Wednesday 17 September 2014

Shaking Godspeed Unleash The Wolf

Dutch rock band Shaking Godspeed are one of my favourite rock bands. It is not your average rock band, but a group of musicians that like to walk different roads and like to do things their own way. And this results in creative and top notch rock songs with a twist. So whenever they are playing in the neighbourhood I try to catch one of their shows.

Shaking Godspeed at Tolhuistuin, September 15 2014

Tonight they are billed with two bands I never heard of, Hellshovel and Natural Child, at the new venue Tolhuistuin in the North of Amsterdam.

Hellshovel kick it off tonight with spaced out and very relaxing songs. It isn't really bad, but the band looks like they had too much valium or are stoned out of their heads. Probably this is the way they play on stage, but it makes their performance and music quite boring.

Fortunately Shaking Godspeed are up next to shake things up. They are doing a club tour in support of their new album Welcome Back Wolf, which was released a few days ago. It's full of brilliant twisted rock songs, that sound exciting and adventurous, sometimes maybe a bit awkward at the same time, an explosive mix of blues, space, crazy, very groovy hard rocking songs. Tonight they play a few new songs like the very catchy 'Goodbye Poupon' (not "poop hole" like I thought), which has an irresistible hook and the grooving and haunting 'The Lighthouse'. The sound isn't quite right, especially in the beginning when the drums are not balanced.

It doesn't matter for this band, who never fail to impress me with their solid sound and energetic performance. The new line-up with guitar player Rocco Ostermann and bass and organ player Alexander van Damme works very well. Next to front man Wout Kemkens, Ostermann is doing a good job on vocals. Moving from a three piece to a four piece band has added depth and another dimension to their sound, opening new possibilities apparently. The new songs sound great live as well and it's clear the band has made yet another step and reached new heights. This one of a kind group once again proves to be one of the most creative and exciting rock bands in this country if not beyond. And I can't stress it enough: this band is underrated and deserves a lot more. Maybe this can happen with the new album, but at least do yourself a favour and listen to the album and go see them live, you won't be disappointed, I promise. And then buy all their records and t-shirts of course.

Then it's time for Natural Child to top off this evening as the headliner. The band apparently made a big impression on SXSW showcase festival in Austin earlier this year. They play a mix of dirty Southern rock and country boogie woogie, which is not bad. Sometimes it's just a bit too much country and hillbilly rock for me. Also the lyrics are too cheesy now and then. Someone is offering them a joint which is passed around the band, probably not the first one of the day. I just can't help but wonder what the fuzz is about this band, since is it really that original or impressive?

It would be nice to see Shaking Godspeed play a longer set some time, which they should be able to with three full albums out now. I would definitely be there again.

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