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.

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