maandag 5 mei 2014

Fons Stam and Frank Doesburg. Huisconcert in Haarlem

Photo: Wo.
Only a few weeks ago I was exposed to this phenomenon for the first time: a home show. Somebody opens, in this case, her home for friends, family and unknown persons to listen to an artist. Host Bianca hosts several events this year, the proceeds of which go to Serious Request. (See Bianca Linders on Facebook to know more.) The two performers could not have been much more apart in the singer-songwriters idiom. Thirty years in age and the elder singing songs with humor and observations, the younger gloomy songs in an acoustic (post) grunge style. Both captured the audience that consisted mostly of at a minimum 40 plus to perhaps even 70 plus people. There is one major comparison between the two as well, apart from performing that is: both work in care.
Fons Stam. Photo: Wo.

Fons Stam started the afternoon. This was his very first solo performance. Simply starting out with singing how fantastic he is, in many and very different ways. There's one snag though: the woman he loves and adores seems to think differently. His use of the Dutch language was subtle and used in ways which amused, but also surprised. Making people laugh instantly or making them think: "Did I just hear what I think I heard?" Stam's songs are a mix of cabaret and "luisterlied". The closest in English translation I can think of is a song sung by the combination of a stand up comedy artist and a singer-songwriter. Fons Stam is able to write a song about his daughter, with deep feeling and love in it as well as a song about someone who is the best partner ever, with many jokes in it, but we all knew exactly why the woman left him at the end of the song. And we were all still laughing all the way.

Fons Stam is not a professional singer-songwriter. This was his very first solo performance. There were several mistakes and little mishaps in his performance, but never any that hindered the over all experience. With his extremely pleasant voice, deepish with a little hoarse quality in it, that reminded me of a Dutch singer that remained just behind the tip of my tongue, he sang some very good songs, that deserve to be heard more often. From what I understand Stam plays the violin more often than the guitar, so whether this songs will ever be heard by you, remains to be seen, dear reader.

Frank Doesburg. Photo: Wo.
Frank Doesburg strives to be a professional artist and travels The Netherlands high and low, to play as much as he can. The ease with which he sings and plays was a clear difference with his predecessor. Doesburg shared with us that he tries to write a happy song, but never manages to do so. I had noticed that by then. His songs reminded me of songs like 'Outside' by Staind and 'One' by Creed. From there it's only a small step to songs like 'Black hole sun' of Soundgarden. For some of the songs on his repertoire it was not difficult to imagine a grinding grunge band behind him. The songs work in this setting though. They are varied and sung with enough variation to keep his audience from despair or jump in the Spaarne river. And, as a singer-songwriter should, Doesburg observes well and draws his own conclusions from his observations. On the different choices his friends make in life now they're 25 or life's what you make it, but remember that it's only temporary.

Frank Doesburg sings with a dark voice, brooding, slightly angry, but manages to contain the anger and let other emotions seep through as well. It is this element that makes it fascinating to listen to his songs. He has a cd out and I have a copy, so who knows there will be more about Frank Doesburg on this blog soon.


Here's a show by Frank Doesburg in 2012.

His Facebook page is here.

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