes it looks like he's having some trouble with his guitar. He's playing his solos and guitar parts brilliantly though. For the rest everyone, including the band, are enjoying themselves on this beautiful night. It's like a good friend returned home after being away for years.

At the end of the show, they pick it up a notch. But after two encores it's really over. Was this really the last time in Amsterdam? Fortunately I will see them again at the Best Kept Secret festival and maybe some other events. But wouldn't it be nice if Daryll-Ann could play a gig like this every once and a while?

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01. A Proper Line
02. I Could Never Love You
03. Pretty in Everything
04. Low Light
05. Tools R Us
06. When War Is On
07. Raga the Messenger
08. Tremble Forte
09. All by Myself
10. Mean Love
11. Friends
12. 10.45
13. Everybody's Cool
14. Money or Love
15. Serenades for the Lonely
16. Equally Sympathy
17. Summerdaze
18. Trip the Stairs
19. Riverside
20. When You Cry
21. Always Share
22. Decibel
23. The Doctor & I
24. Stay
25. H.P. Confirm
26. Mirror Mind
27. Desmond Don't Go
28. Surely Justice
Encore 2
29. A Piece of Work (I'm Trying Her)
30. Thoughts And Words

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Twisted Songs By Two Guys And A Mini-tambourine-doohickey

It would be great to be able to look inside Les Claypool's head. The man behind Primus writes some rather twisted music. Primus' songs already have some mildy insane lyrics. In his other projects this isn't any different, as he already proved in his solo work and for example in Oysterhead. It has to be quite an experience to see from what well these crazy lyrics and music originate. This time he formed the duo Les Claypool's Duo De Twang with his good friend Bryan Kehoe. On Four Foot Shack they limit themselves to only a few string instruments and a "mini-tambourine-doohickey" for the rhythm.

Les Claypool's Duo De Twang - Four Foot Shack (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)

The duo is mainly drawing inspiration from American folk and country music. That's why you'll hear famous folk songs like 'The Bridge Came Tumblin' Down', by Candadian folk singer Tom Connors, and 'Battle Of New Orleans' by the legendary Jimmy Driftwood. Of course everything was pushed through the "Claypool-filter", so it bears unmistakably his signature.

Both musicians wanted to play songs they are listening to themselves a lot. That's why, besides Claypool's own compositions and the popular folk songs, a few cover songs were added to the record. The Bee Gees' disco super hit 'Stayin' Alive' is almost unrecognisable in a genuine Hillbilly version. They got rid of the grunge layer in Alice in Chains' 'Man In The Box'. It is one of Claypool's qualities that he's able to adopt to everything. When you like his other work, this record won't disappoint.

Sometimes it all gets a bit too cheesy, but that's forgivable. Clearly with a lot of fun, the duo came up with a remarkable record, which only gets better every time you listen to it. Despite the cheesiness it then displays the musical quality of both musicians. Hopefully the well inside Claypool's head is far from drying out.

This review has been published on Festivalinfo in Dutch over here.

Listen to 'Four Foot Shack' on Spotify.

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