donderdag 30 april 2015

Jack Ely, singer of The Kingsmen, I.M. (1943 - 2015)

Jack Ely? Who? I didn't have a clue until I read: "singer of The Kingsmen has died". Better to write would have been the singer of "Louie Louie". That garage rock staple of a song. The most famous of all versions, no matter who or what recorded it before or after. What may also be a very valid question: Who has ever heard another The Kingsmen song? Eternal fame on the basis of one song, a cover to.

Louie Louie was written by Richard Berry (no relation to Chuck) in 1955 and released on the b-side of a single called 'You are my sunshine' in 1957. According to a book about the song there are at least a 1.000 recorded version; in 1993. Since? Who knows. To the world there's only one that matters and Jack Ely sings on it.

Well singing? It is more a raucous screech that Ely released from his thorax. What he sings is for 25% hardly understandable. In fact, in that fantastic building housing the museum on local bands from Washington and Oregon called EMP, there is a letter by J. Edgar Hoover asking for an investigation into the lyric, as he perceived it as undermining to the state in general and the youth of America in particular. Little did he know that the singer had already been sacked by the band before the song became a hit.

Ely sounds totally drunk. In a later story it is explained that he had to sing into a microphone hanging from the ceiling above him and had to shout to come in over the noise the band was making. Next to that he was wearing braces. So now you know. 19 Years old Ely was that day in April 1963 when the Kingsmen got one hour of recording time from their dance hall gig owner.

The result: 'Louie Louie'. A song that every 60s cover band loves to play. The rhythm is pounding and relentless, the energy one huge, built up portion of testosterone. In other words: it rocks! But is mysterious also. A great combination.

On the other hand the recording is so primitive, the playing at best just above mediocre. In the end that doesn't even matter. This record, that doesn't last more than 2.46 minutes, captured all there was to say. Even when Ely makes a mistake by starting to sing right after the solo, it was not corrected. Perhaps there wasn't any more money but it may well be that all the other takes just did not capture what this one did. This take made it famous for always and is the basis for every cover since. And, where do you think Ray Davies got the idea for 'You really got me' from? I'm fairly sure I know.

Jack Ely and his band were famous for just one song. A song that is at the heart of every garage rock band that sprouted up in the U.S. from 1964 onwards and is still an example for every garage rock band that makes music today, whether they know it or not. That is leaving behind a legacy I say. I'm putting it on again and have that organ start that riff of riffs.

(With a little help from Wikipedia at the lemmas 'Jack Ely' and 'Louie Louie'.)

Wo.

You can listen to 'Louie Louie' here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RZJ4ESU52U

or buy at Bol.com


The April Kairos

In April .No released his latest program for Concertzender. As he has a fundamentally broader taste in music than Wo. has, the latter picks up the challenge once more and turns a fresh ear to the music the former played on his show and shares his thoughts with all interested. So let us turn to the meditation on music called Kairos.


After the usual, dark voiced intro, harp notes are played and my first guess is: Anita Frenks. She is joined on 'Lullaby' my Merel Moelker on voice. Still writing my intro a piano joins the song and I'm thinking, 'I can't remember a piano on this song' and half way notice that .No did it again, fooled me into another song without really noticing. Frenks' 'Lullaby' is a short, elementary song of certain beauty, but dwarfed by the grandeur of the piano playing of Lubomyr Melnyk in 'The Six Day Moment'. My guess is that the title alludes to the creation of human life on the sixth day. If anything the composition sparkles with life. The trilling high and low(er) notes span the whole of creation. The sparkling starlight, the warmth of the sun, trickling of small brooks, the wind in the leaves and bustling animals and playing mankind. Melnyk spans it all in this beautiful work. All is in rest and well, ready for the seventh day. Luckily the piano composition does not look beyond that day.

Next up is a poem. A few lines read in that dark voice of the announcer. The poem is by Anita Frenks as well and breaths the same tranquillity as 'The Six Day Moment'. The music continues with another Snowstar Records artist, Kim Janssen, who we were acquainted with a few months back. His song 'Casket' from the album 'Ancient Crime' is light with moody overtones. It doesn't let itself be captured easily. 'Casket' reminds me of the way Bonnie 'Prince' Billy' records his songs. Double tracked vocals, sung a bit slurred and a prominent acoustic guitar, while all else seems almost accidental. Which of course it isn't as all is in its right place.

Things get a bit more mysterious with Will Samson's 'Dusty Old Plane' from his album 'Balance'. Electronic background sounds, some synth notes and chords over which Samson sings with a high and higher voice. If there were any monks left composing Gregorian chants they would probably sound like this and cross out that line of no music, singing only with ease. This certainly is not my kind of music, but I hear the inner beauty that must have caused .No to let it enter his hemisphere and share it with all of us.

Hans Kockelmans' 'Prelude 100, voor Liesbeth' gives an insight into the musical prowess of this composer and guitarist from Limburg in The Netherlands. Being regularly featured on Kairos, Kockelmans gets an exposure his playing definitely deserves. His 'Prelude 100, voor Liesbeth' sounds traditional, with enough space created in the recording for the guitar to sound full without over-doing anything. The rest and quiet of the composition gives the listener the impression that all is well.

What I'm hearing next is the uncanny and estranging music that sounded in the first 'Heimat' movie/tv series. Those short outburst of notes that always sounded so strange. Ólafur Björn Ólafsson in the partly broadcasted 'Heaven in a wildflower' starts that way, before Ólafsson lets the wildflower grow and blossom. The snippet of the composition transcends into the piano of Deborah Richards, who plays Charles Koechlin's 'Sur la Falaise' from his work 'Paysages et Marines, op.63 pour piano'. Before I've settled into this work, the estranging sounds of Giardini di Mirò's '8' are already working on me. Things change so fast that it's near impossible to form an opinion. '8' from the album 'Il Fuoco' is longer. Totally experimental and otherwordly. The piano at times sounds like the piano in '2.000 Light Years From Home', from the days The Rolling Stones were tripping on acid. That is the only comparison possible between the two songs though. Voices create a background hum over which atmosphere and a sparse, loose piano note is let loose. Percussion pounds away, seemingly disconnected from it all.

The 'Heimat' connection returns with altosaxophone played by Ton Verhiel in Gerard Sars' 'Chroma, opus 66,1, for altosaxophone and organ', the latter played by Sars himself. Again I'm compelled to think 'What am I hearing'? The organ plays chords that seem almost disconnected from Verhiel's playing and still work together, but at the total edge of what is harmonically possible. For someone who loves a perfect popsong, this is hard to listen to, but fascinating none the same.

.No does his trick again as 'Chroma' blends into atmospheric hiss and other sounds that are hard to comprehend. 'A fading found' it is. Something is out there, but I don't know what it is. This music could be in that recurring nightmare of my past days. The one that I was desperately looking for someone or something, that slowly turned into me being chased by something or someone unknown to me. One of the most common dreams, it turned out to be. Taylor Deupree slowly lets in gamalan sounds into his 100% electronically created music. That is looped and lets in small new sounds, creating an ever thicker sound that kind of grows on me. Still I can't help thinking, why does anybody want to make music like this? Followed by a second one: Why would anybody want to listen to it? There's no front, no end and just eternal inbetweenness, like I picture heaven to be on the basis of Middle Age paintings: the endless nothing, with millions in the lap of Abraham. A true hell in other words. 'Chroma' is so not me, that I sort of shudder. In other words Deupree's music has a real impact and makes me feel very much alive. Well done!

Next up is a Sax on guitar. Cees Sax plays a piece called 'Valse sine nome' by Baden Powell de Aquino, the Brazilian bossa nova guitarist. Sax plays the composition in a very laid back style and makes it come very much alive. The warmth coming from the guitar is a relief after 'Chroma'.

For years I've heard about the German band Einsturzende Neubauten, even saw them hammering away on anything that could be hammered on a long time ago on t.v. In 2015 I finally get to hear music by the band with the members with exciting names like N.U. Unruh and Blixa Bargeld (also know for his work with Nick Cave). In 'Blume' from the album 'Tabula Rasa' the music is fairly conventional, certainly after what we have been presented with this Kairos. Anita Lane sing-talks herself through 'Blume' accompanied by a listless "la-la-la". Violins, guitars, percussion and electronics come by. Actually it makes me want to check out this album as a whole and I will soon.

Before I knew it we were already nearing the end. Again total estrangement. Roll the Dice is the Swedish duo Malcolm Pardon en Peder Mannerfelt. From its album 'In Dust' we get to hear 'Black thirty'. The two combine electronics with synthesizers and a piano. At least there's a hint of a chord progression that could, should the duo so wish, be turned into a "real" song. Enough to hold on to and follow through the five plus minutes 'Black thirty' last.

After one hour the April Kairos is all over. Next month I discuss May. Rumour has it that Broeder Dieleman makes another appearance and that Bonnie 'Prince' Billy may make his first on this programme. Read all about it next month.

You can listen to the April Kairos here:

http://www.concertzender.nl/programmagids/?date=2015-04-02&month=1&detail=77406

woensdag 29 april 2015

Koningsdag Festival. Haarlem, 27 April 2015

Photo: Wo.
No, I would not see The Hackensaw Boys again this tour. The band was going to Hamburg or so one of its members told me and I was going to Haarlem somewhere during the afternoon of Koningsdag, but first had some work to do. Typing away on emails going out to all sorts of different countries around the globe, I received an app message from my girlfriend. "Do you know your friends are playing in Haarlem this afternoon"?, it read. "No", I answered. Not according to the band's website either. As a folder and a local newspaper had the band on the list, I decided to pack up just a little earlier than planned and take the train. We arrived just in time to see the band finish the soundcheck, after which the audience was captured song by song. I must have set a record, seeing a band twice within 14 hours.

Photo: Wo.
Hearing the new songs for the second time, I realised how much I'm looking forward to hearing them on record. One of the lyrics is a total allegory on life itself. "If the salts don't kill me, it will be the sweets". Things can not be more true. The division on songwriting duties were clear also. David Sickmen the slower, more introspective ones, Ferd Moyse comes up with the stomping ones on the fiddle.

Something funny happened right behind me in one of the other new songs. There were some ladies from a choir in Haarlem standing behind me and they started harmonising with some of the songs. That was a moment that I thought, o.k., so you can do these things also with songs of The Hackensaw Boys. This happened totally spontaneously as the songs were new ones that I had heard for the first time the night before. This is a band with multi layered vocals, but never like these. So, gentlemen, perhaps an idea to hook up one day with these ladies and see what happens from there? It would definitely mean a sound change, that's true, but it sounded pretty cool this combination of hard-edged male voices and soft female choir ones that found all these different textures and harmonies in one: on the spot.

Bryan and his Charismo. Photo: Wo.
The band captured the audience in a way that shows tells that The Hackensaw Boys have the potential to grow, but somehow there is a natural barrier also for this kind of music. I hope this barrier does go down for them, as The Hackensaw Boys need this little extra and being the hard working but extremely kind band it seems to be what they deserve as well.

Again it all ended with the great party song 'We Are Many'. This song is not one of the band's most ear catching songs on record. It's o.k., but not as brilliant as some other ones, like my all time favourite 'Alabama Shamrock'. Live however the band kicks it into an overdrive version with a great ending that begs dancing and singing along. 'Cannonball' may no longer be played as crowd pleaser, 'We are Many' more than took it's place. A great song to stop a gig with. People may remember it for quite a while. It was a pleasure gentlemen seeing you play twice in 14 hours.

Photo: Wo.
Next up was the band with the mayor of Haarlem himself on bass and part time vocals. All things Herman Brood are totally his. Fox and the Mayors is the name of this cover band which play everything from Andre Hazes to Neil Diamond and from The Rolling Stones, including 'Happy' (!), to Herman Brood. Big smiles and a lot of singing along all around. With a fantastic guitarist, Niek Vos, a very competent drummer, an extremely relaxed bass player, a saxophonist and three vocalists, the band could handle everything. Of course there were mistakes as a part time cover band is allowed to make, but the atmosphere, the joy of playing and the watching each other for cues that were given on time, the band got away with these mistakes easily. Fox and the Mayors is not the best band in the world, but brings joy and smiles 
Mr. Fox himself. Photo: Wo.
to those watching and that's what more than half of playing music is for. Kudos to mayor Bernt Schneiders to be up on that small stage, drinking beer with the band and showing his love for playing music and Herman Brood in particular. He plays and sings this in a very convincing way. Kudos for singer Jack van der Hoek who is the least alpha male singer I know as he steps aside for others just as easily as he fronts the band and "Meisjes zijn't allermooist op aard, niets dat hun schoonheid evenaart. Zeg maar dat Van der Hoek het gezegd heeft". And that is just how things are in my universe. With this cover of the Raymond van 't Groenewoud song, after long and democratic deliberations on stage, the show ended with this encore. Time to go home after two days of music.

Wo.

dinsdag 28 april 2015

Life I live. The Hague, 26 April 2015

Photo: Wo.
The city of The Hague organised a festival in the passed called "Koninginenach", the evening before Queen's Day. Somehow these sort of festivals disappeared from my life, the event was even stopped. Not that I see any logical ties between the two though. Then my eye fell on a new festival, or so I thought, called Life I live. On that account I was wrong: this year was the fifth edition. I was right on the account that the name of the festival stems from the 1966 hit of Dutch rockers Q65, 'The Life I Live'. 9 Podia all over the city centre. I saw several but stopped to listen at only two. A tough choice though. Queen's Day is no more, we have King's Day. Whether I'll ever get used to naming it that, the same goes for the date change of 3 days, I don't know, but this festival was pretty great. All in all I saw four acts.


Jacco Gardner

Photo: Wo.
Two years ago I was pretty harsh in my opinion of Jacco Gardner's first cd. I wrote something like "a study in music with no heart in it". With his new cd underway I thought to give him a chance and see how he pulls away things live. In the past two years Gardner toured much of the world, has just arrived in time back from playing in London he told us. A lot of people must be hearing something that I don't. I'm sorry to say that I do not really live either. What can I say? That it was obvious that every one in the band plays well. That a lot of his songs have a warm organ sound that plays out all the sounds of yesteryear. My opinion has not changed though. To me there's something missing in the music and Jacco Gardner is not a real stage presence. The first listen to the new single, 'Find Yourself', seemed alright though, so who knows?

Jacco knows his classics. He referred to the Q65 single during his show. He would have scored points if he had played it in tribute, which he didn't. That may have happened later that night with The Deaf, but I was at another stage by then. The life I live is full of choices. To compensate the omission I provide a link to Q65 below.

Intergalactic Lovers

Photo: Wo.
Next up was a band from Belgium that has not featured on this blog before. Singer Lara Chedraoui sang on a song on the last Drive Like Maria album and featured as such. Before a band can perform properly, there's a lot of sound checking going on, for the musicians as well as for the audience. The last one to test was Ms. Chedraoui. After a few bored sounding one, twos, she started singing 'Wicked Game' and the audience fell silent. She had already won the audience over before the show and got an applause. This continued luckily for all concerned.

Here was a band that put down a show as you like to see at a festival. An introduction to new songs and a pleasant surprise in one. Lara Chedraoui has a stage presence and is able to seduce the audience. Musically there is a lot going on, with different sounds between the two guitarists. Indie and pop with some alternative rock overtones is the right description here. With the sort of music the band plays I would have expected an organ in the mix, but there wasn't. The most lead guitarist of the two played a lot of atmospheric sounds, like slide, to compensate.

This is one of the two things I missed in Intergalactic Lovers. There were no real solos in the songs. It was the singer who soloed by oohs or aahs. The other was the most songs are in the same tempo. A song or two with a little more spunk in it would have been welcome as far as I'm concerned and added to the experience. Dynamics are an important feature of records and shows.

For the rest I was thoroughly entertained by Intergalactic Lovers. It made me decide to check out the cd again. It may well be that I missed something after all. Sometimes first listen can go wrong. (And then I remember I'm mistaken. Erwin Zijleman wrote on Intergalactic Lovers on the blog: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2015/01/little-heavy-burdens-intergalactic.html, so we have published before.)

Admiral Freebee

Photo: Wo.
Another band from Belgium. Admiral Freebee is Tom van Laere. In the past he has featured in the magazine version of WoNo. I saw him play in a trio version in Het Paard in The Hague in the mid 00s, but have to admit that I missed Admiral Freebee's last two albums. Somehow the band slipped from my bands to follow list.

What happened on stage during the transition between bands amazed me. Except for some sort of a totem pole more and more instruments were carried on stage. A seven piece band all in all. The reason why became clear in the first song. Admiral Freebee did a Van Morrison, horns and all. Even the antics of conducting all into the right amount of playing and volume were all there. When things were right after the first song, Tom van Laere set back, relaxed and the magic started.

Photo: Wo.
Reading later that night that this was the first show of the season for this incarnation of Admiral Freebee, I'm even more impressed. The band played so good, with my compliments for the sound people, who got it all so right, with so many instruments on stage. All instruments and voices came out showing the intricacies of the arrangements. All the players got their solos as supposed to in a jazzy rock setting. Tom van Laere in the end proved to be a relaxed band leader. He looked around and heard things were alright. He simply sat down on his piano stool or on one of the stage monitors and let things happen. Playing along as one of the band or even letting it go completely.

I truly like Tom van Laere's voice and as it came out alright in the mix there was enough to enjoy. Admiral Freebee captured the part of the audience where I was a part of, so did well. I really only had thing to complain about. Not playing 'Oh Darkness' is sort of inexcusable, but was certainly compensated with 'Bad Year for Rock and Roll'. I hereby promise to catch up on Admiral Freebee's last album or albums asap.

The Hackensaw Boys

Photo: Wo.
A band that has featured a lot on this blog is Charlotteville's, Virginia, best, The Hackensaw Boys. Although I would have liked to see The Deaf play it was not an option to miss my longtime musical friends. There were sound problems, somehow it seems that amplifying acoustic instruments is so much harder than electrically wired instruments. The banjo was struggling the whole way with feedback on stage. Despite that the band was charged and so was the audience. Wide audience participation in the form of a mosh pit made me step a few meters to the side. Nothing unfriendly went on by the way. It was just a real party, but I'm there to listen as there were a whole bunch of new songs going about. A few of them certainly impressed at first listen. The album is planned for September, so watch this space for more news soon, I hope. What I noticed is that the band attracts hipsters. The men with beardos and slickly combed back hair are all around these days. Tattoos and loose parts to the body as well. The bluegrass with a punk attitude certainly seemed attractive to them.

Photo: Wo.
These days the band is a foursome with their driver Thomas Olivier this time on bass, last year on mandolin as the fifth member. With Jimmy Stelling on banjo and Ferd Moyse on fiddle this set up is enough. The Hackensaw Boys sounded tighter, more compact than as a six piece band last year in Utrecht. Stelling is as rock and roll as they come on banjo, while Moyse has a twinkle in his eye when playing and looks and plays like the hillbilly all the way. David Sickmen is the best singer of the band and keeps the rhythm going on guitar together with Brian Gorby on the charismo. Brian is perhaps the only musician in the world who plays an instrument compiled from the contents of a trash can.

After the show I was asked "will we see you again this tour"? and I said "no". Me asking where are you going to next and got as an answer "Hamburg". So I thought this is it for this tour for me. Read on soon.....

If you're interested in The Hackensaw Boys you find more reviews on this blog and interviews with David Sickmen and ex-member Ward Harrison.

Wo.

You can listen to Q65 'The life I live' here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVGRuD5zSa0

maandag 27 april 2015

At Least For Now. Benjamin Clementine

Benjamin Clementine zag ik een paar maanden geleden voorbij komen in De Wereld Draait Door; zo ongeveer de beste reclame die een muzikant zich tegenwoordig kan wensen.
 
Er werd me wat te driftig gestrooid met superlatieven en het optreden van één minuut dat volgde maakte op mij totaal geen indruk; de staande ovatie na afloop ten spijt. Ik zag een minuut zonder enige structuur, die werkelijk overliep van pretentie, wat bij mij altijd flink wat allergie oproept.
 
Ik begon daarom met frisse tegenzin aan de beluistering van At Least For Now, het debuut van de van oorsprong Ghanese muzikant, die opgroeide in Londen, maar als muzikant voor het eerst indruk maakte in de metrostations van Parijs, waarin hij omstanders imponeerde met zijn bijzondere muziek en al even bijzondere vertolkingen van het werk van anderen.
 
At Least For Now is absoluut de uiterst pretentieuze plaat die ik op basis van mijn eerste kennismaking met de muziek van Benjamin Clementine had verwacht, maar waar het kwartje bij mij in die ene minuut DWDD niet viel, maakt het hele album, na enige gewenning, wel flink wat indruk.
 
Het is bijzondere muziek die Benjamin Clementine maakt. Centraal staan zijn donker klinkende en vaak wat jazzy pianospel en zijn bijzondere stem, die wat plechtig aandoet en meer dan eens aan Nina Simone doet denken. Antony Hegarty is het andere vergelijkingsmateriaal dat tot dusver vaak wordt aangedragen bij het omschrijven van de muziek van Benjamin Clementine en ook dit is zinvol vergelijkingsmateriaal. Met Antony deelt Benjamin Clementine de voorliefde voor zwaar aangezette songs vol dramatiek en een voorkeur voor een stemmige, vaak wat klassiek aandoende instrumentatie.
 
Persoonlijk hoor ik ook nog wel wat van de vergeten legende Billy MacKenzie, maar uiteindelijk mag, nee moet, Benjamin Clementine worden gezien als een muzikant met een uniek eigen geluid.
 
Stemmige pianoklanken staan centraal op At Least For Now, maar Benjamin Clementine zet ook met enige regelmaat percussie en vooral strijkers in, wat zijn songs voorziet van de broodnodige variatie en bovendien structuur geeft aan deze songs.
 
Het is allemaal behoorlijk zwaar aangezet, behoorlijk somber en bij vlagen net wat teveel van het goede, maar zeker wanneer Benjamin Clementine redelijk binnen de lijntjes kleurt, maakt hij veel indruk met zijn indringende songs.
 
In vocaal opzicht kan hij werkelijk alle kanten op, waardoor hij afwisselend kan klinken als Nina Simone, Antony Hegarty, Billy MacKenzie of zelfs Bowie in zijn meer theatrale dagen, maar Benjamin Clementine is net zo makkelijk een soulzanger, een nachtclub jazzartiest of een speenvarken dat naar de slachtbank wordt gevoerd.
 
Ik geef direct toe dat de wat meer extreme momenten op At Least For Now me in eerste instantie flink tegen stonden, maar uiteindelijk brengen deze het bijzondere debuut van Benjamin Clementine op smaak en geven ze dit debuut pit.
 
At Least For Now is zeker geen makkelijke plaat, zodat je zeker de tijd moet nemen om deze bijzondere plaat te doorgronden, maar uiteindelijk krijg je er veel voor terug. Benjamin Clementine heeft een indringende, avontuurlijke, emotievolle en meeslepende plaat vol lef en bravoure gemaakt. Zet hem twee keer achter elkaar op, bijt af en toe even door de zure appel heen en maak uiteindelijk een diepe buiging voor dit grote en eigenzinnige talent. Aangekondigd als één van de muzikale sensaties van 2015 en hij maakt het waar. Meer dan waar zelfs.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier luisteren naar 'Condolence':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DU6lDPs-AQ


of kopen op Bol.com:

zondag 26 april 2015

Love massacre. Dee

It's not every day that someone contacts me directly with the request to review just one song. It's happened before, think e.g. that fantastic song of Lighting Vishwa Experience, 'Love when you don't want it' (read here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2014/08/love-when-you-dont-want-it-lighting.html). This kind of request came in via Twitter some weeks back, so I thought why not give it a try.

The funny thing is that at first listen I really thought this is not for me. Let's say that I was on my way to the 'Thriftshop', musically that is. But when someone asks nicely and even sends the music to me, I decided to let it lie and try again later. And so I did. Fact is that after a few spins I can easily hear why this track is appealing. Who are we talking about here?

Dee is a singer from Scotland, Glasgow to be more precise. She's been living in Los Angeles for a few years, before returning to Glasgow where she started to write songs with Brian Cunningham and Paul Duffin of Axis Sounds. She's labelled R&B and that is the exact reason why I started the review like I did. There's a second reason though. The 80s synth sounds always turn the allergic red spots on arms extremely on, making me itch all over. And still I was turned on to Love Massacre in the end.

Dee promo photo
The song holds a darkness within it of the sort that makes it quite appealing. This mix of Joy Division, Tubeway Army and Depeche Mode that turns up in 10s R&B rhythms and singing actually work well. It may not be for a whole album or even an EP, but time will tell. Dee sings over this darkness with the deeper range of her voice in a very convincing way.

The text is about the dregs of love, the lament after parting. Dee has found the right melodies and tone of voice for the pain to come out and show. She talks-sings herself through the story. It has a form of rawness that suits the topic quite well. There are a few interesting harmonies going on in the background. Voices come in from all sides and the dark Rammstein like, electronically treated "aahh", is fun. I can't tell whether all the voices are Dee's, but I suspect they are. In that case voice holds a lot of surprises for the future other than the dark-voiced talk-singing she doing mostly in the front of her debut single. Disillusion is all around here, but Love Massacre allows for some sunshine as it led to inspiration and an outlet.

So don't let yourself be turned off by the first chords and sounds of the song. Delve deeper and find the beauty hidden within. Love Massacre holds promise, so I'm looking forward to hearing more at a later stage.

Wo.

You can listen to 'Love Massacre' here:

http://youtu.be/YchepeP51xQ


zaterdag 25 april 2015

Modern nature. The Charlatans

The Charlatans is a band that is around for over 25 years in 2015. A band that has known ups and downs and lost band members in ways that are not for every band. I had lost sight of them after 'Up To Their Hips', to regain attention in the mid 00s with the fantastic album 'You Cross My Path'. During the tour of that album I saw the band live in The Hague, where I wanted to see Joan as Policewoman and Supergrass. The Charlatans won easily the evening, if there had been prizes to give away that is.

To my surprise there has been an album in 2010, 'Who We Touch', which I appear to have missed. After this release things went quite for 5 years. The band lost its drummer due to a brain tumor and decided not to replace him for this album. As a four piece the band continues: Tim Burgess (vocals); original member Mark Blunt on bass; long time member Marc Collins on things guitar and keyboardist Tony Rogers, who replaced Rob Collins in 1997.

From a Dutch perspective The Charlatans is a typical UK band. Big over the smaller pond, nearly unknown here. There was a hit in the early 90s somewhere, but that is about it. The other perspective is that the band broke just before Britpop became a moniker in vogue. And still up and running.

Modern Nature is an extremely clear sounding record. Self-produced together with Jim Spencer, with credits to his name like New Order and Liam Gallagher, to name a few. The spacious mix makes it extremely pleasant to listen to with the head set on. Musically Modern Nature is unhasting itself. The dance rhythms and the rock fuelled, dancy rock songs are missing here. Modern Nature is an album for middle aged people who still like to listen to their bands of old. This isn't as bland as it may sound. The Charlatans shows with its latest record, that its position right behind the great bands of its hey day is still fully deserved. The urgency has been replaced by a mellowness that is extremely pleasing. At the right time of the day. It is at those moments that the broadly rolling keyboards and the arpeggiated guitars do their work in all the right ways.

Over all that Tim Burgess sings in a relaxed way, swaying me into relaxation. Beneath this all the beat may still be quiet busy, it is so that it augments the relaxed atmosphere. Listen to a song like 'Emilie' and you'll find out just what I mean. The Charlatans seems to have have found the best of both worlds (again). In a song like 'Let the Good Times Be Never Ending' a few rightly placed effects lift the song up in a great way. Backing ladies vocals, some horns and finally a warm lead organ with a 60s feel and all feels totally different. The band manages a few tricks like this on the album, making Modern Nature more attractive by the spin.

Although this usually has a negative connotation, Modern Nature shows that The Charlatans is grower older in an extremely graceful way. A song like 'I Need To Know' has this great sense of urgency, without any rolling of muscles. The organ/mellotron sounding gives the song a great 60s feel, while the power drives the song onwards, while Burgess keeps his cool. It is a song like this that I know that Modern Nature and I are going to be just fine. The downside is that I have to really listen. The album doesn't work being played in the background. For that it is too modest, certainly in the first half. The brakes slowly come off in the second half. The rockbeast is still hiding in their somewhere, which is just fine. The conclusion simply can be that The Charlatans may just take a turn in another direction come 2016 or onwards when starting contemplating record #13.

Wo.

You can listen to 'So oh' here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLEGsayAXKw

or buy at Bol.com:



vrijdag 24 april 2015

Supermoon. Sophie Hunger

Sophie Hunger has featured before on this blog. Her previous record 'The Danger of Light' was reviewed by both Erwin Zijleman and Wo., while the latter reviewed her show in Patronaat in December 2013. In fact he proclaimed it the best gig he'd seen that year (http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2013/12/sophie-hunger-live-enchanting-and.html). In 2015 it is time for Supermoon, so let's go.

The first listen. Oh, what disappointment. Totally different from my expectations, all sorts of new directions taken, with 80s synth things and jazzy outings. It left me behind shocked and baffled. What do I do with this album?

Luckily for Sophie there is hardly any album by an act that I really like of which the next album did not disappoint me at first listen. I remember not buying 'The wall' for months, as I was so disappointed with what they played on the radio. 'Black and blue'? That was a record I just hated the first time I heard songs. And so on and so on. The exception is the second Arctic Monkeys album, although the first single shocked me.

Luckily for Sophie Hunger things turned out well quite often. Unless the album was truly bad, i.e. not to my liking. Supermoon is not. With the second spin I heard the somewhat weird beginning of 'Superman Woman', including a tip of the hat to Courtney Barnett, turning into the fun chorus the song has, poppy and happy. With the third spin the record is starting to get to me, while I'm remembered that 'The Danger of Light' didn't get to me totally at first listen also. Erwin Zijleman triggered me, as he often does with his reviews, so I persevered. After that first I got back to the album regularly and after a while decided that it deserved my review also.

Having that behind us, I can finally, truly focus on Supermoon, Sophie Hunger's 5th album to date, not counting 2013's live album 'The Rules of Fire' and my second Sophie Hunger album. The basis of Supermoon is Sophie Hunger's voice. Singing mostly English, but her German/Schweiz background shines through also in two songs and French as well. The typical pronunciation in her German songs is already well worth listening.

Musically Supermoon is smaller than her previous studio album. The beautiful effects that enlarged several songs, especially the horns, are mostly left behind. The mood is simplified and much more down to earth. 'Le Chanson d'Helene' (with a role for Eric Cantona) is bereft of nearly all effects. It is all down to Sophie's voice and Cantona's, who recites a text with a dark voice, almost Alain Delon style. So she touches on the chanson genre, in a very modern sense. I dare to count 'Die ganze Welt' as one as well.

A feature that only brings itself to the foreground when listening more (intensely), is the atmospherics in the background. There is this permanent presence of sound in behind all else going on. Like the generators on a merchant marine vessel when in port, permeating everything, especially when trying to sleep. The synths just produce these layers from which sometimes a note or atmospheric shape escapes before being pushed back. Creating a density like a thick fog. Sounds reach the person enveloped in fog, but what they are in the end is deduction from memory or sheer guesswork. The background sounds countermand my earlier observation that the music is "smaller". The effects are much more layered and subtle, but just as great to enjoy once I was on to them.

'Mad Miles' is an example of which the two worlds come together. The droning sounds, a great chorus and an electric guitar like an ambulance blaring, warning, somewhere in that thick fog. Atmosphere and song come together in 'Mad miles' like a dream. With Sophie riding the song like a queen on a horse.

The more I listen to Supermoon the more I realise how aptly the album is titled. I am in awe just like last Easter when a super moon hung over the darkening land while driving home. Without copying herself in any way, Sophie Hunger has come up with a new album that impresses me even more than 'The danger of Light'. Supermoon has to be her breakthrough album, she leaves the world without a choice. Anyone with ears in the right place will hear the quality on display.

Wo.

You can listen to 'Love is not the Answer' here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjhjTkaACjg

or buy at Bol.Com


donderdag 23 april 2015

Blackbirds. Gretchen Peters

De Amerikaanse singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters maakt inmiddels al zo’n 20 jaar platen, maar mijn eerste kennismaking met haar muziek is van veel recentere datum.
 
Gretchen Peters werd geboren in Westchester County, New York, maar bracht het grootste deel van haar jeugd door in Boulder, Colorado. Toen ze oud genoeg was om op eigen benen te staan verruilde ze Boulder voor Nashville en zocht ze haar geluk in de lokale muziekindustrie. Dat leverde haar als snel succes en zelfs Grammy nominaties op als songwriter, maar uiteindelijk koos Gretchen Peters niet voor het grote geld, maar voor haar eigen plekje in de spotlights.
 
Het duurde vervolgens lang voor ik haar ontdekte. Pas in 2008 omarmde ik Gretchen Peters nadat ik het samen met Tom Russell gemaakte One To The Heart, One To The Head had gehoord. Sindsdien was Gretchen Peters van de partij op nog twee andere platen van Tom Russell en bracht ze zelf in 2012 het prachtige Hello Cruel World uit.
 
Deze plaat wordt precies drie jaar later gevolgd door Blackbirds, dat ik direct na eerste beluistering al een meesterwerk durfde te noemen. Ik heb de plaat vervolgens toch maar even laten liggen, maar de jubelstemming na eerste beluistering is de afgelopen weken zeker niet verdwenen. Integendeel zelfs.
 
Gretchen Peters heeft met Blackbirds een rootsplaat gemaakt die zich kan meten met die van de grootheden in het genre. Het is een plaat die ver is verwijderd van de gladde Nashville country waarmee Gretchen Peters haar eerste stappen in de muziekindustrie zette en aansluit bij de meer alternatieve singer-songwriters in het rootssegment.

Blackbirds opent lekker stevig met gitaren die hier en daar associaties oproepen met Neil Young’s Crazy Horse, maar mij persoonlijk vooral doen denken aan mijn favoriete Alison Moorer plaat, The Duel. De vergelijking met The Duel duikt bij mij wel vaker op, bijvoorbeeld vanwege de wat donkere sfeer op de plaat, de fraaie instrumentatie en productie en de geweldige vocalen.
 
Blackbirds blijkt een opvallend gevarieerde plaat. Tegenover de rauwe en gloedvolle opener staan een aantal intiemere songs, een aantal wat traditionelere songs en een aantal songs die zich juist redelijk frequent buiten de gebaande paden van de traditionele Amerikaanse rootsmuziek begeven. Blackbirds moet hierdoor in staat worden geacht om een wat breder publiek aan te spreken, maar ook voor de rootspuristen onder ons valt er op de nieuwe plaat van Gretchen Peters genoeg te genieten.
 
Zelf luister ik vooral naar mijn hart. Alles wat Gretchen Peters op Blackbirds doet weet me te raken en hoe vaker ik er naar luister, hoe mooier de plaat wordt. Ik ben persoonlijk zeer onder de indruk van het mooie geluid op en de fraaie productie van Blackbirds. Gretchen Peters kon voor haar nieuwe plaat een beroep doen op flink wat topmuzikanten en werd hiernaast nog vergezeld door gasten als Will Kimbrough, Kim Richey, Jerry Douglas, Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave en Suzy Bogguss. Ik kan me voorstellen dat het voor de liefhebbers van rauwe en pure rootsmuziek misschien wel wat te mooi klinkt, maar persoonlijk vind ik alle tierelantijntjes relevant en effectief (let vooral op de orgeltjes en de weergaloze mandoline van Will Kimbrough).
 
Gretchen Peters verdiende vorig jaar haar plekje in de Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame en laat op Blackbirds horen hoe terecht dat was. Ik had Gretchen Peters al hoog zitten, maar met deze plaat schaart ze zich wat mij betreft onder het beste dat de hedendaagse roots scene heeft te bieden.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier naar 'Blackbirds' luisteren:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5hIn569qMQ

En kopen bij Bol.Com:


woensdag 22 april 2015

Interview with Natalie Ramsay

by Wout de Natris

© 2015 WoNo Magazine


As not all readers may be familiar with you, how would you like to introduce yourself?
My name is Natalie and I am a singer/songwriter who lives in Vancouver B.C., Canada. Music has been my greatest passion and joy since I can remember and I'm so grateful to have the ability to share it.

Your album is called ‘Fly to home’. What made you chose this title?
The songs off of my album "Fly To Home" tell a story of a very important part of my life: leaving behind my childhood, becoming a grown woman and overcoming the hardships of loss and experiencing the true impermanence of life. Fly To home, for me symbolizes traveling through the difficult times in life and reaching the self-knowledge of one's true home, which rests deep inside each of us.

Natalie after our initial contact pointed me to a few fellow Canadian artists. Tim Claridge and his band Death Goldblum and King Karoshi. Hence my question: From our previous contact I’m under the impression that you seem to easily find your way in the music scene of your cities of residence. How do you go about finding your way with fellow musicians?
For me, supporting other musicians is a huge way of connecting with them. Supporting them by going to their events or supporting them by sharing & playing music together. Most of my dearest friends are people who I play music with, it's the main way I find I can connect with people.

You live in Vancouver. Does the city agree with starting musicians?
Vancouver is a busy place, very populated and busy, so as a starting musician, it won't be enough to play typical cafes and bars. A starting musician must create their own connections and be creative with the venues they play and find a way to stand out above the rest, otherwise they'll remain in the musical shadows of this chaotic city. Many restaurants, bars and cafes have live musicians playing on all nights of the week, there are tons of open mics and the festivals in the summer in Vancouver and greater Vancouver are abundant, so its takes a strong determination to stand out and be remembered as an artist.

My favorite part of the music scene here are the places you'd least expect a live musician to play. An example, The Blue Vine House which is a popular local musician venue here in someone's back yard garage, which invites small bands to play, charging a door price by donation. Another example is Live Music Classes at Moksha Yoga. I have been playing at these yoga studios across Canada for 7 years. Each of the studios have live music nights where a teacher silently guides a hot yoga class while a musician plays relaxing music in the corner. Its an amazing way to stand out as a musician and connect on a deeper level with your audience as they are becoming vulnerable and peaceful in their yoga practice.

The guitarist on your album, Tim Claridge, plays totally different music than you do when on his own. How did you find out he was the right musical partner for this album?
I've known Tim for quite a few years as when we first met he was my singing student (when I used to give voice lessons). It became our routine to ask the other to sing or play on the other's solo albums as we always had a strong musical chemistry whenever we jammed together. We mutually respect the other so much as musicians and I can't think of anyone else I would have wanted more to play on my album because he understands me and my music the most. Although our styles are so different, like a Yin Yang, we fit together perfectly.

On this note, I'll add that Tim and I are in the process of recording an album together right now, as well as starting a band together. So this is something to look forward in the very near future. :)

On the Internet you can be found playing with other people as well. What constellation do you prefer and when do you know where a song should go, solo or else?
The way I write is always changing, depending on who I'm playing with. I am easily inspired by the person I'm playing with and then I go and write a song specifically tailored to fit the type of style they are into, mixed with my own style. I have no preference though, for me the music is so special to me whether I'm playing a solo folk tune, or if I'm in a full rock band.

You were influenced by music from early youth. What did you listen to in your youth and what are your influences in 2015?
When I young, female artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morisette, Celine Dion, the Wailin Jennys were my main source of inspiration because I was a young female singer. As I've grown though I've come to appreciate a broader spectrum of music and this past year my main sources of inspiration have been artists such as Mark Lanegan, Tom Waits, Radiohead, Alice in Chains, Lana Del Rey, Ludovico Einaudi, Yann Tiersen, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, Florence and the Machine, Sonny Terry & Brown McGhee are some of the most recent inspirations.

What is the story behind the beautiful album art?
I painted this peacock, for my father a few years ago after he asked me to paint him something colorful for this apartment. While writing the songs for Fly To Home, I realized the common theme of birds in the songs I was writing, so this painting of the peacock was a perfect fit.

In writing about the album after its completion, you hint regularly at difficult times while you were writing the songs. How did you get back on track and do you have to get yourself into the mood of writing?
It's easy to write when you are going through difficult times because its an easy release of emotion and expression.

It can surely be difficult to get back into writing when life seems easy and happy, but my rule is that I don't force it. If I can't write something good, then I just write something bad and eventually something good will come out.

The trick is finding new inspiration! We are lucky, in this day in age, to have access to so much music out of the millions of musicians in this world on the internet…so finding inspiration to write new songs has always been easy with this tool.

In ‘Broken mirrors’ the mood changes abruptly. “He screamed ferocious lions” you sing, just after you sing “you know I love you so”. Where does the inspiration for this huge contrast come from?
That the interviewer is not perfect is proven by the fact that he heard Natalie sing "He screamed ferocious "liar"". In fact she sings "lions". This made the question a bit different. I'm glad that she liked my interpretation.
This is a song written about my mother, whom I have a very lovely and ferocious relationship with. I love and appreciate her so dearly but we have gone through some stages in our lives where we have not agreed on the other's life choices. Broken Mirrors is a representation of the deep love you can have for someone and the horrible frustrating times you can go through with them.

Things nature come by regularly in your lyrics. Water, earth, sun. Do you prefer nature or city and in what way do both inspire you?
This is a great question that I have been asking myself for a long time. I feel happiest and most inspired in nature, but in the city is where my music is heard and success is found. I am usually writing about nature when I'm dreaming of one day moving out to the mountains and surviving on solar power and my garden, dreams….

In “Here and now” you singing isn’t it time that we start living” as well as “I start living”. Were/are the “we” and “I” compatible?
The line, "Isn't it time that we started living right now" is me asking all the people in the world who are stuck worrying about the future and past, can't you just live in the moment and be happy instead of holding on to what you can't control? And then then second line "isn't it time that I start living here and now" is  admitting that I'm not better than anyone else and I too am stuck in that habit pattern of worry as well and realizing that I need to start finding a way to live in the present moment. Saying "we" is a just a reflection of how I'm feeling on the inside, because isn't this what humans do? We judge the outside world on how we're feeling on the inside, so 'Here and Now' is representing that realization when it finally comes.

One of the outstanding features on ‘Fly to home’ are the harmony vocals of Ainsley Borus. What can you tell us about her?
Ainsley has been my best friend since we were both in the 4th grade. We have been playing music since we were in our early teens and whenever I record or play shows in my hometown (Winnipeg, Manitoba) I always include her as a guest singer at my shows/on my albums when possible. She is an amazing singer and dear friend.

Another feature is that one instrument gets a special role in a song. When in the process did the inspiration come for that instrument, whether piano, banjo, cello, etc.?
I really love having variety and change in the music I make, because if I only had guitar and vocals going, the songs would sound much less interesting. At the time I had been busking with Juliette and Tyler (the cello and stand-bass player) so it was easy to hear what was needed for each song and get them playing for me. I'm also very lucky to have a father that plays the banjo, so when writing I often write something that would fit well with banjo so I have an excuse to ask my father to play on it.

You state that you see your music as a gift. At the same time you have to make a living. How do you rhyme these two opposites?
Music is a gift because it has offered me so much healing, and I see that if offers many other people healing a sense of peace when they listen. I truly believe that gifts should never be given when you are expecting something in return. I often say "I am a musician" but I would never say that my "career" is a musician. I like to keep working for money and expression of music separate so I work side jobs in other fields. I do make some money from music and it is greatly appreciated but my rule is that I am never sad, if I don't make money from music.

Finally, how do you score two hits in the Philippines?
This would be thanks to my father. Years ago he travelled to the Philippines with his wife to visit her family and during that time, he brought my old CD to some radio stations and one in particular really loved my music and gave it a few trial plays on the air. Not too long after, people were calling in to request the songs often and so it made its way up the charts.

What can we expect from you in the near future?
You can expect a new EP from Tim and I, to be released in the next month or so, with his rock/blues style mixed with my folky soft style of music. We are still deciding on the band name but visiting my website natalieramsay.com will have all the information when it comes out.

dinsdag 21 april 2015

Ultimate Painting. Ultimate Painting

'The Velvet Underground' the utterly fantastic third album of the band with the same name was lauded recently on this blog already. In the review I wrote that the band influenced musicians right up to this day. Little did I know at the time of writing that I was about to embark on writing a review on an album that is quite rightly seen as its grand child. Where Hollis Brown re-recorded 'Loaded', Ultimate Painting just takes off where Reed-Yule-Morrison-Tucker left off.

The first listen session just surprised me. Even the same deadpan singing jokes are in there. The random, deep voiced words that are tossed into the vocals are there, as is the way of harmonising. The two guitars do the same trick and the drumming is just as elementary as Mo Tucker's drumming used to be. The members of Ultimate Painting listened very closely to the real thing and only then started writing songs and after a close re-listen did they proceed to record Ultimate Painting.

The band consists of members from other bands, Jack Cooper of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls and the Proper Ornaments. (Both have reviews on this blog.) Together they have made some indie rock and pop ballads like they used to long ago, but without shunning a fake drum. Why not as it adds to the effect? 'No more heroes'? no, more heroes, as 'Ten streets' tends towards this famous punk anthem.

Ultimate Painting is not as good as the album it piggybacks on. It may not be possible to be that good. Arguably not even Lou Reed managed that in the end. Ultimate Painting takes the slacker/relaxedness of 'The Velvet Underground' and brings it into the 21st century. It misses the tension and the at times barely controlled madness, it adds some beautiful harmony singing by a female voice. Not to forget some more playful elements that are added to Ultimate Painting, that are unthinkable in the real thing. It equals the sound. It's fun to listen to.

Of course all this can be looked at from a totally different angle. Why release anything like this, after all was said and done in 1969 with the release of 'The Velvet Underground' or 1970 with 'Loaded'? This is a valid question in my mind. Especially as the the duo behind Ultimate Painting aims mostly at effect? The answer is as simple as it is valid: because Cooper and Hoare wanted to make an album like this and had the material to come up with something that has the quality to release.

An album for VU fans, that is probably the best description. Ultimate Painting is not aiming for a large fan base and will be happy if VU fans like me nod favourably to it. Here is the nod, although I'm not cheering by the wayside. Anything more would be a large surprise to all concerned I suppose. This album is fun while it lasts, but is not going to be memorable. That position is taken for the last 46 years, alas. Still very much worth while to check out though.

Wo.

You can listen to 'Winter in your heart' here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sPtkq0bVd8


maandag 20 april 2015

Record Store Day afterparty @ Gebr. de Nobel.

Record Store day, that yearly phenomenon to celebrate that record stores still exist. Against all modern odds. My exclusive 7" single has already been reported on on this blog (http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2015/04/three-glorias-bonnie-prince-billy-and.html). Nothing beats a record store (or book store for that matter). The browsing around, feeling a record in my hands and trying it out? That last part is totally unnecessary in 2015. When I buy a record these days, I know exactly upfront what I'll buy and why I do that. Talking of the main difference with 1980 or even 2007, it is that, next to the volume of what I buy. That certainly has lowered.

Photo: Wo.
In the afternoon of 18 April I had just walked in to a packed store, Plato Leiden, when a lady with a magpie on her shoulder walked in. Fairly soon after I realised that I ought to know her from somewhere. And I did: Ellen ten Damme, a Dutch singer who specialised in German songs in recent years. Like many other artists this Saturday she was touring the country for instores, often ending with a regular gig somewhere. Being there to buy 'The Miseries' album, the acquaintance with Ten Damme's wasn't a 100% pleasure. Her songs were alright, but the need to explore the higher regions of her vocal reach, were well, horrible. Screeching, shrill and beyond what she ought to try. At least in a record store with limited technical vocal assistance. I left with a bunch of stuff that must have made Plato happy and a buzz in my ear.

The compliment was repaid that evening. Plato Leiden, Velvet Leiden and Gebr. de Nobel organised an afterparty with six acts, that played alternately on the large and the small stage, so that it was possible to see all acts, except that I left before the last one. Having ordered the tickets on line, I found at the record store in the afternoon that a discount was provided if I bought anything that day. I had and got a free beer instead. Great service Gebr. de Nobel!

Photo: Wo.
The evening kicked off with Glossy Jesus, a band no stranger to this blog. The foursome played a very decent gig. Its Joy Division meets Alice in Chains vocal foundation is painted over with The Beatles harmonies and at times chord progression, sympho changes within the songs and new wave or Britpop guitar and keyboards strokes. In some songs the one element is more prevalent, in others another element, but nearly always the song doesn't surrender itself in just one go. The listener has to make an effort. Again Glossy Jesus won me over, through the quality of its playing, enthusiasm and probably mostly the harmonies. For the finale Dutch writer Nico Dijkshoorn was asked on stage to play the lead guitar. F@#$, the guy can not only write and recite in a cool way, he can play guitar too. A promise: I will check out the album soon. So who knows, a review next month?

Photo: Wo.
Next off was Sue the Night, one of the bands that were in the top 15 likely to break in 2015 in 'Oor'. Stating upfront that Sue the Night doesn't make the sort of music that I truly like, the gig was o.k. and the top 15 position is a deserved one. It started with a mysterious song, in just as mysterious lightning and mist. The violin played a prominent role. The mystery wasn't kept up though. For most of the songs by Sue the Night goes that somehow the songs don't resonate within me. I can't explain why, it's just a fact. I had noticed it when I did my assessment of the top 15 in January and it did not change live, which at times happens. There's something lacking, for me, where I do hear that it has nothing to do with the playing on stage or the voices. So I noticed the cool old fashioned jazz drum of the drummer, the equally cool electric guitar of singer Suus de Groot instead. It all ended with the almost hitsingle 'The whale'. Familiar, but with the same restraints on my end. We do not match.

Photo: Wo.
And now for something completely different. Green Hornets blasted a whole truckload of garage rock into the room. Another band that has f@#$ all line up: drums, organ, guitar or two guitars or a harmonica, but no bass. The riffs just split the room. The guitar amp was so loud that the other instruments were killed, even through the PA. So I moved backwards where the sound slowly improved, the fun grew and the organ solos would have killed the likes of Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. If only they had known. The possibilities of this kind of music. The Groningen based garage rockers simply floored everyone including themselves. The tall, long-heard, bearded organ player had his sixties organ simply so low that he had to bend over to play and sing, harmonies or lead. The further the set continued, the more he sang. Not better, but things certainly got even tighter. Simply party time. 30 minutes would have been enough for me though, 40 minutes we simply too long.

Photo: Wo.
Back to the main stage. Limburg's pride Afterpartees were set to go. It all started with a prank. A song that I'd simply hoped never to hear again, 'Saturday night', by Showaddywaddy (?) -I'm not even looking it up- started playing. Only to be shown in a devastating way how Afterpartees take care of a Saturday night. A singer with an endearing attitude, two super tight guitarists and a concrete foundation. Jokes, inside jokes, prying the front row and dancing: the band scored on all parts, but mostly with its music. Afterpartees, a band full of teenagers and an older (looking?) drummer, played a bunch of punk and garagerockers that made me dance through the whole gig. It even makes me go back to the album, which I had dismissed at first listen earlier this year. The only dip was the slow song, Pretty Things style. The central riff was just too sought after, too difficult, not fluent. Speeding the song up half way through did not mend this. A punk cover and a great rocker as a finish made it all come out alright. Afterpartees have a well deserved spot in that 'Oor' top 15 also.

Walking into the small stage again, the audience was treated to '(I bet you look good on the) Dancefloor', still the greatest rocker Arctic Monkeys ever produced. Up that, I thought. It was, in the most energetic way. Not so much in quality, but in pure energy.

  Empty cell phone battery
My final act was The Miseries. Tim Knol in a new identity: garage rocker. The kind of songs The Miseries play are not known for their length. When you speed that up then nothing is left. In 25 minutes all songs were played, including 20, 30 second outings,and the band left the stage. They played so loud that singing words could have been skipped. One big mess of noise and still things were very much o.k. Where with his solo work I always thought, mwah, with The Miseries I'm totally happy. Its songs are wild and exciting, the cover, 'Sorrow', played in a swinging new way and the proficiency of the players is more than alright. Add the great vocal harmonies to that and we have straight A here. As far as I'm concerned The Miseries is a great move, Tim. Overall I can't tell yet, but that one's not up to me. After 25 minutes of  sonic turmoil I decided I had enough. It was time to go home.

Sorry zZz.

Another great song I was remembered of this evening? 'My generation'. Total brilliance by The Who. Sometimes one just forgets.

Wo.