vrijdag 6 mei 2016

Bevrijdingspop 2016, Haarlem 5 May

The settin sunlight: photo by Wo.
Come Liberation Day, come Bevrijdingspop. The free festival in which we celebrate the liberation on 5 May 1945 from the five year German occupation. 71 Years ago, meaning that there are less and less people able to tell the tale. Commemorating and celebrating without the people involved will get harder. Wars of the past, before the 20th century, except for new historical insights on the basis of a "new"(ly) found document or interpretations, are lost to us. 21st century people know nothing about them. Napoleon? Isn't he looked at by now as a brilliant strategist and aren't people in awe at what he achieved, instead of  seeing him for the warmonger and aggressive attacker of other nations he was? There's one difference with the two atrocious wars of the 20th century: there's all this footage, interviews, photo's, etc. That will help some in giving younger people an idea why remembering is important. A generation from now, if we are lucky enough to escape a new war, the message may just be aimed at a generation not caring or having to celebrate the end of a new war. That last point is what newer generations seem to slowly not understand, that we have not known war, occupation, high death tolls, in our time, in our country. That may be the single best gift the post-1945 generations was presented with, together with the fast growing prosperity. Let's not forget that the two are strongly intertwined. No matter the faults "today" may have, in general "we" never had it this good. It's time that that is pointed out as well. Satisfaction levels may actually rise and populist movements decline. Things may be scary but not as scary as in the Middle East, Burundi, etc.

Having said all this, this year I focused mainly on the talent stage. On the main stage, there was nothing much I wanted to see during the day and passed on Balthazar.

Lucas Hamming. Photo by Wo.
The day started for me with Lucas Hamming. Those following this blog have seen him appear as support act of Sunday Sun about a year ago followed by two reviews. The year has done him good. His pop rock with a twist sounds more convincing and Hamming seems to have found a better mix between his charming personality and abundant self-confidence. A mix that was certainly lacking last year. His radio hits were sung along to and as early as it was Lucas Hamming got the crowd singing or moving. Compliments are due to the band as well, as they make sure the sound is solid and playful at the same time. Lucas Hamming is a talent that we ought to be hearing more from over the years to come. On the other hand there remains a point that the music is a little messy in sound. So many ideas and riffs go into a song that it is a bit hard to follow and digest. A tat less might do a miracle here. What is that expression from Goethe again? Something with Beschränkung and Meister?

Admiral Freebee. Photo by Wo.
Admiral Freebee got lost. The TomTom most certainly did not help when half of the town is out of business due to the festival. His whole band seemed to be there, but he and his guitarist were stuck somewhere in Haarlem and that cost him two songs. Festivals are relentless on schedules. Too bad, as Admiral Freebee (was the farewell tour comment a joke? I hope so.) was in great form and played his extremely pleasant songs with great confidence. The same band was on stage as in The Hague at the Live I Live festival in April 2015. The interaction between the rhythm section, keyboard, horns and guitarist is most interesting to listen to and flawless. Harmonies are all over the place and on top of that the great voice of Tom Van Laere does the rest. It's a bad year for rock and roll, they sang, but I beg to differ, it was a great day.

Just walking around the market enjoying the extremely beautiful weather, beer in hand, we heard what was going on on the main stage. It must have been a huge party. The screen showed 12, 14, 16? people and the sound was like Manu Chao crossed with Les Negrettes Vertes. A latin kind of music stew was cooked under high pressure. We decided to leave it at that and take a break.

On coming back we heard Sue The Night play. I'm sorry to say that I'm still not getting 'The Whale'.

Son Mieux. Photo by Wo.
We moved on quickly to the smaller stage where a lot more people were present than during the afternoon. Son Mieux was already on stage. One of the songs I recognised from the radio. Again a band with a non-standard line up. Guitar, bass, and two percussionists, although one of them played a percussion keyboard or something. The music reminded me of Mister and Mississippi, but was so much more alive and kicking. More fluent, a little more pop and a spike here and there in the right places. It made me want to listen to the album and find out more.

My Baby. Photo by Wo.
I have to go back all the way to 1970 to find a song title that describes this band best. The third Earth & Fire hitsingle is called 'Wild and exciting', well that is just what My Baby is. My Baby was all I expected and more. Erwin Zijleman has written the reviews for this blog of the two albums and wetted my appetite.

Bo Diddley must be proud. My Baby has taken his music and brought it to a level that Diddley never even could have imagined. The effects on the guitars of My Baby's lead guitarist are outer wordly for a 50s boogie/rock and roll artist. He may play a cigar box guitar, in one song, like Diddley did, there's just no comparison and a little bit more variation as well, luckily. It's the effects that give My Baby all the atmosphere and spunk. The beat in the music is relentless and gives an impression as if at a dance party. Not moving was not an option and the audience obliged willingly. Fronted by a singer with a voice that can go off to all sorts of heights, adding some mystery to music and able to give the eeriest electric violin solo I've ever heard -the feedback from the effects on the violin was barely containable- there is quite a trio playing its set. Again all but classical in line up. No bass player here, two guitarists of which the solo guitarist plays as if he's at least two or three strong. Fingerpicking, slide, it all did not matter, the sound was huge none the same. My Baby is a need-see Dutch band. Exciting, good, with the rock-boogie songs to boot.

We thought it enough for the day. The sun was great, the atmosphere as well, the beer pleasantly cooled. Again compliments are due to the people in the background, as this is a fantastic festival, where those present are celebrating freedom, are able to do just that. Everything one needs is there as if the most normal thing in that spot. Come back today and you know it's not. I sort of doubt that the audience is celebrating freedom in earnest, but as a party it's a great concept. See you next year.

Wo.

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