woensdag 6 mei 2015

Bevrijdingspop Haarlem 05-05-2015.

35 Years, that's a long time and this was only my fourth in consecutive years. The storm that crossed the Netherlands in the afternoon of 5 May caused several of the shows to be cancelled. Lighting, gales and loads of rain made it very unpleasant if not downright dangerous outside. Around 15.00 the situation was given the get go in Haarlem and Blaudzun played his set, but without us unfortunately.

Photo: Wo.
Liberation Day, the 70th since the the actual liberation in 1945, when the yoke of German occupation was terminated by the liberating Canadians, Americans, Poles and others. A liberation that led to a free, democratic and economically successful nation. Freedom that seems to be taken for granted in 2015, a freedom that may sometimes be taken to literal or not understood at all. Civilisation and tolerance is two other large chunks to this story. Every one who travels and especially to countries outside of "the West" knows or ought to know how dear freedom of speech is, but also how delicate the balance between have or have not is. Some food for thought here.

Photo: Wo.
Our little troupe arrived just in time to listen to Jacqueline Govaert. The teenager who broke with her former band Krezip and scored a number one hit early this century with 'I would stay', has become a woman. She writes songs for women, in my perception. Nice songs, fluent songs, pleasant for ear and mind. At the same time her songs are not always easily digestible. The melodies do not always follow the deeply trodden paths. At the same time she has a number of large hits to her name. Govaert has a natural charm and grace that wins people over easily when she performs. With a band that is more than apt and two background vocalists to support her in all the fine melodies, this show could not go wrong and didn't.

Photo: Wo.
O.k. Now it's time for some rap. Those of you who follow this blog regularly will have noticed the near total absence of rap music and everything associated with it. The previous contribution may well be Bevrijdingspop some years back with De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig. Typhoon is like a tropical storm on stage. Not my music at all, but this guy and his band know how to build a party. A party that is not for me, but I was impressed in what Typhoon does on stage with a full band, horns and all and the effect on the people in the audience. Generation gap it may be, Typhoon is "een baas" as I think it is called nowadays.

Photo: Wo.
Over to another stage where Mister & Mississippi performed. The band's last album received a fairly positive review on this blog as did the previous. Live there is something missing though, in a festival setting at least. The lack of charisma on stage is huge, but also the true will to communicate seems to be missing. Looking at lots of hair in front of the face of the main performer, which Maxime Barlag is, creates a huge gap between audience and band. The efforts of the more jumpy of the two guitarists do not compensate enough, but do work. This enhances the effect of the sort of music Mister & Mississippi makes. It's serious, moody and fairly monotonous. Perfect to listen to at home, but harder on a festival site to really enjoy. The sound didn't help. Just loud, but no subtlety and the wind wasn't helping either. It seemed too much for the sound mixer to cope with. This fact made it harder to enjoy the music. Still, the band played some fine songs and certainly knows how to cook up a storm of sound when it wants to. No problems with dynamics here.

Finally we watched Racoon, after seeing and hearing Caro Emerald from a distance. She was not supposed to be here, was she? No, she filled a gap due to a cancellation. The wind had finally died down. The weather was cold but great. The sound finally extremely good. In front of us a lady was operating a large camera crane of whatever it's called. For hours on end she was pushing the thing up and down and filming people in the audience, the stage, etc. I was impressed with her.

Photo: Wo.
Racoon gave a routine show. The band has a huge fanbase crossing the generations, has scored several large hits in the passed 10 years and knows how to build a show. For me it was o.k. I'm not a real Racoon fan, although I like some of its songs. So you could have caught me singing along to 'Love you more', "No soldier' or 'Liverpool Rain'. I even remembered 'Feel Like Flying' from way back I found out. What is too bad about the band is that there is no variation within songs. There's not one single solo working towards a climax (except for a little harmonica playing). The keyboardist who was added to the line up unfortunately did not get well across in the mix and when heard only added texture. Having said that, this band is good, it's tight and can play. No complaints in that section and singer Bart van der Weide is good also. A relaxed performer who comes across large audiences easily, leading the huge crowd into a large party for all.

One major complaint. Who were the two jokers on stage announcing the bands? To be honest this was a total embarrassment. What a lack of fantasy, imagination and personality. Get back Speelman & Speelman next year please.


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