dinsdag 6 mei 2014

Bevrijdingspop Haarlem 2014

Freedom ball. Photo: Wo.
For the third year in a row I was present at the festival celebrating Freedom. Our national holiday, Liberation Day on 5 may, has become a day for music festivals around the country, where mainly Dutch acts play. Some even tour the country by helicopter to play in several towns during the day. In the case of Haarlem, where a whole part of town is closed down because of the festival, 10s of thousands of people, young and older, whole families go and watch bands. For the second year in a row, the festival was blessed with excellent weather. Loads of dust instead of mud and thirsty throats. The only annoying feature was Mr. Weird Beard's announcement on the Talent Stage, he was the M.C., that freedom is about drinking and drinking some more. Get real! Heaving that out of my system, I got to see five bands, so lets go.

The Hague's finest. Photo: Wo.
In the last months of 2013, Taymir featured regularly on this blog. Starting it all was the fantastic single 'AAAH', the great album 'Phosphene' followed and then a live show. We're now about a half year later and my enthousiasm for Taymir hasn't diminished at all. This show was good, tight and the band has grown considerably by playing nearly every weekend in the past months. The songs are still as contagious as ever. To top that, a new song Taymir played sounded extremely promising. Of course, the songs on 'Phosphene' are sort of 60s copies and not entirely original. The same goes for the quoting of famous song titles in the songs of Taymir. The quality, good time fun and great harmonies however make up for all this. Listening to 'AAAH', I have the feeling as if listening to 'Please go' by The Golden Earrings in 1965 for the first time and knowing all that came after right up to 2013 at the same time. I haven't in 1965 and will not be around to find out the outcome 50 years from now. There's no way of predicting where Taymir will go, but a band that has this potential at this young age, can go anywhere. Taymir has a lot going for it.

Bade. Photo: Wo.
Bade was on this blog only a few weeks back in March. The band then played its second show as support act for Sunday Sun. The show was alright, but hesitant. The band members were still finding their way into and certainly around the music. With the exception of the rhythm section. They kept everything together quite easily and forcefully. Whether this was the sixth or tenth show Bade gave, I don't know. What I do know, is that there was a band on stage. The four young band members support Bat van Liemt quite proficiently, while Bart himself seemed a little more at ease as well. Musically it was solid, with an audience that was growing in numbers fast in front of Bade. The songs itself were a mix of a few exuberant rockers and songs that hold back. The last category do not really work on a festival site, where they did in a more intimate setting. Whether they do on record, we can find out in a few months, after 'Miracle wave' is released. The title song of the forthcoming album is one of the price songs of Bade. What a radio hit does for a band was also demonstrated by Bade or should I say by the audience. It makes all the difference in the world. Single 'Hide no more' got a very positive reception from the audience and closing the set in a perfect manner.

Where Bade and I are going I can't tell yet. More later this year I guess.

Michael Prins
Michael Prins. Photo: Wo.
Is the winner of 2014s 'The best singer-songwriter van Nederland'. This ahow was my first exposure to Michael Prins and his music. From a distance here was someone who looked very sure of himself, perhaps even too sure. With immensely emotional songs, that obviously had touched several people around me, that were singing along with the songs. During the first songs I thought 'wow' and was really impressed. This ebbed away during the show, as all songs remained kind of on the same level of intensity. Variation was in the addition of a mandolin or a piano to the sound. There was no release on offer. That makes it very hard for me to stay related to the music on offer. (The large plastic balls with a freedom message were distracting also.) A large difference with the set of Asaf Avidan last year. Release was offered and gratefully accepted by the audience. Time will tell whether Michael Prins will have a career going beyond the tv program fame. It may well be and I will go and listen to his album 'Rivertown fairytales' soon.

De Staat
Torre Florim. Photo: Wo.
After a well deserved break and dinner we went back to the festival. This time to the main stage after having been to the Talent stage in the afternoon. De Staat has featured on this blog before also of course. This winter I called 'I-con' De Staat's best album to date. Live the band is a machine. The strange rhythms, the strange sounds, the tricks in the alternating sounds in singing, all are executed flawless or something so close to perfection that I can't tell the difference. A lot of songs of 'I-con' were played. Most have a lot of effects in them that work on a festival site. There was some wild dancing going on in front of us. At the same time De Staat's music is not for everyone. That was clear also. De Staat is a successful band in The Netherlands, but nothing like what was awaiting us after this gig. De Staat's music is loud, exuberant in a metalish, hardcore dance sort of way. I always find it very hard to find a description that fits the band's music. For me it is sort of unique. The intensity with which it is played is another feature. Torre Florim's presentation is a mix between the strict school teacher and an angry agitator. As I said, not for everyone. De Staat is on the top of its game in NL. Time to spread out to other pastures. For now, great music, great show, great party and great songs.

Pascal Jacobsen. Photo: Wo.
For me BlØf was the surprise of the evening. The few numbers I had ever heard did not exactly speak to me. Or in other words, I just do not like them. To my large surprise here was a band that started to rock out loudly. Singer Pascal has a beautiful, shiny, black guitar, with a great sound. And BlØf knows how to build a party. The band showed me within a few songs, that a band that has simply passed me by, can be huge. From left to right, from the front to the back of the park, thousands upon thousands of people were participating singing and dancing. Except for me and perhaps a few like me who do not know the songs. I was here for my girlfriend and always likes to be surprised by me musically. Now it was her turn to surprise me. BlØf rocked out, loudly, with 'Alles is liefde' as a major highlight. In the encore there were a few surprises. A lady on guitar in The Scene's 'Iedereen is van de wereld'. As far as possible in this already large party, the audience went even wilder on Thé Lau's most famous song. At the same time the song was a sad tribute to Lau, who unfortunately is forced to do his last shows ever soon. In the last song Jacqueline Govaert and Denise van Donselaar came on stage. A plan that was forged earlier in the day in Zwolle. I don't think I became a fan, but as a live band BlØf was great. I stand somewhat corrected.

The only dissonant was the new freedom song of the Speelman Brothers. Somehow it just didn't work. It has the same rhythm and all, but it just didn't stick. (Unless it was intentionally done this way as it did sound like some sort of a joke.) The previous one is still in my head. Change back guys in 2015. Progress is not always as good as it seems.


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