Saturday 24 November 2018

On Stage: Bob Billy @ Checkpoint Charlie

Sometimes you come across a band by chance. Like in the case of Amsterdam band Bob Billy that I got to know through a friend of ours who is close to the band. I never heard of them before although the three friends have been making music together forever. I finally got a chance to see them live in a bar I never visited before either, Checkpoint Charlie.

Bob Billy at Checkpoint Charlie Amsterdam, November 21 2018

Checkpoint Charlie is a cozy place just West of the city centre that hosts bands occasionally. On this Wednesday night it is clear most people in here didn't come to see a band but just to socialize with friends. It isn't more crowded than usual I guess and it is one of those occasions where a band simply has to enjoy playing live on a stage for the few people that are actually paying attention. Bob Billy don't seem to have a problem with that and look like they are enjoying themselves.

The band bio states that the songs are sounding a bit like Depeche Mode with now and then some Beastie Boys feeling thrown in, but I mostly hear a Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe. This is absolutely fine though. There are groovy rock songs that pack a punch and more light pop oriented tunes. Bob Billy knows how to add catchy elements to their music and most songs are very suitable for dancing. Too bad the people that are watching are sitting down, so there isn't exactly a lively dance floor in front of the stage.

The band consists of singer Sander Kuit, Hayo Dusseldorp on bass and Alexander van der Werf. There used to be more band members, but now drums and percussion loops are used as backing tracks to the music. That works fine, although I do miss a live drummer to give them that extra power and spice up the live performance. Kuit does a good job though fronting the band with a charismatic stage presence and inspired vocals, especially for such a tiny audience. I like this band and their music, who already won a couple of prizes and had songs featuring in movies. I would love to see them play a bigger audience next time.

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