Monday 7 November 2016

On Stage: traumahelikopter @ Paradiso

Dutch band traumahelikopter started out as three rascals playing garage and punk rock music stripped down to the bare basics. With two guitars and a minimal drum set they took the Dutch underground scene by storm and literally tore down the roof. Their second album showed a band evolving into maturity and now they are back with a third one Competition Stripe, showing even more progression.

traumahelikopter at Paradiso Amsterdam, November 5 2016

We arrive at the small hall of Paradiso to find the band on stage sound checking while some fans of Emil Landman are still around the merch table at the back after his gig. By the time the three young men take the stage, it hasn't really filled up a lot and this crowd will never grow beyond around 50 people tonight. It's something the band is used to and the fate of a band in our country that chooses not to commercialize their music. It makes sense they are looking across the borders to find a bigger audience for their music.

traumehelikopter are a group that is one of the only few remaining real things in a world that is becoming more fake every day. Fake boobs, fake food, fake products, fake politicians, fake TV, fake movies and fake music. We hardly notice it any more. But these guys are the real deal, a no nonsense rock band. Two guitars and half of a drum kit make up their sound that in the beginning was pure garage rock, rough and in your face. Now some of their melodies have grown more mellow but gained a lot of depth. The rascals have grown up and have gotten more serious about things and this reflects in their music.

This doesn't mean that there's a group on stage now that have forgotten how to have fun. On the contrary, they are still the in-your-face-band that will go full force at any show, no matter how many people show up. The up tempo songs still give their performance plenty of energy to fuel the crowd, and the more mellow songs balance things out. It fires up some of the guys at the front of the stage to start a pit and dance wildly. It is obvious this band has grown and live they sound tight but at the same time loose enough to pack plenty of edge.

Like always the three work very hard and play their music with a lot of heart. Both singer Mark Lada and guitar player Daan van Dalen jump off stage at some point to fire everyone up a bit more, while drummer Roel van Merlot pounds away tirelessly, standing behind the kit with his legs wide apart. This is music that needs to be soaked in at its best in a dark underground hole, where sweat and beer drips from the ceiling while people are going mental. Not exactly the style of the small hall of Paradiso, but it will do just fine. A genuine band playing honest rock music in an increasingly fake world. I hope we can keep them around for many years to come.

All Pictures

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