Thursday 24 October 2019

On Stage: Navarone @ Paradiso

I'm starting to lose count of how many times I've seen Navarone play live. Slowly I have seen the Dutch rock band grow and progress into the solid group they are now, playing tonight in the main hall of Paradiso. It looks quite full, all the way up to the upper balconies and may have been sold out, or at least close to it. Making it to the main hall of this venue is quite a big thing in this country and something to be proud of, especially when you fill it up completely. It's also a place where I always enjoy going, so I cannot miss this opportunity to see Navarone play here.

Navarone at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 22 2019

Of course it is always fun to see this band play, who will always deliver and are guaranteed to give this crowd a good time. This club tour, called Mixing It Up, they will make it special. After reaching the finals of The Voice Of Holland TV music competition and doing a string of covers for the Veronica radio station, there will be some covers on the setlist and they have plenty of surprises up their sleeves.

The band has a few special guests and friends lined up, people they met during the competition and musicians they like to play with: The Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter' with Patricia van Haastrecht is a tribute to the version The Stones played during their legendary show on this same spot in 1995. Dennis van Aarssen, winner of the competition, joins the band for 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. Saxophone player Robert Van Asseldonk is adding his skills for Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street' and Sanne de Winter joins them for Otis Redding's 'Respect'.

There a couple of other covers, but although Navarone is a great band and plays all of them good enough, not all of them are working equally well. Queen's 'Somebody to Love' doesn't really click. Their 'The Show Must Go On', although started too fast, sounds better, but it really all comes together in Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' that simply is right up their alley. Another highlight is the beautiful version of Eddie Vedder's 'Hard Sun' where singer Merijn van Haren gets help from their good friend Robin Borneman.

You kind of hear this in their own songs as well, where the more heavy songs are their best ones. The more poppy ones that are slowly finding their way onto their later albums are maybe more radio friendly, but are not the band at its best. It may not have been a conscious choice to shift their sound in that direction, one that can move them into the mainstream and reach a bigger crowd. That of course is very tempting and could be the difference between failure and success as a band.

But it could also mean they will move too far away from what makes them so good: honest rock songs with a heavy twist, played tightly with a lot of heart and that get the best out of van Haren's incredible voice. Heavy rockers like 'Cerberus' and 'The Red Queen Effect' show the band on top of their game. Songs like that are why I got into this band and started following them. These heavy songs are also the best parts of their shows and prove that they don't need all these covers to please a crowd or put up a good show.

All Pictures

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01. Perfect Design
02. The Strong Survive
03. Showtime
04. The Red Queen Effect
05. Cerberus
06. Somebody To Love (Queen cover)
07. Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones cover) (with Patricia van Haastrecht)
08. Leave
09. Surrender
10. You'll Never Walk Alone (Gerry & the Pacemakers cover)
11. Hotel California (Eagles cover)
12. December
13. Hard Sun (Eddie Vedder cover) (with Robin Borneman)
14. Another Way
15. Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty cover) (with Robert Van Asseldonk)
16. Respect (Otis Redding cover) (with Sanne de WInter & Robert Van Asseldonk)
17. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover)
18. Free Together (with Robert Van Asseldonk)
19. The Show Must Go On (Queen cover)
20. Wander
21. Lonely Nights (with Robert Van Asseldonk)

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