donderdag 20 december 2018

TMGS and Dieter van der Westen Band Live. Q-Bus, Leiden Tuesday 18 December 2018

TMGS: photo Wo.
A double bill in the Q-Bus in Leiden this evening and what a bill. TMGS has released two of the most beautiful albums of this decade: 'Rivers And Coastlines: The Ride' and 'Ain't No Place'. Dieter van der Westen Band proved one of those total surprises, easily packing in every one in the audience.

TMGS from Antwerp by way of Kalmthout plays a mix of country music and Americana, laced with the softest tinges of high quality pop music and a dose of rock in the right places. And then come in the trumpets, although only one this evening. On record the band reaches an enormous high level of perfection. When I take in the fact that the band is almost more of a hobby, I doubt whether a higher level of perfection can be reached without an unlimited number of studio hours. My take is that this would probably lead to overkill.

So expectations were incredibly high on my end. The seven took to the stage and an impression of a band tuning up, all at once, was created, all making vague noises. Before slowly and softly a strummed guitar came forward and the clear sound of the trumpet announcing the beginning of that highlight of 'Ain't No Place': 'Cold Day On The Lake'. What a beautiful beginning.

Peter Lodiers: photo: Wo.
The previous show in Q-Bus in 2013, was marred by sound troubles on stage and for the audience. This time things were mixed perfectly as usual in the Q-Bus. Right from the start all the instruments came across so clear and I knew we were going to be in for a treat. A pedal steel guitar added another element of authenticity to the Americana TMGS plays. The trumpet adds an extra layer of desolation and longing to the music and the lyrics on moving, travelling, coming and going somewhere.

The songs from the latest album 'Ain't No Place' all made the cut when played live. Melodically TMGS presents so many surprises in its songs. Yes, live that third and/or fourth guitar or keyboard part cannot be played and some of the harmonies are amiss, yet even then there are so many guitar parts, pedal steel, keyboard, bass runs and inventive drumming to follow, that two ears at times are not enough.

I found myself so impressed by what was going on. When 'Tell Everyone', the first song from 'Rivers And Coastlines: The Ride' that introduced me to TMGS, was played heaven was reached. If I had died there and then, luckily I did not, the world would have been at peace. Musically it could not have become any better, perhaps ever.

D. vd Westen: Photo: Wo.
Dieter van der Westen Band played another perfect set this evening. Far more traditional country music was played. From ballads to country rockers and more jazz tinged, all came by in this set. With three different guitars, acoustic, electric, dobro or banjo, joined by drums and an upright modern electric bass, totally different sounds and solos could be played. Four part harmonies were no exception in the songs of  this band. Van der Westen himself has a pleasant edge to his voice, reaching all the way to that guy with the rough voice in Gomez. When a song "not really fitting in" was played, it reminded me of Gomez as well; indeed an odd one out here.

The guitarist appeared to be playing more or less ad lib, reading chords from a pad, playing impressively good. A clear country sound, finger picking little guitar runs or fabulous solos made a little dirtier in sound. The contrast with the slide notes on the dobro or fingerpicked banjo was working out fantastically.

This band also started off in a surprising way, with African percussion in a country song, creating a totally different sort of sound and atmosphere. It was a pity the band did not return to this mood for one or two more songs. Regular drums were the preferred standard.

TMGS: photo Wo.
Afterwards people compared the bands. Some were impressed by both acts, others preferred Van der Westen. To them I answered the following. Dieter van der Westen Band plays a perfect Americana with original songs, but in a traditional way. TMGS has made a few genres its own, created a more original sound and sonically experiments to create new sound combinations in a traditional environment. No one disagreed.

A perfect night ended the 2018 season of 'Hans van Polanen presents'. Two acts with great impact and musicality of which one happens to be one of my favourites. Yes, the spine was tingled all right: TELL EVERYONE how good TMGS is.


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