Thursday 31 December 2015

Volcanic Getaway

Vacation time? Really? Already? Yes! This year we start the new year on a high right away. Don't worry, be back in a few weeks. Have a good one!

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Wednesday 30 December 2015

Top 10 Albums 2015

Yes, it's that time on the year again where people like to look back and make a best-of-list. 2015 was another great year where I saw many great concerts, heard wonderful music and discovered some new bands on the go. So for what it's worth, here's my top 10 album list. Have a great new year's and let's make 2016 at least as good.

1. D’Angelo - Black Messiah
Play in Spotify

2. Tame Impala - Currents
Play in Spotify

3. Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect
Play in Spotify

4. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love
Play in Spotify

5. Daniel Norgren - Alabursy
Play in Spotify

6. The Icarus Line - All Things Under Heaven
Play in Spotify

7. Ought - Sun Coming Down
Play in Spotify

8. Wolf Alice - My Love Is Cool
Play in Spotify

9. Blur - The Magic Whip
Play in Spotify

10. John Coffey - The Great News
Play in Spotify

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Monday 21 December 2015

On Stage: PAUW + Birth of Joy at Paradiso Amsterdam

Psychedelic rock band PAUW and blues rock band Birth of Joy both on the same night in Paradiso? Say no more, say no more! Needless to say I wanted to see this and it was even free with the Indiestadpas!

PAUW + Birth of Joy at Paradiso Amsterdam, December 20 2015

It appears to be a double bill, but I also read about PAUW being the support band. It's not quite clear and doesn't really matter. We make sure to arrive at Paradiso in time to see both bands play.

PAUW Earlier this year PAUW released their first album Macrocosm Microcosm after releasing a successful EP a while ago. They have spent many hours on stage and this shows. The band looks very convincing and their songs sound great. Driven by inspired guitar playing and a wonderful groovy band, the songs are floating around. The band knows how to stretch out the songs to wonderful jams and accompanying hallucinating visuals add to the atmosphere. For a moment we appear to be back in the time when Paradiso was full of youngsters smoking joints and spacing out to this kind of music.

Their set is not perfect though. Sometimes you can hear them making small mistakes and not always are the band fully in sync. Now and then you can see the crowd is losing attention as well. You really need to focus and try to get into the hypnotizing grooves to experience their music the fullest. But when that happens, you will find yourself in the beautiful world of PAUW, showing all its beautiful colours. These talented musicians can come a long way.

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

Birth of Joy The blues rock band Birth of Joy have been around a little longer and released their third album Prisoner last year. The band have grown a lot since they started out which you can hear on that record. But the best way to enjoy this steaming rock band is live on stage, something they prove tonight. A set full of smoking rock songs are played with so much power and heart, it's impossible not to go wild about. It's even harder to stand still, when you hear the grooving seventies style classic rock songs and their heavy guitar riffs, rolling drums and screaming and growling organ.

The strength of the band is that each musician is very skilled at his instrument and that they are making perfect use of the trio line-up. It gives them a lot of freedom and every single one gets enough space to show their skills. That way they get the best out of each other. We hear a few new songs of their new record that will come out in a few months. The songs show that the band is still growing and they are always looking to stretch the boundaries of their music and look beyond them. The band is willing to take risks and this results in highly explosive, energetic rock music. This is obvious from the crowd that is going nuts and keeps asking for more. In the end the band has to play two encores before any one is willing to leave. I can't wait for the new album and to see what this band is up to in the future.

Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | Spotify

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Monday 7 December 2015

On Stage: dEUS at Carré Amsterdam

On the Into The Great Wide Open Festival a few years back, dEUS was playing as one of the headliners. They also played a surprise show in the woods, that unfortunately I didn't know about. The band played songs they hardly play live in a sort of acoustic setting and afterwards people were calling it the highlight of the festival. The short "Soft electric tour" that is currently under way is a chance to see them in a similar setup.

dEUS at Carré Amsterdam, December 3 2015

The wonderful theatre of Carré has been chosen as the venue for this event. It is a well chosen spot since the theatre can seat many people but still remains somewhat intimate. dEUS didn't bring a lot besides themselves, their backline and a few lights. It's obvious they want to let the music speak for itself. Singer Tom Barman is in a chatty mood tonight and it immediately turns the show into a pleasant and relaxed one. Even when guitar player Mauro Pawlowski is experiencing technical difficulties, the band stays relaxed, cracks a few jokes while a roadie is changing a cable.

It's wonderful to hear these dEUS songs that are taken from their entire discography. It's not an acoustic unplugged show, what is obvious from the tour's name, but merely a tuned down one. A chance to hear songs that are apparently not suited to go on their normal setlist and some songs in a different arrangement. It turns into a diverse evening where dEUS proves once more why they are such a highly acclaimed band and also how well written their songs are. Since songs like 'Constant Now' and '7 Days, 7 Weeks' which are on their regular set as well, don't lose any of their sparkle when played like this. Some of them even sound better.

When the band kicks off the first encore with 'Bad Timing' I hold my breath and brace myself. Since this is one of my favourite songs and it's hard to imagine this song will work in a stripped down arrangement. But this song too holds up easily and still gives me goose bumps. The beautiful 'Serpentine' fits in perfectly of course. The band return one more time to the stage and turn up the volume for a stormy performance of 'Dream Sequence #1' to end the night loud and on a high. Maybe they can be persuaded to play like this more often and put it on a record?

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01. Wake Me Up Before I Sleep
02. The Real Sugar
03. Eternal Woman
04. Include Me Out
05. Magdalena
06. Right As Rain
07. Nothings
08. Constant Now
09. 7 Days, 7 Weeks
10. The Magic Hour
11. Secret Hell
12. Smokers Reflect
13. Sirens
14. Nothing Really Ends
15. Bad Timing
16. Serpentine
Encore 2:
17. Dream Sequence #1

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Wednesday 2 December 2015

On Stage: Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion at North Sea Jazz Club Amsterdam

The question “who is the best drummer ever” is quite useless I think. There have been so many great drummers around and there still are, that are impossible to compare, so it's a waste of time trying to answer it. But if you ask people, quite a few will answer that it must be Ginger Baker. Although he is still playing regularly I never had the chance to see him until now.

Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion at North Sea Jazz Club Amsterdam, November 26 2015

When you think about the legendary drummer, you automatically think about Africa, the continent he grew really fond of and the one he got so much inspiration from. As he explains himself he’s already 76 years old and things aren't so smooth for him any more. He’s playing with some fine musicians, Pee Wee Ellis on saxophone, Alec Dankworth on bass and percussionist Abass Dodoo. All the ingredients for an explosive night you’d think.

But Baker’s age is starting to get to him and he’s not in great shape. The rhythmic and groovy compositions by Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins and himself, sound uninspired and simply aren't really exciting. Ellis also looks far from being in great form and when he’s not playing he is sitting on his stool looking tired. Dodoo and Dankworth are the only ones that have something to show tonight with some great sounding solos. Especially Dodoo is showing great skills behind his percussion set, playing with a big smile on his face.

Baker is occasionally addressing the sold out venue, sounding short-winded, but explosive as always telling someone to “fuck off” after shouting out something. Now and then we get to see some sparkles of the old master’s brilliance and his wonderful technique. He tells us he’s not playing his own drum kit and the setup is not to his liking. Especially the pedals’ setup is causing him trouble and give him cramp. In the end it's clear that his best years are behind him, but still it's wonderful to see the living legend in the flesh behind a drum kit.

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