Tuesday 14 July 2015

Bospop 2015 Saturday

The Bospop festival in the South of The Netherlands is advertised as a classic rock festival. However going over the line-up, classic rock is used in the broadest sense of the term, which is in fact a good thing, since it opens up to a somewhat peculiar but at the same time interesting program. Friends suggested to visit the festival on the first day which looked good and so we did.

Bospop 2015 Saturday, July 11 2015

Comfortably located next to the highway it is a fast and easy journey to the festival. We were there on time because we definitely didn't want to miss the wonderful Navarone kick off the day.

I know what I am gonna get from this amazing rock band. Their music is breathing classic rock in every way but at the same time sounds very fresh and up to date. Traces of Pearl Jam can be found as well and the sturdy rock riffs and drum grooves are solid enough to carry the incredible voice of singer Merijn van Haren. It's a dirty job opening a festival, since most people have not even arrived yet and it's pretty hard winning over the ones that don't know you. But Navarone work hard and put down a convincing show once again. At the end of their set it got more crowded in front of the stage which means they were able to drag people to their show. For us it's a wonderful start of this sunny day.

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We try a bit of Croatian ladies band Luminize who fail to impress me and sound like any other average band in this pop rock genre. On the main stage another Dutch band, Racoon, have started their set. I used to like the old Racoon sound when they played catchy indie rock and am not too fond of their more melancholic side that gave them their success. But it's a good live band that usually delivers. But today maybe the heat got to them and it seems as if every song is played in a lower gear. Most songs are mid tempo anyway and the music matches this hot lazy afternoon. I've seen them in better shape before.

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Layla Zoe
So it's time for some fire to keep this day going and Canadian blues singer Layla Zoe is right on time. She has a great voice and her band is also doing a good job. Of course there's nothing new to the standard blues rock songs they are playing with the occasional shredding blues solo, but it should be appealing to a classic rock minded crowd. It sounds great and Zoe is working hard to keep everyone focused, using the whole stage for her rock poses and addressing the crowd regularly. It's exactly what we need at this moment and Jan Laacks's guitar solos are quite impressive and stoke the fire even more.

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Melissa Etheridge
I lost track of Melissa Etheridge after her successful years at the end of the eighties and early nineties. I only know her music from this era and am not familiar with her more recent work. Today she proves to be a very professional and impressive live musician. Her voice is excellent and she knows how to play a crowd. She has gathered a very good band around her and especially Fugees bass player Jerry Duplessis is a delight to watch and listen to with his meaty bass sound. Of course she ends her set with a very lively version of 'Like The Way I Do' that goes down well.

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Former Marillion singer Fish is treating Bospop to a complete performance of the Marillion classic Misplaced Childhood. It's part of a 30th anniversary celebration of the album that rocketed Marillion to super stardom. Although I'm not really fond of the eighties prog rock genre it is nice to hear those songs live. They are well performed although I'm a bit disappointed in Fish's vocals who has sounded better in the past. For a true Marillion fan this must be a real treat but in the end it becomes a bit weary for me and I can't make it to the end.

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Gary Clark Jr.
Instead we return to the main stage and find ourselves a good spot in front of it where Gary Clark Jr. has already started playing. He is sometimes called the "new Hendrix" which is no wonder when you hear him play. Although I like his sound and songs, he's not there yet to really compete with the legend himself. Probably that's not what he intends to do anyway, but instead is just trying to play great music. It's a good set, but Clark Jr. could fire it up more and turn his performance into a more lively one.

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Belgian band Novastar is actually the project of Dutch born Joost Zweegers who is a talented songwriter. The ballad like songs aren't exactly classic rock songs but I'm glad I get to see this band. The melancholic music combined with the clear pleasant voice of Zweegers is wonderful and it sucks me right in. It results in a dreamy mood that works quite well on a warm summer's night.

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ZZ Top
Bearded blues giants ZZ Top are today's headliner and the ones to close the first day of the festival. Due to the modest setup of the festival and the relaxed crowd we have a great spot to see the blues trio perform. Of course I've seen them last year and you know exactly what you're going to get. The three veterans may not exactly go crazy on stage, but it's the details that count. The greatest hits set has all the songs you can wish for, from 'Tush' to 'Gimme All Your Loving', but it's the subtleties that make it so enjoyable. The quick looks the three are exchanging, the chemistry between Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill, the few choreographed steps and the subtle jokes. If you're into their music like me, the legendary band are still a lot of fun to watch. And of course they can still play some great blues music.

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I think this festival is not about spectacular headliners or crazy shows. It is aimed at a crowd that wants to hear some good music and enjoy a nice day. That's exactly what we got today and so we can go home completely satisfied.

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  1. It sounds amazing!! Thanks for sharing these videos from the music event. I am a fan of these bands. Pretty soon I will be visiting some popular NYC venues to attend annual music fest with my fiancé.

  2. That sounds like something to look forward to. Enjoy!