|The WoNo Magazine logo by Tineke G.|
In 2012 I've been to shows from arena size to a one person with a guitar on a small podium show, but most were in the so called Dutch "club circuit". All of them were fun to be at, but these ten stood out for me. To keep up the suspense I'm presenting this top 10 bottom - up.
I made this list the week before Christmas knowing full well that I had one show to go: The Kik in Het Paard van Troje. The Kik rocked really hard and deserves to be in this list. So I'm cheating and doing an ex-aequo here as you will see.
10. The Shakedown 8, Q-Bus Leiden
Supporting Melbourne based The Resignators, The Shakedown 8 laid down an almost perfect show, building the atmosphere up step by step towards a great climax. As I wrote then: "The Shakedown 8 is a Dutch band with one foot cemented so firmly into ska, that it allows them to explore almost everything else, as long as the backbeat is within hearing distance". This sentence really says it all.
9. Blaudzun, Patronaat Haarlem
Looking back I remember this solemn performance, almost churchlike in its seriousness. The songs from breakthrough album 'Heavy flowers' totally shone through, with band members switching instruments all the time to emulate the richness of sounds. Great show. Blaudzun deserves to be heard beyond Dutch borders.
8. Girlyman, Q-Bus Leiden
What a wonder of singing, melody and harmony! Girlyman gave its all and was presented near devotion in return by the audience. A great surprise and treasure to remember.
7. Zita Swoon Group, Patronaat Haarlem
The Belgian - African mix of Zita Swoon Group worked wonderfully well. The almost mathematical rhythms Antwerp based Zita Swoon produces blended the African vibes to a potent danceable mix of jubilation.
6. The Walkabouts, Paradiso Amsterdam
Circa six years after The Walkabouts' last show on Dutch soil, the band returned in glorious form. The new material of the album 'Travels in the dustland' blended in a perfect way with older songs. The audience was caressed softly and rocked hard at the Paradiso as the band showed it's Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jackell sides in a superb and convincing way.
5. The Fudge, Het Paard van Troje Den Haag
Uncanny how well the stops and starts, the intricate rhythms and complex breaks of 'Morning comes again' were reproduced by this young band for far too less people. Perhaps the comparison to System of a Down is justified, at the same time The Fudge knows how to bring in all the right pop elements into its wall of sound.
4.b Tim Christensen and the Damn Crystals, Het Paard van Troje Den Haag
And again another great show by Danish Tim Christensen and band. This man deserves world fame, his songs are fantastic and the live presentation is meticulous. Need I say more! It looks like I have to, but in the mean time I can still see him play from very up close. In February he's in The Netherlands again. Don't miss out!
4.a The Kik, Het Paard van Troje
This was so much fun and so good. The beat music set to Dutch lyrics works wonders. They are easy to sing along with and played very well. So many fun 60s details in the singing and playing that The Kik is a feast of recognition while totally new.
3. Larry and his Flask (first show), Q-Bus Leiden
What a surprise, what fun and what good music! Larry and his Flask came and swept the Q-Bus off its feet in a surge of energy, enthusiasm, punky attitude and awe. Where usually middle aged people sit admiring the music produced on stage, now a mosh pit of jumping kids was created in front of the stage.
2. The Resignators, Q-Bus Leiden
A night of perfect ska. This Australian band was so uncannily tight, 100% professionalism and at the same time very, very good and totally alive. Horns, guitars, organ and a great rhythm section that packed everything together. Surprise shows sometimes are the best.
1. Paul McCartney, Ahoy Rotterdam
An evening in which everything in my life blended together. Early youth, discovering my own music as a teenager and fond memories of people who I've listened to his music with through all these years. At 69 McCartney is still at the top of his game and gave a perfect greatest hits show, which basically touched upon a lot of who and what I am. So easily the best show of 2012 in many ways.