zaterdag 19 maart 2016

Rocking jive party time: Maison Du Malheur live in Bitterzoet, Amsterdam, 18-03-2016

Photo: Wo.
Bitterzoet is a small venue on the edge of the city centre of Amsterdam. A venue where the audience is sent down a set of chairs immediately, into the cellar to don coats and other apparel before we ascend another flight of stairs to come back to street level into a cozy hall with modern glass art, as if in a church, with unfit for church depictions high on the wall. The stage was filled with instruments. It all barely fitted.

The studio version of 'Midnight Rambler' by The Rolling Stones came on and was played louder than the songs before that. Warming up, introducing the show. That was not the smartest of moves, I thought, as 'Midnight Rambler' has some pretty superb up tempo sequences that are extremely exciting. During the first song I couldn't shake off that feeling. It took me a few songs to be honest.

Photo: Wo.
During the first two songs an image came to my mind that is rather surprising at a rock show. I felt like in a spy movie of a long time ago. The jazzy rock and roll songs, played in a more laidback way. The bass player with a Lenin cap and revolutionary beard, the girl in front of me with short hair and a long, leather coat, a man with woollen suit with grey and white pattern, all suggested a showdown between Americans and communists. The band kept playing. Adding to the tension, while oblivious for what was about to happen.

Photo: Wo.
The vision left me when Maison Du Malheur added vigour, volume and pace to the show, which was built up superbly. With each song more rock entered the mix of jazz, rock and roll, soul, rhythm & blues, New Orleans, jive, Jellyroll, Latin and a hint at the exotic. A seven men strong storm was cooked and served to a very appreciative audience. Limbs started moving more and more, as they should with music like this.

This band knows its music and adds a lot of enthusiasm to it all, so that the comparison with bands like The Hackensaw Boys, Kaizers Orchestra and Dropkick Murphies are well-deserved. No matter how different in music, the attitude is the same. A layer of punk is laid on top of the traditional music, changing the game almost beyond recognition.

Photo: Wo.
With solos by a (bariton) saxophone, guitar and piano, the sound was varied as well. The trumpet embellished where possible. If not, the trumpet player simply left the stage to work on his Facebook or Twitter account on the side. Modern addiction on display. The voice of JP Mesker tops it all off. Rough, drenched in echo, he sings like he means it and the guy has a stage presence, but that goes for most of his band members. They are all there with a flair. In short, Maison Du Malheur stands for what it plays. With a fun album like 'Stomping Ground' to tour behind it has every right to do so.

There are not many bands with a name that really does not fit. Maison Du Malheur is one. Huge smiles all around at this show. And The Rolling Stones? Totally forgotten for the evening.


You can listen to 'Stomping Ground (live uit Lloyd)' here:

or buy on

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