Friday, 14 February 2020

On Stage: Ryley Walker @ THT

No too long ago Ryley Walker visited Amsterdam with his band to promote his latest record Deafman Glance. Not long after that he posted on social media he wasn't doing so well and needed professional help. He went away for a while but fortunately was able to overcome his demons and is now doing an acoustic tour all by himself.

Ryley Walker at Paradiso Tolhuistuin Amsterdam, February 12 2020

The musician certainly looks in better shape tonight than the last time. He has lost weight and seems to be in a much better place. He is cheerful on stage, chatting with the crowd, smiling and laughing a lot. Walker is a great entertainer and has no trouble pleasing the crowd tonight. In between songs he has short funny anecdotes and is cracking lots of jokes. It results in a relaxed atmosphere where Walker is the radiant centre piece.

He is an amazing song writer that is able to compose gorgeous tracks both musically and lyrically. In this acoustic setting this is even more clear and his music is perfect for it. Many songs have lovely guitar intros, intermezzos and solos where Walker is showing his impressive guitar skills. I love the way he builds up his songs around breezy finger picking parts, giving his music a light touch. With his pleasant voice tracks like 'Pimrose Green' and 'The Roundabout' wrap themselves around you. It truly is music to lose yourself and wallow in.

There are also a couple of covers tonight, John Martyn's 'Over The Hill' and Tim Hardin's 'If I Were A Carpenter'. You can leave it to Walker to do them truly justice and make them fit into his own catalogue perfectly. He is a gifted musician and I love his music. It's good to see he's doing well and hopefully he will be back soon to treat us to his lovely songs and maybe some new music too.

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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

On Stage: Supergrass @ Paradiso

When Blur and Oasis were fighting for Britpop domination halfway the nineties, there was a whole bunch of bands trying to ride the waves they were making. One of the most fun bands to come from that were Supergrass who made uplifting songs with a lot of refreshing energy. It was a real shame they called it a day ten years ago. Fortunately they have reunited again and are playing my hometown a visit.

Supergrass at Paradiso Amsterdam, February 8 2020

According to the band they will not be making new music but will only play live for a while. I'm not sure this means they are doing it for money or for reliving their glory years. I don't really care since I finally get to see this band play, that I never got to see before (at least not that I can recall). Most of the nights the band is kicking off with 'In It For The Money', showing plenty tongue in cheek. However drummer Danny Goffey is ill (maybe partied too hard on his birthday the day before?), so they cut their set a bit shorter, by only one song though.

The band is taking their time to warm up and build up their set. The first couple of songs are a bit hesitant and the crowd also has to warm up. 'Moving' however breaks the ice and the crowd and the band really connect for the first time. After that it only gets better and the quartet bring the nineties back to life with their amazing songs.

Since this group has plenty of catchy well written songs, full of hooks, wonderful melodies and rocking choruses. Even a song like 'Late In The Day' that is halfway the set, which starts like a ballad, will eventually turn into a swinging pop song. The crowd is now totally into it and the best is yet to come. The band saved their biggest hits 'til the end and 'Grace', 'Alright', 'Pumping On Your Stereo', 'Sun Hits The Sky' and 'Lenny' follow back to back leading into a delightful climax until the band leaves the stage.

They return for two more songs and close the night with a rough version of 'Strange Ones' that tells the story of tonight. The story of a band that knows how to write a great song and makes it sound even better live on stage. So maybe they won't write any more of these songs, but hopefully they will keep playing the ones from their current catalogue for a while.

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01. I’d Like to Know
02. Diamond Hoo Ha Man
03. Mary
04. Moving
05. Time
06. Sitting Up Straight
07. Mansize Rooster
08. St. Petersburg
09. Late in the Day
10. Richard III
11. Going Out
12. Low C
13. Lose It
14. She's So Loose
15. Grace
16. Alright
17. Pumping on Your Stereo
18. Sun Hits the Sky
19. Lenny
20. Caught by the Fuzz
21. Strange Ones

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