Tuesday 27 October 2015

On Stage: Children of the Light Trio at North Sea Jazz Club Amsterdam

Also playing with sax legend Wayne Shorter, Children of the Light Trio are a one of a kind top band in itself, a jazz supergroup that consists of the wonderful top musicians Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade. All the reason to pay a visit to the North Sea Jazz Club.

Children of the Light Trio at North Sea Jazz Club Amsterdam, October 23 2015

The reason I like jazz trios so much is because of the freedom it gives to each musician and it's instrument. And tonight's musicians know how to use that freedom in every way possible. Pérez makes the grand piano sing wonderful melodies, playing ringing notes that blend into each other, like rain drops falling on the roof top tiles, creating natural symphonies. Patitucci's fingers run along the neck of his bass playing swinging grooves, his glasses sliding to the tip of his nose, while one of my big heroes drummer Brian Blade is playing amazing rhythms which such subtle control and dynamics.

Tonight is a master class in every aspect of jazz music, individual control of each instrument, but also the arranged music, playing as a band and on how the threesome can get the best out if each other. It is obvious how much they enjoy playing in this setup, pure joy showing in their faces, approving smiles and looks among them and a shoutout once and a while of admiration when one of the others plays a perfectly timed accent or ingenious feat of musicality.

This is also obvious from the response of the audience that are greeting these moments with loud applause and cries, but also breathlessly wait for every last note to be played in every composition before going into a loud roar. In the more quiet parts the club is absolutely dead quiet to be able to hear everything, which is an absolute bliss in times where people use concerts as an excuse to catch up with each other. Tonight was an absolute bliss in every aspect of live music.

More Pictures

Brian Blade | John Patitucci | Danilo Pérez

Read more!

Monday 26 October 2015

On Stage: Radkey at Paradiso Amsterdam

The three young Radke brothers, performing as Radkey, impressed me when I saw them play at Best Kept Secret and Rock Werchter with their no nonsense rock music. Because of all their hard work on the road it would take more than another year before their first record was released a few months ago called Dark Black Makeup. Finally they would also bring their new record to a club show in Paradiso.

Radkey at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 23 2015

The small hall of the venue is about half full when the trio take the stage. The first song of the set is off to a rough start because of the bad sound that makes the band sound thin. It does get better during the show but never gets really optimal to make them sound as good as they can. This is a shame since the band is always working hard. The lighting was quit bad as well which explains my rubbish pictures.

Singer Dee keeps his round hippie sunglasses on throughout the show and his baritone voice, despite the sound problems. is definitely working again. It's hard to believe this young man can produce such big vocals. Bass player Isaiah is constantly in motion in his own 80s like style, while rocking his guitar. Youngest of the three Solomon is gently playing the grooves, not by pounding away on his drums, but with a light touch moving around his drum kit. Although they are compared to punk bands like the Ramones and Misfits, which obviously does shine through in their music, they also borrow elements from metal and hard rock like Black Sabbath and Motörhead creating a much more heavy sound. It's an effective and explosive combination which works well in songs like the title track of their LP 'Dark Black Makeup'.

A nice touch is their faster version of Depeche Mode's 'Personal Jesus'. But like on the album, you'd wish they would let it go out of control once and a while. Although some people in front of the stage try to create a small mosh pit, it never really becomes rough nor to they put some more oil on the fire, as if the boys are too modest to get wild. Because nice guys is what they, that go sit on the front of the stage right after the show to talk to fans and take pictures. I think in the end they have all the ingredients to become a successful rock trio. Just let it rip guys!

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Read more!

Friday 23 October 2015

New Sounds: The Icarus Line - All Things Under Heaven

The world sometimes seems a hostile place that makes you think it's all just one big pile of crap. And that makes you angry, bringing out your dark side. That's kind of where you will find The Icarus Line and their marvelous new record sounds like the music you get when you seriously piss off Nick Cave big time. Listen to the angry and dark All Things Under Heaven below.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Read more!

Monday 19 October 2015

On Stage: John Coffey at Paradiso Amsterdam

Dutch rockers John Coffey are having one heck of a year. Their latest album The Great News is doing very well and got good reviews, they landed a spot on the Pinkpop festival and since then the band never looked back. When they announced a show in the Paradiso main hall I was pretty surprised, since that's quite a venue for a band that doesn't make middle of the road rock songs. Even better, they managed to sell it out way ahead of the gig.

John Coffey at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 17 2015

A John Coffey show always is a wild party which I already experienced at the Best Kept Secret Festival earlier this year. Little did I know how this night would turn out. When you think you've seen bands take Paradiso by storm, or impress with magical shows, you don't get surprised that easily. Support band Steak Number Eight did a good job warming us up and stretching our ear drums for the main act of the evening. A cellist starts playing, that turns out to be sitting on the balcony right above us. It's a quiet and nice beginning of the show, where you notice the crowd are waiting with anticipation. Something's buzzing tonight and after this intro it explodes right away when the band goes into 'Broke Neck'. The hall turns into a crazy whirlpool of jumping, dancing, crowd surfing pile of people going absolutely mental. And the band simply is loving it.

Like with every good concert this inspires the group to even play better and work harder than they probably have ever done, which means a lot since these guys always deliver. Yes, it's one of those nights where band and crowd reach perfect synergy and rise above themselves. Singer David Achter de Molen climbs onto the balcony, uses every corner of the stage, jumps into the crowd and is all over the place while the rest of the band is one big ball of energy. It makes the crowd even more crazy and by now there's a steady flow of stage divers that climb the stage from everywhere.

The group loves it and doesn't slow down the pace except for a short moment in the set for 'Jean Trompette' where the trumpet solo enables everyone to regain their breath before once again the venue explodes when the song leads into 'Heart Of A Traitor'. I don't think I've ever seen such a wild party that has people absolutely going out of their minds and with such good vibes. Tonight everyone is winning here and this show turned into an absolute epic one, one people will still be talking about for years to come. Did you ever see people in a banana and gorilla suit jump off a stage at a concert? I mean, a guy in a gorilla suit! Yes, it was...wait for it...completely bananas (kaboom tsching).

More Pictures

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

Setlist: 01. It's Beginning To Change
02. Broke Neck
03. Dirt & Stones
04. Relief
05. Son
06. Bright Companions
07. Redrum
08. The Singing Ship
09. I've Got a BASTARD VIRUS and I Don't Even Know Where it Came From
10. Featherless Redheads
11. The Well
12. Me vs. I
13. Jean Trompette
14. Heart of a Traitor
15. Oh, Oh, Calamity
16. Breed (Nirvana cover)
17. Romans
18. Eagle Chasing Flies

Read more!

Thursday 15 October 2015

On Stage: The Hickey Underworld at Paradiso

After winning Humo's Rock Rally, a Belgian national music contest for bands, in 2009 The Hickey Underworld went ahead and tried to conquer their home country. The band did it a pretty good job at it, considering their loud grunge rock with twists and turns isn't quite your middle of the road rock music. With their third album Ill that is out for half a year now, they are back in the Northern part of the low lands as well.

The Hickey Underworld at Paradiso, Amsterdam October 13 2015

Before I can get into Paradiso I have to beat the huge line that is waiting outside to get in. There's a sold out concert in the main hall as well and The Hickey Underworld's show is starting about the same time. This proves to be a not so smart move from the programmers and I end up getting in at the show twenty minutes after it started. I find the small hall more than half empty which surprises me since it's also free for Indiestad pass holders. Maybe they are all still outside in the huge queue, I don't know. It doesn't get the group down, on the contrary, they are determined to stay on stage until everyone has caved in to their pounding rock songs.

The heavy and solid rock songs remind sometimes of Deftones with lingering guitar riffs and slow grooves beating away. But when they pick up the speed it shifts more to hardcore territory with head splitting noise and ear deafening volume. Original guitar player Jonas Govaerts unfortunately had to leave the band because of a hearing problem and is replaced by Tim van Hamel, one of Belgium's finest rock musicians. Sometimes it is as if singer Younes Faltakh has trouble keeping up with the volume and the pass, since his vocals are not always really clear and are easily overthrown by the wall of sound his band mates build. In the end that's not a huge problem since the group is one that needs to sound dirty and make up for everything with an endless amount of energy.

But this band is more than just a loud rock band. Many songs have unconventional song structures and sometimes want to give you an uneasy feeling. At other times it's like grunge disco with a four on the floor beat and guitars that make you want to dance or crap your pants. Drummer Jimmy Wouters isn't really happy with the crowd's response and keeps asking for more feedback even jumping from stage to push everyone to the front. In the end the hard work all pays off and the crowd simply has to surrender to the Belgian band who leave them behind after the encore gasping for air. Fortunately for me the show turns out to be long enough to make up for my late entry and I leave home happy after all with their new LP.

More Pictures

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Read more!

Monday 12 October 2015

Spinning: Ought - Sun Coming Down

Three Americans and and Australian that meet in Montreal Canada and start making music, that is the story of Ought in short. In the lively artist scene over there, it was possible to experiment as much as they could. This already resulted in the first record More Than Any Other Day with intense and impressive songs. The follow up Sun Coming Down was highly anticipated with great expectations and has been streaming on SoundCloud for a while now.

On that LP there are eight brilliant songs, that once again leave an impression. The quartet builds on top of the first album, but plays the tracks even more convincingly and with more finesse. The music is even more spot on and gains sharpness and intensity because of that. The nervous, threatening atmosphere is still there, better yet it only got stronger. Singer Tim Darcy's nasal voice is talk-singing his often endless repeating lyrics, stringing together the words in high speed. Together with the repetitive grooves they turn into a kind of mantra, that is being hammered into your head bit by bit.

It is striking how creative the band is doing this, with wonderful drum parts and guitars that sometimes are screaming and shredding and other times play lovely ringing tunes, and well timed tempo and rhythm changes that add extra tension to a song. You can hear beautiful drum fills and nice guitar melodies in the melancholic 'Passionate Turn', where the band is going full force in 'The Combo' with a very stormy beginning. In the end all builds up to the epic 'Beautiful Blue Sky' halfway, which is also the first single. The song brings Television to mind, like other songs, and it's where the band brings it all together. "War plane, condo, oil freighter, new development", Darcy sings, after which he endlessly seems to repeat "I feel alright", followed by "I am no longer afraid to die, 'cause that is all that I have left, yes".

It characterizes the atmosphere of the songs, where they look at the world, the daily grind many of us are in and the cold heartless side of technological progress we became so dependent upon. It is more of an observation than a depressing conclusion, where the uneasy feeling it raises, perfectly finds its way into the music. It turns Sun Coming Down into one of the most intriguing records of the year and one you really should give a spin. Together with convincing shows on Lowlands and Into The Great Wide Open, Ought is a band to watch since things could move quickly for them.

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

Listen to 'Sun Coming Down' on Spotify.

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Read more!

Wednesday 7 October 2015

On Stage: Felabration 2015 at Paradiso Amsterdam

It has become a tradition by now to celebrate the life of Fela Kuti in Paradiso in October with the boys of Jungle By Night. Every year there are some special guests to celebrate with us and this year one if them returns. No one less than Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 are here to start off the celebrations.

Felabration at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 3 2015

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
Last month at the ITGWO festival Fela's youngest son had to be rushed to the island where he played a relatively short set. Tonight there's more time scheduled in which works in their advantage. The group is able to stretch out the songs more and let the afrobeat do what it needs to do: grooving so you have to dance and slip in a trance. Seun is the one who stays the closest to his father's legacy, both in music and form, together with his father's band Egypt 80. Seun Kuti's speeches in between songs are full of political statements, speaking for the African people. He explains his new song 'IMF' stands for "international motherfucker" bringing no good to the people. It's a good song in the true spirit of his father. A few people are shouting that Kuti needs to continue playing and apparently don't get what we are felabrating tonight. Fortunately most people do get it and enjoy the energetic and hypnotic music and the speeches. It's probably not possible to get closer to Fela than this.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Umeme Afrorave
We go upstairs to the small hall where a new band is playing called Umeme Afrorave. I spot New Cool Collective percussionist Jos de Haas behind the congas which is promising. The Amsterdam band are playing dance music based on traditional African music, which comes down to electronic dance tunes on top of percussion with lots of African influences. It works very well and the clever songs sound energetic, turning the place into one big dance party. I'm definitely going to watch this band.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Jungle by Night
Of course the young afrobeat collective are on the bill themselves as well and are playing the main hall. The group are an established name by now and are even taking on the world. I have seen them grow from talented young musicians into an experienced group that can turn any place upside down. Tonight they are treating us to a special set with covers of songs that have inspired them. I couldn't really identify most of the songs but of course Fela Kuti's music had to be there and it was nice hearing a great version of the mysterious Nigerian musician William Onyeabor's 'Good Names'. There's another surprise tonight when a 10 year old girl trumpet player is brought onto the stage to play along, as part of a kid's program, and she even plays a wonderful solo. By that time the place is already one big hot dancing hall. At the end there's a jam with members of all bands tonight including Seun Kuti himself. It reminds of Fela's legendary night club The Shrine and I don't think there's a better way to honour his life.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube

This night is far from over and by now everywhere in Paradiso people are partying and dancing to afrobeat music. I guess it's safe to say this was probably the best edition so far. See you next year!

More Pictures

Read more!

Tuesday 6 October 2015

On Stage: Editors at Paard van Troje The Hague

It's hard to believe that only ten years ago Editors released their first album The Back Room. Within that time they grew into a big stadium act, one that is a welcome guest at festivals and one that can light up any festival's main stage crowd. The band took us by surprise last week when they announced their new album In Dream would be presented in small clubs in Belgium and The Netherlands. Even better, I managed to get tickets.

Editors at Paard van Troje The Hague, October 2 2015

It wasn't clear what to expect from these intimate shows. Are they going to play the album from start to finish, are they going to play other songs? Tom Smith walks onto the stage and starts the set with new song 'No Harm' that sounds warm and dark at the same time. Apparently the group announced these shows last minute because Smith has a bad cold and it was uncertain if he could perform. His voice is impressive as ever, although later on you can hear he sometimes has trouble hitting the high notes.

The singer uses his falsetto more often these days, ever since discovering it is just as strong as his regular baritone. What follows is a show with many hits and new songs scattered throughout the set. Clearly the band is used to playing bigger stages, when you notice the big gestures and poses they are using and the way they use the whole stage. Of course Smith is moving in his usual awkward way, that lately critics seem to have trouble with as too theatrical and overdone. But I have always seen him moving like that, ever since watching them play back in 2005 and think it is just the way he is into the moment and the music. Tonight is no different as Smith climbs his keyboard, bends over to the crowd and drops to his knees. To be able to see this from so close by simply is amazing.

The new songs reveal that Editors have kind of returned to the electronic and dark side of In This Light And On This Evening where we can hear Eurythmics ('All The Kings') and Depeche Mode in eighties synths. Not all songs work just as well. The already mentioned 'No Harm' is a lovely song and 'Ocean of Night' works good too. 'Salvation' however sounds too bloated and you can see big crowds singing along with 'Marching Orders' but it is simply too much. Fortunately there's plenty to enjoy with inspired versions of 'Munich', 'An End Has A Start' and 'Racing Rats'. Smith returns to the stage by himself for an acoustic version of 'Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors' that once more proves how good some of their songs are. 'Papillon' brings down the house like it always does before ending the night with 'Marching Orders'.

This certainly was a night to remember and one that showed Editors in great shape and one that will have pleased every fan lucky enough to have watched it. No matter how the new album will go down with the critics, the fans will most probably embrace it and know most of the songs word for word when Editors hit the big venues for their tour that is about to start.

More Pictures

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

01. No Harm
02. Sugar
03. Munich
04. Blood
05. An End Has a Start
06. Forgiveness
07. Life Is a Fear
08. Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool
09. The Racing Rats
10. Formaldehyde
11. Salvation
12. A Ton of Love
13. All the Kings
14. Nothing
15. Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors
16. Ocean of Night
17. Papillon
18. Marching Orders

Read more!

Monday 5 October 2015

On Stage: Saybia

It has been eight years since Danish band Saybia released their last album. A lot has changed since then, in the world but also in the band. Tragedy struck when singer Søren Huss lost his girl friend in a car accident. Also things in the band didn't run well and we didn't hear from them for a while. Until the 20th anniversary of their first album The Second You Sleep a few years back, with a few shows that also ran them across Paradiso. Now they are back and are even bringing a new album.

Saybia at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 1 2015

The band is also bringing a new guitarist Kasper Rasmussen and lots of positive vibes. Huss looks a bit more round again but for the rest hasn't changed much. He still is the friendly singer that likes to have a bit of small talk with the crowd. It is always wonderful to hear him sing although his warm voice is starting to wear. Especially in the higher registers he's struggling a bit which becomes obvious in the lovely song 'Angel'. Or maybe it's just this night where his voice is not in the best shape.

The band is playing a mix of old favourites and some new songs of course. The new album No Sound From The Outside which is full of wonderful soft rock songs in their typical style. 'Black Hole' for example is an intense song that has Saybia written all over it. The LP is sometimes quite uplifting although you can hear the personal drama seeping through here and there. Not many bands can play emotional songs, without it getting too mushy or losing credibility. But the group can get away with playing beautiful but at the same time bitter sweet sentimental ballads like 'The Second You Sleep' or 'I Surrender' . Huss jokes at one point they "are not millionaires like Coldplay. We are the Danish Colplay". I'm not so fond of Coldplay myself so I'm glad they aren't really like that big rock band, but instead of writing stadium anthems keep the songs little and subtle.

From time to time the band picks up the pass and starts to rock where new guitarist Rasmussen can show what he's got. It was worth the long wait and Saybia thanks everyone for sticking around. Indeed it is remarkable that after all these years, Paradiso is still sold out. After such a long time one encore isn't enough and so the band answers the loud cheers with a second return to play 'A Walk In The Park'. I'm really glad the band is back and in such good shape. And by the looks of it Saybia is happy to be back themselves as well.

More Pictures

Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Spotify

01. Down
02. Ominous Mystery
03. Angel
04. In Spite Of
05. The Miracle in July
06. It's About Time
07. Hollow Is Your Promise
08. A Way Out
09. The Day After Tomorrow
10. Untitled
11. The Second You Sleep
12. Fools Corner
13. Bend the Rules
14. No sound from the outside
15. Brilliant Sky
16. Airplanes and submarines
17. Black Hole
18. I Surrender
Encore 2
19. A Walk in the Park

Read more!