dinsdag 28 april 2015

Life I live. The Hague, 26 April 2015

Photo: Wo.
The city of The Hague organised a festival in the passed called "Koninginenach", the evening before Queen's Day. Somehow these sort of festivals disappeared from my life, the event was even stopped. Not that I see any logical ties between the two though. Then my eye fell on a new festival, or so I thought, called Life I live. On that account I was wrong: this year was the fifth edition. I was right on the account that the name of the festival stems from the 1966 hit of Dutch rockers Q65, 'The Life I Live'. 9 Podia all over the city centre. I saw several but stopped to listen at only two. A tough choice though. Queen's Day is no more, we have King's Day. Whether I'll ever get used to naming it that, the same goes for the date change of 3 days, I don't know, but this festival was pretty great. All in all I saw four acts.

Jacco Gardner

Photo: Wo.
Two years ago I was pretty harsh in my opinion of Jacco Gardner's first cd. I wrote something like "a study in music with no heart in it". With his new cd underway I thought to give him a chance and see how he pulls away things live. In the past two years Gardner toured much of the world, has just arrived in time back from playing in London he told us. A lot of people must be hearing something that I don't. I'm sorry to say that I do not really live either. What can I say? That it was obvious that every one in the band plays well. That a lot of his songs have a warm organ sound that plays out all the sounds of yesteryear. My opinion has not changed though. To me there's something missing in the music and Jacco Gardner is not a real stage presence. The first listen to the new single, 'Find Yourself', seemed alright though, so who knows?

Jacco knows his classics. He referred to the Q65 single during his show. He would have scored points if he had played it in tribute, which he didn't. That may have happened later that night with The Deaf, but I was at another stage by then. The life I live is full of choices. To compensate the omission I provide a link to Q65 below.

Intergalactic Lovers

Photo: Wo.
Next up was a band from Belgium that has not featured on this blog before. Singer Lara Chedraoui sang on a song on the last Drive Like Maria album and featured as such. Before a band can perform properly, there's a lot of sound checking going on, for the musicians as well as for the audience. The last one to test was Ms. Chedraoui. After a few bored sounding one, twos, she started singing 'Wicked Game' and the audience fell silent. She had already won the audience over before the show and got an applause. This continued luckily for all concerned.

Here was a band that put down a show as you like to see at a festival. An introduction to new songs and a pleasant surprise in one. Lara Chedraoui has a stage presence and is able to seduce the audience. Musically there is a lot going on, with different sounds between the two guitarists. Indie and pop with some alternative rock overtones is the right description here. With the sort of music the band plays I would have expected an organ in the mix, but there wasn't. The most lead guitarist of the two played a lot of atmospheric sounds, like slide, to compensate.

This is one of the two things I missed in Intergalactic Lovers. There were no real solos in the songs. It was the singer who soloed by oohs or aahs. The other was the most songs are in the same tempo. A song or two with a little more spunk in it would have been welcome as far as I'm concerned and added to the experience. Dynamics are an important feature of records and shows.

For the rest I was thoroughly entertained by Intergalactic Lovers. It made me decide to check out the cd again. It may well be that I missed something after all. Sometimes first listen can go wrong. (And then I remember I'm mistaken. Erwin Zijleman wrote on Intergalactic Lovers on the blog: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2015/01/little-heavy-burdens-intergalactic.html, so we have published before.)

Admiral Freebee

Photo: Wo.
Another band from Belgium. Admiral Freebee is Tom van Laere. In the past he has featured in the magazine version of WoNo. I saw him play in a trio version in Het Paard in The Hague in the mid 00s, but have to admit that I missed Admiral Freebee's last two albums. Somehow the band slipped from my bands to follow list.

What happened on stage during the transition between bands amazed me. Except for some sort of a totem pole more and more instruments were carried on stage. A seven piece band all in all. The reason why became clear in the first song. Admiral Freebee did a Van Morrison, horns and all. Even the antics of conducting all into the right amount of playing and volume were all there. When things were right after the first song, Tom van Laere set back, relaxed and the magic started.

Photo: Wo.
Reading later that night that this was the first show of the season for this incarnation of Admiral Freebee, I'm even more impressed. The band played so good, with my compliments for the sound people, who got it all so right, with so many instruments on stage. All instruments and voices came out showing the intricacies of the arrangements. All the players got their solos as supposed to in a jazzy rock setting. Tom van Laere in the end proved to be a relaxed band leader. He looked around and heard things were alright. He simply sat down on his piano stool or on one of the stage monitors and let things happen. Playing along as one of the band or even letting it go completely.

I truly like Tom van Laere's voice and as it came out alright in the mix there was enough to enjoy. Admiral Freebee captured the part of the audience where I was a part of, so did well. I really only had thing to complain about. Not playing 'Oh Darkness' is sort of inexcusable, but was certainly compensated with 'Bad Year for Rock and Roll'. I hereby promise to catch up on Admiral Freebee's last album or albums asap.

The Hackensaw Boys

Photo: Wo.
A band that has featured a lot on this blog is Charlotteville's, Virginia, best, The Hackensaw Boys. Although I would have liked to see The Deaf play it was not an option to miss my longtime musical friends. There were sound problems, somehow it seems that amplifying acoustic instruments is so much harder than electrically wired instruments. The banjo was struggling the whole way with feedback on stage. Despite that the band was charged and so was the audience. Wide audience participation in the form of a mosh pit made me step a few meters to the side. Nothing unfriendly went on by the way. It was just a real party, but I'm there to listen as there were a whole bunch of new songs going about. A few of them certainly impressed at first listen. The album is planned for September, so watch this space for more news soon, I hope. What I noticed is that the band attracts hipsters. The men with beardos and slickly combed back hair are all around these days. Tattoos and loose parts to the body as well. The bluegrass with a punk attitude certainly seemed attractive to them.

Photo: Wo.
These days the band is a foursome with their driver Thomas Olivier this time on bass, last year on mandolin as the fifth member. With Jimmy Stelling on banjo and Ferd Moyse on fiddle this set up is enough. The Hackensaw Boys sounded tighter, more compact than as a six piece band last year in Utrecht. Stelling is as rock and roll as they come on banjo, while Moyse has a twinkle in his eye when playing and looks and plays like the hillbilly all the way. David Sickmen is the best singer of the band and keeps the rhythm going on guitar together with Brian Gorby on the charismo. Brian is perhaps the only musician in the world who plays an instrument compiled from the contents of a trash can.

After the show I was asked "will we see you again this tour"? and I said "no". Me asking where are you going to next and got as an answer "Hamburg". So I thought this is it for this tour for me. Read on soon.....

If you're interested in The Hackensaw Boys you find more reviews on this blog and interviews with David Sickmen and ex-member Ward Harrison.


You can listen to Q65 'The life I live' here:


Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten