Sunday 31 December 2017

Top 10 Albums 2017

The year is almost over so most end of the year lists have been published by now, except mine. Here it is!

1. Protomartyr - Relatives In Descent
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2. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Murder of the Universe
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3. METZ - Strange Peace
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4. The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
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5. St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION
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6. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
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7. The National - Sleep Well Beast
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8. The Homesick - Youth Hunt
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9. Motorpsycho - The Tower
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10. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
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Sunday 24 December 2017

On Stage: ORB @ Paradiso

Only good things seem to be coming from Down Under, especially regarding anything psychedelic. Very popular now of course are Tame Impala and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Another band trying to follow in their footsteps are ORB who are visiting Amsterdam.

ORB at Paradiso Amsterdam, December 20 2017

The small hall of Paradiso is still quite empty when I get there. More people do arrive but it doesn’t really fill up. The band is still quite unknown and just released their second album Naturality. The first half of the show is quite heavy, leaning to a mix of stoner and prog rock. Singer and bassist Zak Olsen sometimes sounds like Ozzie Osbourne with a similar squeezed voice and with the heavy riffs it's impossible not to hear traces of Black Sabbath. It is no surprise since early Black Sabbath where the band draws a lot of inspiration from. The three look a bit shy on stage and aren't moving a lot. Despite the sometimes lively music it looks quite static. The slower heavy sound doesn't help either.

Halfway Olsen and guitar player Daff Gravolin switch guitars and the sound changes as well. The songs are lighter now and more funky and that actually suits the band better, because these guys can play and their music is full of twists and ever changing time signatures. Sometimes it's a bit too much and it seems like they are playing several songs at the same time. Some songs also sound like they aren't completely finished or despite a lot is happening don't seem to go anywhere.

ORB can be a promising band because they have good ideas and are able to play well. Their music is definitely interesting and I totally dig the big riffs and psychedelic outbursts. But they really need to spice up their act since the band doesn't really look inviting and it's hard to win over a crowd like this. They could learn a lot from their famous fellow countrymen and maybe in a few years time are able to join them as the front runners of the Australian music scene.

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Tuesday 19 December 2017

On Stage: Tamino @ Bitterzoet

I have seen Belgian talent Tamino several times over the past year and every time he was able to impress me. Now the year is drawing to an end I get a chance to see him one more time and I won't let this opportunity pass.

Tamino at Bitterzoet Amsterdam, December 17 2017

Since it is nice to have seen him grow throughout the year. His talent is unmistakable; his voice that he's able to bend any way he likes, is his strongest weapon. Together with his band he has worked on his repertoire and by now you can hear he has got it down. The venue sold out a while ago and looks more packed than ever as if they sold a few more tickets than usual.

When the singer takes the stage, you can see that slowly his stage presence is becoming more and more self confident without losing his charm. Playing gigs on a regular basis is turning him into a charismatic performer. When he addresses the audience he still comes across as a bit shy and modest though, but this adds to his charm. Tamino sincerely shows he's grateful for his talent and his fans. When he thanks his mentor and keyboard player Tom Pintens, who is playing with him for the last time, he is overwhelmed with emotions for a moment.

Tonight was the best performance I saw of him, which proves this young man keeps improving. The songs sound finished and convincing and Tamino looks comfortable while playing them. When he doesn't lose his edge and charm, this incredible musician should be able to make it big. I know I've said this all before and I still think the next time we will have to see him in a larger venue. The future is looking very bright and one can only imagine what it will bring for him.

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Sunday 10 December 2017

On Stage: Triggerfinger @ Melkweg

A few years ago Belgian band Triggerfinger recorded a live album Faders Up 2 at the Melkweg Amsterdam. The band had a major breakthrough year in our country and it seemed right to record the album with the Dutch fans. That love has not faded since, but only grew stronger. Now they return to the same venue with their new album Colossus.

Triggerfinger at Melkweg Amsterdam, December 7 2017

On that new LP we can hear a less heavy band but a lighter one and a more pop sound. Of course they still lean heavily on big grooves but are now adding synths and clear guitars. Live they add a fourth member to be able to recreate that sound.

For the rest not much has changed. Singer Ruben Blok still is the charismatic showman that goes through his familiar rock poses with his guitar. The other showman is master drummer Mario Goossens who draws just as much of attention to his rolling drum fills, explosive solos and a good deal of cymbal chewing. Steady rock Monsieur Paul watches them with a grin on his face while plucking his big bass.

Live member Geoffrey Burton looks a bit ordinary and shy compared to the illustrious trio while he adds some mean guitar and effects to the mix. The now four headed rock monster may have a less frightening face but still knows how to roar. Although I like the new record, I notice I like the older heavier songs like ‘My Babie’s Got A Gun’ and golden oldie ‘First Taste’ better than the newer ones. But this is just my personal taste and maybe I just haven't got used to their lighter touch yet.

With three sold out shows in the Melkweg and most of the others throughout the country there are hardly any tickets to be found for any of their concerts through the lowlands. It is clear the love for this rock machine is still very strong. And what’s not to like if you’re looking for a convincing rock show where the beer is flowing? The band ends with Iggy Pop’s ‘Funtime’ and that's exactly what it is.

All Pictures

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01. Upstairs Box
02. And There She Was Lying in Wait
03. First Taste
04. By Absence of the Sun
05. Flesh Tight
06. Perfect Match
07. My Baby's Got a Gun
08. Black Panic
09. Bring Me Back a Live Wild One
10. All This Dancin' Around
11. Colossus
12. Afterglow
13. Man Down
14. Funtime

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Tuesday 5 December 2017

On Stage: New Cool Collective + Bettie Serveert @ Podium Victorie

I got a weekend at the lovely city of Alkmaar as a present and tickets to go with it for Dutch rock band Bettie Serveert at the brand new Podium Victorie. The surprise was even bigger when it turned out New Cool Collective were playing as well, who I had to miss a few days earlier because of a nasty cold. Our ticket was valid for only one band of course, but once you are in you can visit both halls. So of course I went for the surprise combo and went to see both!

New Cool Collective at Podium Victorie Alkmaar, December 1 2017

I simply cannot pass on a show by this amazing band, who just released Electric Monkey Sessions 2 which is full of amazing swinging music. This unique band were never able to disappoint me and tonight they aren't letting me down either. Big swinging grooves, sparkling horns, dazzling percussion and mind blowing guitar and piano solos, it's all there. They can go from explosive songs to sexy slow ones. Tonight we get many songs from the last couple of albums and it's hard to pull myself away halfway. But Bettie Serveert have already started and I certainly don't want to miss them.

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Bettie Serveert at Podium Victorie Alkmaar, December 1 2017

For over 25 years Dutch alternative rock band Bettie Serveert are one of the most loved bands in the alternative rock scene. And for a good reason, since they keep making very good albums and haven't lost a bit of their spark on stage. Together with their fans the band has aged well and seems to rock harder than ever. Like young dogs the group works their way through their impressive catalogue, mixing all time favourites with newer songs. The band already mentioned there's a new album coming out in the near future, which is very good news. It is promising to see that they are in very good shape.

All Pictures

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In the end I also manage to get back to the other hall to score a New Cool Collective album signed by all members. This has been an amazing evening and a wonderful surprise. I just love these kind of presents!
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