Monday 25 March 2019

On Stage: Soundgarden Lives! @ Patronaat

Last month I saw Navarone play a show in support of the new LP Salvo only a day after they played the final of The Voice of Holland. A few months before I saw them play a tribute to one of my favourite bands, Soundgarden. Now they are bringing this tribute closer to home and are visiting the Patronaat in Haarlem.

Soundgarden Lives! at Patronaat Haarlem, March 23 2019

Last year the band also played a string of covers on Dutch radio, ranging from Queen to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. They proved there what a versatile band they are and hopefully were able to convince people to go check out their own music, which is top notch as well. Tonight is actually a Chris Cornell tribute since they will also play songs from his other bands like Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, and from his solo career.

Playing these heavy rock songs alone is already quite a challenge, since Soundgarden didn't play middle of the road straightforward rock. Instead they used odd time signatures, changed them throughout songs, played complicated guitar lines and used complex song structures. If that alone isn't enough of a challenge, Chris Cornell had one of the most impressive voices in rock with unbelievable power and an incredible range. Fortunately Navarone have Merijn van Haren who will leave everyone stunned with his amazing vocals.

Why they decided to play with several other singers is therefore a bit of mystery to me. Tonight they are joined by actor Frank Lammers, The Charm The Fury singer Caroline Westendorp, Delain's Charlotte Wessels, Wudstik, and their own guitar tech Bas Wienhoven. Especially Wienhoven, former singer of local Nijmegen band The Liquid Machine, does a very good job. Lammers of course is an actor and knows he's not able to come even close to Cornell, but still turns his performances into lively ones.

But none of these singers is able to do Cornell justice like van Haren does. His voice and range are perfect for the difficult vocal parts of these songs. The rest of the band are impressive too as they work their way through the complex heavy rock songs with great ease. It all sounds very tight and it is obvious they enjoy playing this repertoire. I've been fortunate enough to see Soundgarden and Chris Cornell play a few times and it is sad to realize we will never hear them play that music with him. But it is great to hear this music live again, performed by a band who can make it sound so well.

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