Wednesday 4 March 2015

On Stage: Helemaal Melkweg

Amsterdam venue the Melkweg has its own festival where you're able to wander through the whole building and experience the broad cultural spectrum they have to offer. It's an evening filled with music, movies, theater and expositions. One of the bands playing tonight New Cool Collective happens to be one of my favourites, so I don't need a lot of persuasion to join my friends.

Helemaal Melkweg festival at Melkweg Amsterdam, February 28 2015

The festival is off to an early start which is hard to make so we arrive at the venue just before New Cool Collective is about to start.

New Cool Collective
Last year the jazz collective released two albums, one with Dutch singer Guus Meeuwis and one by itself. That last one is in line with the rest of their catalogue and the focus of tonight's performance. The groovy record gets the best live treatment you can get as is to be expected from this unique band. Even though the festival has sold out, it spreads the visitors out all over the place which means the big hall isn't overcrowded like with sold out shows. Instead we can move close to the stage and have a great view on everything that is happening.

The band is tight as usual and impresses once again with their stunning play, swinging solos and the sheer joy of playing together. Fortunately they are allowed to play quite a long set which enables every single one of them to shine in the spot light. For me this band's performance makes this night more that worth it.

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But it's not over yet. This night is only just beginning. Unfortunately the Dubioza Kolektiv is playing at the same time as New Cool Collective but also has filled up the small hall completely. It looks like they threw quite a party since we see sweaty people with big smiles afterwards.

Memphis Soul Revue
Instead we catch the end of the Memphis Soul Revue which has a top notch band and some great singers lined up. By the time we get there we see Tameka "Big Baby" Goodman, background singer for Snoop Dogg, kick off her part of the show. Her big appearance and strong voice are impressive, carrying plenty of soul. In between Peter Corn is singing a few songs, but his voice doesn't appeal to me. By playing only soul standards it also never really gets very exciting but instead even becomesa bit boring. It feels like watching a very good cover band doing their routine, so we decide to have a beer instead.

Fortunately there's one more performance scheduled. Amsterdam band TenTemPiés are closing the live part of the program tonight. Although they are a band from this country, there music is a lot more exotic, which is no wonder with the Chilean influences in this group. Their cheerful music and enthusiastic performance starts Spring early this year. The crowd is more than willing to join in on the sunny festivities and so the festival goes out on a high.

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But it's not over yet. There's more dancing to do during the Jazzbop event where there are only happy faces showing and bottles of beer. Great combo of course.

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