Friday 2 June 2017

On Stage: Hallo Venray 30th Anniversary @ Paradiso

It feels a bit weird typing posts like this about Dutch bands in English, since hardly anyone outside our country will know about them. I guess even within our country many people never heard of Hallo Venray, since in their 30 year existence they never really became big. But they are an important chapter in the Dutch musical history, one definitely worth celebrating.

30 years Hallo Venray at Paradiso Amsterdam, May 31 2017

The band thought it would be nice to celebrate it in Paradiso and more and more bands wanted to join and offered to play as a support act. In the end the support show is a cheerful parade of Dutch bands playing two songs, one Hallo Venray song and one of their own. Bands like Canshaker Pi, zZz, St. Tropez, Apneu and Floris Bates climb the stage. St. Tropez is joined by Common Linnets' guitarist and overall musical master mind JB Meijers. During change overs a screen keeps playing the song 'Hot Pants' of their Pinkpop performance 25 years ago, showing front man Henk Koorn on a pogo stick and stripping down his yellow suit to just net stockings and hot pants. A trip down memory lane for most of us in here tonight and hilarious to see of course.

For the occasion almost all musicians are wearing the special anniversary shirts that simply read "Hallo Venray since 1987". It is typical for this no-nonsense band that always went there own way and don't care about hypes, trends or an easy scored hit. Tonight the group plays the first half of their own show in the original four piece line-up. It's nice to hear the songs of the beginning back again. Of course they still play some of them during gigs now too, but tonight we can enjoy a complete set of their music from that early period. Dutch saxophone icon Hans Dulfer joins them on 'Las Vegas' like he did on the original recording and it's great to hear their big hit 'Slow Change' played by the original members.

When the current line-up takes over, it means drummer Henk Jonkers replaces Dim Veldhuizen, guitarist Toon Moerland leaves the stage and the band continues as a trio. This time we get treated to newer songs including some of their latest record Where Is The Funky Party?. It is clear how much this band has grown and changed in 30 years and still keeps getting better. The band is very tight, their songs are more to the point, have more dynamics and more impact.

It has always been a band that requires a long attention span of their audience. They don't make music that will make a venue explode but you have to allow it to get under your skin. This is why they never broke through to a large audience. But when you let their music get to you, you will notice how rich it is as they prove tonight. For their final song Henk Koorn takes off his t-shirt to relive his days in stockings and invites people onto the stage. It doesn't turn into a huge stage invasion but it does end the night cheerfully. Where is the funky party? Well, it's here of course.

I think every Dutch band that makes their 30th anniversary should be treated to a celebration like this, especially unique gems like Hallo Venray. Let's celebrate their hard work to keep going this long and their musical legacy. I hope we will be able to celebrate many Hallo Venray anniversaries in the future and look forward to all the new music they will be making.

All Pictures

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