Wednesday 11 September 2019

On Stage: dEUS @ Paradiso

This year Belgian giants dEUS are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their iconic album The Ideal Crash by playing it in its entirety. I already saw this in Utrecht some months ago, but I won't pass on the opportunity to see them play again at my favourite venue.

dEUS at Paradiso Amsterdam, September 9 2019

This means I know what is coming, especially because they are playing that very good LP track by track. I simply can't get enough of songs like 'Instant Street' and 'Sister Dew'. The band is in a great mood again, truly enjoying playing these timeless songs. Singer Tom Barman is especially in a good mood, wearing his skirt again for the occasion.

Like the first time, the band has to warm up, or maybe it's the crowd. Or it's simply the fact that the first couple of songs of the album are tracks that require listening, something that everyone is doing. Since these songs have so much detail, with all the lovely layers, the violin and keyboard parts by Klaas Janzoons. The dance group are also present again, doing their lively moves, supporting the music. These dancers are wonderful to watch, tirelessly moving around, dancing expressively.

The setlist is almost identical to the one in Utrecht, except that 'Hotellounge (Be the Death of Me)' replaces 'Nothing Really Ends' this time in the first encore. I don't mind it at all, since this is dEUS in great shape. When they also play 'Quatre Mains' and 'Fell Off the Floor, Man' in that first encore and close again with 'Roses', you shouldn't complain. Instead, I'm savouring this band and their wonderful music.

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01. Put the Freaks Up Front
02. Sister Dew
03. One Advice, Space
04. The Magic Hour
05. The Ideal Crash
06. Instant Street
07. Magdalena
08. Everybody's Weird
09. Let's See Who Goes Down First
10. Dream Sequence #1
11. Quatre Mains
12. Fell Off the Floor, Man
13. Hotellounge (Be the Death of Me)
Encore 2:
14. Roses

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

On Stage: together PANGEA @ Melkweg

It's been a while since I saw together PANGEA from California play, who are always fun to watch. With a new EP Non Stop Paranoia / Dispassionate out they are swinging by Amsterdam again, which is very good news!

together Pangea at Melkweg Amsterdam, September 8 2019

I'm surprised they are playing the small "Upstairs" hall, all the way, well, upstairs in the Melkweg. It's not even very full which surprises me even more. I was expecting more and more people to pick up on this band and for them to be playing bigger venues. Because, what's not to like? These guys are able to write catchy garage rock songs with very good verses that are dirty, edgy and especially a lot of fun.

The group proves this tonight with more than an hour of their contagious rock songs, that you simply have to dance to. Bassist Danny Bengston calls out an annoying guy who is showing too much interest in a couple of young ladies in front of the stage. It is good that bands notice these things and speak up. It's exactly like Bengston says, that people should feel safe at concerts, especially women. Of course they play many new songs, like the hyperactive 'Hi-Fi Television' that fits right in with their older work. It is a track from the explosive Non Stop Paranoia, which deals with anxiety and stress. The songs on Dispassionate are the opposite and are calm and summery tunes that reflect a day at the Californian beach. It gives them the opportunity to balance out their set, although I do think they are at their best when the tempo goes up and the band shows its wild side.

At the end of the set they prove this when they play 'Too Drunk To Come' and 'Sick Shit' that are greeted with loud cheers and a dancing crowd. The foursome returns for an encore and close the night with the glorious 'River' that has one of the best verses and can get stuck in your head for days. Too bad not more people are here to enjoy this band who deserve bigger crowds.

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Monday 9 September 2019

On Stage: Oh Sees @ Paradiso

In the pace John Dwyer is writing music it is hard to believe he can find time to tour. Fortunately he does and most of the times will visit my home town. So whenever I can, I will try to visit his shows, which are usually Thee Oh Sees shows. Or whatever he will call that band which doesn't matter to me.

Oh Sees at Paradiso Amsterdam, September 7 2019

This time Dwyer is visiting as Oh Sees and has sold out the main hall of Paradiso weeks back. It's great to see all his hard work is paying off and he's getting the recognition he deserves. Since even though he keeps knocking out new songs without great ease, they are always of a high standard. The eager fans tonight prove the popularity of this band, hungry for some quality garage rock. After another short soundcheck the band kicks off, turning the complete floor into a wild pit right away.

Dwyer mentions this is the last show of their European tour adding, "make it count". As if this crowd needes any more motivation. Beers fly up in the air as the band fires off one vicious rock song after another. You can hear why so many people love this band, as there aren't many groups that can generate this amount of energy. With two drummers at the front of the stage this is of course their intention. Sometimes they will double the same drum grooves, other times they will play subtle differences. The objective is to make the groove even bigger and more pulsating. This way the songs keep going and never slow down. Only King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, who are also playing with two drummers, can match up to this at the moment.

With so many albums out, there's plenty of ammunition to fill the setlist. Of course the emphasis is on the last album Face Stabber, but throughout all these years and so many records, the songs have always sounded familiar. The psych rock punk songs will usually have groovy driven verses that are upbeats to explosive choruses, vicious shredding guitar solos and psychedelic krautrock jams. This never gets old and live this is impossible to resist. So people are dancing, jumping, stage diving and crowd surfing and are simply going mental.

At the end Dwyer says they will have three more songs, two pop rock songs and one long jam. 'Jettisoned' and 'C' are indeed followed by a long lovely version of 'Encryped Bounce' that keeps going forever and where the band spins into a long jam. It's a wonderful end to this night, as this band doesn't do encores. Afterwards at the busy merch table I meet fans with soaking wet shirts trying to get their hands on some of the merch. This was another amazing night with this one of a kind band.

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01. Nite Expo
02. Tidal Wave
03. The Dream
04. The Daily Heavy
05. Animated Violence
06. Gholü
07. Withered Hand
08. Toe Cutter / Thumb Buster
09. The Static God
10. Henchlock
11. I Come From the Mountain
12. Snickersnee
13. Plastic Plant
14. Jettisoned
15. C
16. Encryped Bounce

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Sunday 8 September 2019

On Stage: The Mystery Lights @ Paradiso THT

When The Mystery Lights were announced to be playing at Paradiso THT I vaguely remembered seeing them before and liking it. Indeed it turns out I saw them play Klikofest a year ago where I loved their vintage garage rock.

The Mystery Lights at Paradiso Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam September 6 2019

When the band steps on the stage I'm in doubt again though, since I don't remember the line-up. It turns out they toured without a keyboard player player back then and have added Lily Rogers this time. It's hard to imagine them playing without a keyboardist now, since her parts are essential to the sound of the band. She throws a big chunk of The Doors into the mix, which together with the vintage guitars, combines into classic psychedelic garagerock.

That doesn't mean the band is outdated, on the contrary. The songs sound refreshing enough and front man Mike Brandon's lively stage performance gives the show plenty of edge and energy. The group kicks off their European tour tonight and are still full of energy and stamina. They have warmed up enough though to play a good show even if it's the first one of the tour. There is a nice balance between explosive wild rock songs and more mellow ones, where they are taking the time to tell stories. The band name must be referring to the lighting plan of the night, where the band members are mostly lit from the back, showing only their silhouettes most of the time (and turning my pictures to shit).

The band is promoting their new LP Too Much Tension! which came out recently. On that album they continue the sound of their first one successfully. Tonight we get to hear new songs off that album of course that also sound very good live. That vintage sixties garage rock sound is very effective once you can get past Brandon's high and somewhat pinched voice. However once you do, the band has a lot to offer and prove so tonight.

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Friday 6 September 2019

ITGWO 2019 Day 3 + 4

Halfway the festival I notice the island is sucking me in again. I've said it many times, but this place is simply amazing. You only see smiling faces around and we are all simply spending four days in our own perfect happy little bubble.

Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Saturday August 31

Bobby Oroza

Finnish soul singer Bobby Oroza kicks off the day at the main stage. There’s a small group of people that are enjoying his classic soul music. He has a nice sound and the songs are quite groovy. His voice is a bit thin though and the songs miss variety. Oroza is a nice guy although he looks bit serious. But he is chatting with the crowd, cracking small jokes. Not a bad way to wake up I guess.

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Jordan Mackampa

We make our way to the woods where Jordan Mackampa has drawn a much bigger crowd at the small stage. His pleasant soul songs are comforting with the warm voice of Mackampa. He introduces his songs with short stories in a soft voice, but from our position in the back we can’t really hear them properly. Fortunately it's the soulful music that counts, which sounds lovely between the trees. I really like his band as well, who are adding a lot of depth and groove to the music. Judging from the fact that hardly anyone leaves, the crowd seems to like it a lot as well and thank Mackampa at the end with a heartfelt applause.

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Pip Blom

Dutch singer Pip Blom had quite a run this year. She released her debut album and played many festivals including Glastonbury. I’ve seen her a couple of times before of course and enjoy her music a lot. You notice that she and her band are spending many miles on the road. The band has grown without losing their young enthusiasm, including the always happy looking Blom herself. Among all these happy musical eruptions you could easily forget how mature her songs actually are. If she's able to keep up writing clever songs like 'Daddy Issues' one can only imagine what the future can bring for her.

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Personal Trainer & The Industry

Like Pip Blom we have to rush ourselves to the indoor stage where Canhaker Pi's Willem Smit is playing with his Personal Trainer playground project. He was asked to record new songs on the island the week before and has gathered even more of his friends to help him out. Most of them are here tonight to play them live on stage with him. You can leave it up to Smit to come up with interesting music in such a short time. The result are interesting indie songs ranging from slow and edgy to wild post punk ones. Pip Blom joins later in the set with her own little children's choir, which is totally adorable. Mixed in are Personal Trainer songs and tracks of the guest musicians. It makes the show lack structure and cohesion and an unbalanced setlist. The eager group of youngsters in front of the stage also have trouble following it, very willing to form a wild pit. But the band compensates largely for this in enthusiasm and some members are running all over the stage, dancing around and simply having an amazing time. You can only admire this young group of people for being so creative and working together on exciting new music. You simply have to look at Smit and his friends to know the future of the Dutch alternative scene is looking very bright.

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A few years ago, Belgian musician played the smallest stage in the woods, that was already too small for his fast rising star. Since then the word was out about his remarkable voice and the wonderful music of the kind singer. So this year he got promoted to the main stage at one of the best spots in the schedule, the time the dawn is setting in. It is the perfect setting for the slow, dark but gorgeous songs of Tamino. Don't let the swooning school girls and house moms fool you, since his music is of great quality. His songs are a mix of fellow Belgians Balthazar, Radiohead and a large scoop of Jeff Buckley. His voice is clear even live and the young men has an incredible range. With the spotlights on him for most of the show, you would almost forget the other two musicians who build the structure of the song. Especially drummer Ruben Vanhoutte is playing his drum grooves very convincingly, making sure to never take away the focus from Tamino. The singer is able to impress most of the people here, slowly and patiently performing his songs. Of course he closes with 'Habibi', his first hit song that started it all and that still never fails to impress.

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We are in for a bit of a party and Flamingods from Bahrein are the ones to give us just that. I saw them play at Klikofest a few months ago very late at night and liked their psychedelic music with oriental influences. Singer Kamal Rasool is the core of this band of multi instrumentalists where every member seems to be able to play every instrument. They smoothly switch positions and instruments in between songs, although I never have an idea why. It doesn't matter since tonight the band has found the perfect balance in their show. They keep the party going at all times and the crowd is loving it. This is no straightforward psychedelic rock, but a tasteful oriental twist on it that sounds amazing tonight between the trees in the dark.

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At the indoor stage Wand have already started their show, who played here before at the same spot. We continue the psychedelic rock party but this time from a different angle. Singer Cory Hanson is the centre point with nice solos and skilful guitar playing. It makes sense Ty Segall is a big fan of them, releasing their debut on his own label. The band have slowly made their sound more heavy, but are able to balance this out nicely. The songs can explode into wild jams, with lots of reverb and fuzz. However it is always in a subtle way, effectively using dynamics in their music. The band may look a bit serious on stage, but are slowly loosening up towards the end of the show, that is the last one of their European tour. I'm sure this is a great place to end a tour and have a big party to celebrate. I know that's what we're going to do.

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Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Sunday September 1

It is the last day of the festival and the one where it I don't want to rush to shows. I just enjoy the island, the festival, the people and a couple of good bands instead.


At the small stage in the woods we find two musicians entertaining quite a large crowd. Beraadgeslagen are keys wizard Fulco Ottervanger and drummer Lander Gyselinck who play modern, groovy jazz music with a twist that isn't hard to swallow. Normally the duo likes to be playing in the audience, surrounded by people. So towards the end of the show Ottervanger invites anyone who wants to on stage. It is a nice view, all those happy people dancing around the duo. When they ask the audience to rap on a song, only one man is brave enough to hold the mic. Parts of his rap are sampled immediately and the duo improvises a song around it. It doesn't get more interesting, creative and exciting than this, which is what jazz is all about.

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Strand Of Oaks

At the main stage we find Timothy Showalter and his band. I like the kind big guy, who apparently has to go through a rough time in order to find inspiration for his music. This shines through in his songs, that are full of emotion, where Showalter will dig deep into his soul and bare it all. His songs may not be the most innovative ones, but they are honest and full of heart. It makes his shows worthwhile and today is no exception. Showalter himself seems to enjoy the beautiful weather and the festival, which seems to put him in a good place. Many people with me enjoy this moment and his music with him.

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It's that time of the festival where it's time to party one more time at the main stage. You actually don't want it to come, since you want the festival to go on for ever. But when the moment is there, everyone is ready to dance and close the main stage in style. Parcels are the perfect band with their Bee Gees inspired disco. The band members seem to have stepped into a time machine in the seventies that brought them here. The Australians know what this crowd wants and play a funky set full of happy disco tunes. You can also hear the Daft Punk influences mixed into their music. I find the variety in their music a but limited and don't really like the falsetto harmonies all the time, but Parcels are clearly playing at the right place and time here.

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Another wonderful edition comes to a close and we couldn't have wished for more. The weather, the food, the people, music and most of all the island were wonderful. Can't wait 'til next time!

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Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Day 1 + 2

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Thursday 5 September 2019

ITGWO 2019 Day 1 + 2

The island of Vlieland is waiting for us again for another edition of that wonderful little festival Into The Great Wide Open that we visit annually. The sun is out and we are already sucking up its ray on the ferry to the island. I can already feel that lovely island mood flowing.

Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Thursday August 29


The festival kicks off for us with one of the most interesting new bands of the moment. Squid from Brighton play catchy and danceable punk rock songs that sound like a mix of The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem. Drummer Ollie Judge who is also taking care of most of the lead vocals has a bit of hysterical way of singing which fits their hyperactive music. The way he's phrasing his lyrics is clever and the rest of the band support him with energetic and percussive grooves. The hesitant crowd are slowly doing their first dance moves of the festival.

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We head to the bigger stage in the woods and we find a big crowd there, that has been warmed up completely by Onipa. The band from the UK with singer K.O.G. from Ghana has many people dancing to their hip hop, dance and percussive music with plenty of West African grooves. That is an excellent mix and K.O.G. is a wonderful frontman who is dancing around stage with a big smile on his face. This is one of those bands that will light up a festival with positive vibes and beautiful music.

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Whispering Sons

After seeing Belgian band Whispering Sons killing it a few times, we don’t want to miss them playing the only indoor stage of the festival. The dark small venue should be fitting for their even darker music. The sound is a bit dry though and it makes their music less powerful, making it harder to get into. Fortunately ‎Fenne Kuppens keeps working the crowd with her expressive performance and low voice. In the end they are able to grab me again with their gloomy and impressive show.

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Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Friday August 30


I found out that I saw this band from Soweto some years ago as well on this island. Judging from my post I wasn’t really impressed. But a few months ago I really liked the energetic and lively performance. Today again the band plays a steaming show with a catchy mix of spirituals, soul and hip hop. The big drums keep the dancing going while Jovi Nkosi is singing, rapping and screaming tirelessly. Kgomotso Mokone's beautiful voice adds the soul and percussion and the wonderful bass of Mosebetsi Nzimande adds a lot of sugar to the steady grooves. The crowd keeps growing throughout the show and the band wins everyone over. There’s also time for some stories about the problems in South Africa and a message of unity. At the end Jovi has a heartfelt shout-out to his child and the man taking care of him now.

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Daniel Norgren

I’m really happy to see Daniel Norgren again, since I love his music so much. It’s his second time on the island where I got introduced to him his first time here and completely got swept away. The gentle Swede starts out small behind the piano and then gradually lets it rip. The new songs are once again mostly laid back Americana tunes with Norgren’s skilful guitar that he sometimes will let erupt. His loyal band is a perfect match and plays with a lot of heart. The crowd feels this and is listening in silence, grabbed by Norgren’s music. It’s beautiful that such a happy crowd can stay quiet on a sunny afternoon like today. It is the audience Norgren deserves. He states this is one of the best festivals he ever played, quickly adding that he not just saying that. This festival and this wonderful musician are a perfect match.

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Some years ago Yolanda Quartey played in a band called Phantom Limb that was winning over hearts very fast. Suddenly they quit after their first album and I never got clear what happened. Now she’s back as a solo artist with similar Americana and country style songs. Mostly these songs are gentle tunes with the amazing voice of Yola. She is able to belt out incredible vocals but chooses to keep it small most of the time. The songs stay a bit on the safe side and it never gets so impressive as the first time I saw her. But the charismatic Yola is lovely to watch, looking very happy on stage performing her own music.

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Equal Idiots

It’s time to fire it up again and this Belgian duo are exactly what I need. Their explosive garage rock songs are all loud little firecrackers that start a small pit in front of the stage. This wonderful festival crowd is always a bit hesitant with wild guitar bands, so it never gets out of control. Singer Thibault Christiaensen notices this and keeps firing up the crowd until the pit starts growing. The duo never lets it slip and comes up winning in the end by playing contagious raw rock music with a lot of effort and energy.

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There’s a lot of music from the big African continent this year, or inspired by it. KOKOROKO draw their inspiration from afrobeat and jazz, which means they are channeling some of Fela Kuti's music and some amazing jazz as well. Indeed it’s quite jazzy with the three horn players at the front, but at the same time has exciting afro-beat vibes, making it very suitable for dancing. Trumpet player Sheila Maurice-Grey is also the front woman and the large band draws an equally big crowd to the stage in the woods. It is great to see so many people turning up for a band that doesn’t exactly play avarage festival friendly music. It proves the open mind of this festival crowd although it helps a lot that you can dance to this music. I like their sound a lot and all the happy dancing pepole around us between the trees makes for a lovely sight.

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The Murder Capital

Hailing from Dublin, this group is one of the products of the exploding post punk scene there. The music of this five piece is on the dark side and the indoor stage is a good place for it. It’s an intense performance with the impressive front man James McGovern, who seems untouched by the big turn up. He doesn’t really have a great singing voice, but his vocals go very well with the dark and violent post punk. The other band members are circling around him, waving their guitars dangerously close to each other’s heads. This band is great to watch and I’m going to keep an eye out for them.

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Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Day 3 + 4

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