Thursday, 31 August 2017

Sniffing The Grass: An ITGWO 2017 Warmup

While I'm writing this Into The Great Wide Open preview, I'm already on the Vlieland island, which is for the first time. Normally we arrive at the first day of the festival while now it's still a few days away. It's good to get us in the right mood though although I am fighting a vicious cold. But the island and the sun are doing their healing work and I'm getting better. So which artists can we look forward to this year?


This is still kind of like day zero for the festival as it is not a full day, but it slowly became an official part of the line-up with bigger bands and now the festival starts at the beginning of the evening. And there's plenty to look forward to already! Here are some ideas for you.

The Mauskovic Dance Band; Unfortunately the Togo All Stars had to cancel because of last minute visa problems. The funky and swinging music sounds like a great alternative to the African band.
The Lemon Twigs; The two D'Addario brothers will have no trouble entertaining the crowd at this first day with an ADHD performance from glam rock to Broadway musicals.
Sinkane; Hypnitizing afrofunk mixed with western style music. What else do you need?


How to start this first full day? Maybe a refreshing dive in the sea before diving into the amazing bands lined up today.

Tamino; When you've seen this young talented Belgian artist you can only draw one conclusion: this guy is going to be big. I'm still impressed after seeing him a few times.
The Homesick; a young noise band with effective songs that will slap you in the face. This can only be good.
Pink Oculus; the moniker for Esperenza Denswil who mixes jazz, hiphop and soul in a very creative way. Her inspired and sultry performances are wonderful to watch.

Together with Dutch indie heroes Moss, dark pop music by Daughter and Shame's dirty post-punk rock music this should be a good day.


ITGWO always has a broad line-up exploring many styles and some exotic names. Today is great with bands from all over the place.

Khruangbin; Although from Texas, this band plays Thai inspired 60s funk, surf and psychedelica. Come on, you got to see this right?
Kikagaku Moyo; Japanese psych rock from Tokio that I saw some years back at the Eindhoven psych fest. I wasn't really impressed back then, but still this could be very good.
Ronald Snijders; exotic jazz with Surinam flute player Ronald Snijders. This is going to be a swinging show.

MY BABY are filling in for the Togo All Stars today with their tribal dance grooves. Pianist Matteo Myderwyk is also playing a second show so maybe we can catch him at one of these.


The last day doesn't have a lot of bands that I really have to see, but the ones that I like are definitely must-sees.

Millionaire; I'm so glad this Belgian rock band is back. At Best Kept Secret they gave a mind blowing show and I hope to see that again today.
Ryley Walker; A few years back Ryley Walker wasn't really on my list of artist to see but totally won me over. His last album Golden Sings That Have Been Sung is simply gorgeous so a definite must-see.
Tiggs da Author; London based musician Adam Muhabwa, originally from Tanzania, is officially closing down the festival at the main stage with a mix of funk, soul and rap, all the ingredients for a steaming party.

Of course the real closing party is tonight with Orient Express, with performances by The Mysterons and Altin Gün who both have Jungle By Night members in their line-up. I think they will close it in style. There are so many things to look forward to, I really can't afford to have a cold. More fresh orange juice please...for now.

Read more!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

On Stage: Band of Horses @ Caprera

Well, they say three is a charm, so after getting rained on twice at the Caprera open air theatre, we're heading there for a third time. Now it's Band of Horses playing there. Some people don't like the more heavy sound of the band, but I totally dig that. After seeing them several times on festivals now we get to see a full show.

Band of Horses at Caprera Bloemendaal, August 22 2017

Indeed it has been quite a nice day and the sun is shining when we arrive at the theatre that already has filled up quite well. It looks like an almost sold out show but we can still find a nice spot. The band starts slowly with singer Ben Bridwell behind the lap steel slide guitar. 'Monsters' and 'The First Song' are nice songs to get this show going. Slowly the band is picking up the tempo when they play 'Casual Party' and 'Solemn Oath' off their new record Why Are You OK. These songs are rocking heavily and are played without holding back. The sound isn't really great and telling from the people at the front that get up to find a different spot, it especially isn't very well when seated all the way down at the front.

For the band this doesn't matter, since they are having a great time. Big smiles all around when they play a nice overview of their catalog with some heavy rockers and some more intimate songs. Keyboard player Ryan Monroe and Bridwell are a great combo who sing lovely harmonies. After quite a lot of line-up changes it looks like it is now a coherent group with good chemistry. They look relaxed on stage and there's time for jokes and laughter, especially when Bridwell confuses some songs on the set list and is starting the wrong song.

At the end 'The Great Salt Lake' sounds inspired before one of their best songs 'Is There A Ghost' follows. Of course the band returns after a short break to play their big hit and fan favourite 'The Funeral'. This was a lovely night at the beautiful theatre with lots of great music to enjoy. I like the direction this friendly band is heading and to me this completely works.

All Pictures

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

Set list:
01. Monsters
02. The First Song
03. NW Apt.
04. Casual Party
05. Solemn Oath
06. Marry Song
07. Older
08. Laredo
09. Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
10. Detlef Schrempf
11. Compliments
12. In a Drawer
13. St. Augustine
14. Throw My Mess
15. Hag
16. No One's Gonna Love You
17. The Great Salt Lake
18. Is There a Ghost
19. The Funeral

Read more!

Friday, 11 August 2017

On Stage: The Afghan Whigs @ Paradiso

It isn't always a good thing that bands reform after quitting years before that. The musicians have grown older and the old chemistry simply isn't there any more. Times have changed and whatever made the band once relevant has faded, leaving nothing but a trace of what once has been. But since The Afghan Whigs reformed some years ago, they delivered two very good albums and it seems their live shows are definitely worth it as well.

The Afghan Whigs at Paradiso Amsterdam, August 9 2017

In the nineties the band around the illustrious front man Greg Dulli, left quite an impression especially with the albums Gentlemen and Black Love. They could rely on a strong live reputation that resulted in a group of loyal fans. By now they have an impressive catalogue to choose from and this promises to be a good night.

Dulli walks on the stage and starts 'Birdland' all by himself before the rest of the band joins him. His voice is impressive and hasn't lost any strength over the years. Ed Harcourt, who also is the support act on this tour, joins them as an extra guitar player. Guitarist Dave Rosser who played with them since their reunion, sadly passed away earlier this year. The band salutes him later on and dedicates Pleasure Club's 'You Want Love' to him.

The group plays a very strong show and restrains itself from being a crowd pleaser by simply playing their biggest hits. Instead a lot of songs from the last two albums make it onto the set list, emphasizing that the band likes to look forward. The songs are versatile with strings arrangements added to some of them where others lean heavy on guitars. Sometimes four guitars can be seen, but the band knows how to balance this very well without creating a big blur of guitar sound.

It is clear this group knows how to write good songs with rich arrangements and also how to bring them live. In the beginning the sound mix isn't great but after a few songs everything sounds amazing. The band hardly takes any breaks between songs keeping the show running very smoothly. Dulli is addressing the crowd now and then and it looks like he's enjoying himself a lot. He throws in a snippet of The Doors' 'LA Woman' at one point and ends 'Lost In The Woods' with The Beatles' 'Penny Lane'.

The band leaves us after a five song encore that includes the Bonnie Raitt cover 'I Can't Make You Love Me' and ends with the fan favourite 'Faded'. Some fans can't get enough and scream for another encore, especially to hear their big hit 'Gentlemen', but the show has ended. That is fine really and The Afghan Whigs proves it is possible to stay relevant even after reuniting, by living in the present and not the past.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

All Pictures

01. Birdland
02. Arabian Heights
03. Matamoros
04. Fountain and Fairfax
05. Light as a Feather
06. You Want Love (Pleasure Club cover)
07. Honky's Ladder
08. Oriole
09. Toy Automatic
10. Can Rova
11. Algiers
12. Going to Town
13. Demon in Profile
14. It Kills
15. John the Baptist
16. Somethin' Hot
17. Into the Floor
18. Son of the South
19. Lost in the Woods
20. Parked Outside
21. Royal Cream
22. Summer's Kiss
23. I Can't Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt cover)
24. Faded

Read more!

Monday, 7 August 2017

On Stage: Daniel Norgren @ Caprera Bloemendaal

One of the nicest things about live music is to see a show you were not even planning on seeing and get completely blown away. This is what happened to me when I saw Swedish artist Daniel Norgren four years ago at the Into The Great Wide Open festival. Now I own almost all of his records and try to make it to his show whenever he is playing in the neighbourhood.

Daniel Norgren at Caprera Bloemendaal, August 5 2017

This time the modest Swede is playing at the beautiful open air theater Caprera in Bloemendaal, a small village at the coast of The Netherlands. The first time I was here six years ago, I saw The National play a stunning show while the rain kept pouring down. Today it is raining as well, where I was hoping for a nice summer evening. It doesn't matter too much and it certainly won't get me down.

The first couple of albums showed Norgren as a blues musician with gritty blues songs in the style of Tom Waits. He slowly moved more into Americana, country and folk territory and now seems to have found a style that really fits him. I'm not even a big fan of country and folk but there's simply something about his genuine and heartfelt music that I find irresistible. The last few albums are drop dead gorgeous with beautiful atmosperic songs that he mostly recorded with a four-track recorder all by himself. On stage he is playing solo once and while as well, or with a few friends.

Today he's playing with drummer Erik Berndtsson and his long time steady force, bass player Anders Grahn. But first they start out by just the two of them, where Grahn is playing the organ. All three musicians are versatile artists who will be playing several instruments throughout the show. While the rain has stopped, it's a very strong start of the evening where Norgren is showing his sensitive side with a few of his most captivating and breath taking songs. Slowly the music unfolds while the evening progresses and the band is cutting deep through Norgren's catalogue.

He's showing what makes him so good, which besides the wonderful songs are his way of patiently crafting his music, bringing lots of dynamics into it by using small pauses and putting a lot of variation in it. It means we hear a lovely folk song like 'Waiting For You' and later on the always amazing 'Moonshine' that sounds like a long blues jam with shredding guitar solos and wild drums, and everything in between. Norgren's voice can be soothingly soulful and gritty, adding to the variation.

At the end of the night once again he impressed me and has won people over who came here without knowing who was playing. A well deserved standing ovation leaves him with no other choice than to come back twice for a few more songs. The tree musicians watch the crowd and receive the applause with a shy smile on their faces. I simply cannot get enough of this wonderful artist and will definitely see him next time he comes around again.

All Pictures

Official Website | Facebook | MySpace | YouTube | Spotify

Read more!