• Temper Trap live

    28 mai 2010, 12h06m

    Visited Thu 27 May – The Temper Trap, The Kissaway Trail @ Melkweg yesterday. Wasn't too impressed - had an enjoyable evening, but it was a bit tame. Obviously I saw a band on stage that had grown to solid music machine, but there weren't much extra's in the concert that set it apart from their album.

    It struck me at some point that instead of deciding each day which of their songs they would play that night, Temper Trap had only to decide in which order they wanted to play the songs. I tried to dig up from memory if this was the first time I saw a band that had only 1 CD out. Might be the case, so I don't know how other bands solve the problem of having only 11 songs in their baggage.

    That said, there must be a way to add some more surprise to your show, and Temper Trap failed to do that. They played one new song, and I didn't think it was very good, but surely they must be able to play a cover or 2, or add some nice musical interludes. Also (as noticed by others in the shoutbox) the sound wasn't too good in the beginning of the gig. I couldn't help thinking that the singer's voice wasn't very powerful - whereas in the last few songs, he was doing much better, so I was probably misled by the sound.

    On the positive side: they played their songs solid without much pauses. That also meant we were home by 11, they only played for an hour...
  • The Hip at Paradiso

    15 déc. 2009, 14h13m

    Fri 27 Nov – The Tragically Hip

    As a Hip concert is always worth your money, I wasn't expecting that they would surprise me. I've seen them live maybe 6 or 7 times, and maybe once they were slightly disappointing, but the other appearances ranged from quite good to good. But they outdid themselves this time.

    I'm not sure what the difference was - but it sure sounded different. Maybe it was their last record. Although I can't say that I like it, live the songs from this album may have added a bit more mellow tone, which did the band good in the end. Because if there was one thing that set them apart this time, it was their mixed and surprising set list.

    That the concert would be different, was clear right from the start: they started with New Orleans Is Sinking, which is normally one of the most important parts of a Hip concert. This time it wasn't - the crew was obviously still working on the sound, so it sounded - pun intended - muddy. But they got the sound right quite soon afterwards, and the rest of the gig was quite memorable.

    They played a nice overview of their back catalogue, including not too often-played gems like Long Time Running and The Last Of The Unplucked Gems from Road Apples. (See the other review for the setlist.) And, they played for two-and-a-half hours - the only drawback being a pause in the middle of the setlist (which kinda looked like they were giving themselves, or the audience, a smoking opportunity...).
  • Top zeroes

    21 nov. 2009, 8h50m

    My favorite Dutch music magazine, Oor, this month published their top 100 of the years 'zero'. For this, they asked all music journalist to compose their own favorite top 10. As they didn't ask me, I decided to compile my own. As this is my own list, I took the liberty to compile a list of fourteen. Here goes.

    1. Radiohead - Kid A
    I was very surprised to see they didn't choose Kid A as the number 1, but chose The Strokes' Is This It instead. A fine album, but nowhere near as influential and groundbreaking as this record. And it nicely marks the start of the decade as well.

    2. John Frusciante - Shadows Collide With People
    A wonderful record where Frusciante hits his high.

    3. Ben Folds - Rockin' The Suburbs
    Journalist Leo Blokhuis names this one of his all-time favorite records. I think that's too much, but it still deserves its place in this parade.

    4. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
    In a way as groundbreaking as 'Kid A'. Revolutionary stuff.

    5. Gomez - How We Operate
    Gomez is so versatile, able to play so many stiles - but on this record they reach a Lennon & McCartney level of songwriting. And their playing adds to that, too.

    6. The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute
    Sometimes difficult to follow, and at times I also wish they had a different singer, but The Mars Volta are one of a kind. On this record they reach their high.

    7. Patrick Watson - Close To Paradise
    Satie influences to the pop world. Hypnotizing beauty.

    8. Spinvis - Spinvis
    Might be unknown to the international audience, but Erik de Jong's cut and paste music and lyrics are unique.

    9. Muse - Origin of Symmetry
    It's still impressive how Muse brings Queen and progrock to the 90ies/zeroes.

    10. Johan - THX Johan
    Another Dutchie - fascinating indie-guitar.

    11. Beth Hart - Live At Paradiso
    *The* performer of the zeroes.

    12. Centro-matic - All the Falsest Hearts Can Try
    Will Johnson deserves much more attention!

    13. Daniel Lohues - Allennig III
    The last Dutch artist in my list - very original artist. Love this guy.

    14. White Denim - Fits
    One record I play very often lately. It might be too early if it will stay, but so far I like it a lot. Sort of zeroes Cream.

    (Caveat lector - I don't think my taste is revolutionary, just enjoy my choice...)
  • Some more new music

    3 oct. 2009, 20h46m

    The frequency of my writing really doesn't match the frequency of my downloads... so I'm probably missing out on a lot of stuff. But here are some gems again.

    1. Kyteman - The Hermit Sessions.
    I prefer them playing live, as they seem to incorporate more jazz influences then, but still good stuff. I actually bought this on CD.

    2. Muse - The Resistance.
    Sheer bombastic brilliance.

    3. The xx - xx.
    Moody, scary, minimal. Very interesting.

    4. White Denim - Fits.
    I never seem to grasp what garage rock means - but this is Cream modernized. Love it.

    5. The Temper Trap - Conditions.
    Surprisingly good, this. Somewhere halfway between U2 and The Milltown Brothers.

    6. Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey - Here and Now.
    I'm always interested in a Holsapple (dB's) release, but this is not too groundbreaking.

    7. Hüsker Dü - New Day Rising.
    Their discography is now available on Emusic; need to catch up on these classics.

    8. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest.
    These beards are slowly growing on me. Impressive.

    9. Elbow - Leaders of the Free World.
    Constant quality.

    10. Dirty Projectors - Rise Above.
    Not something you will play on a lazy afternoon, but once accustomed, it won't let you go.

    11. Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me & Farm.
    Also available on Emusic now. Great stuff.

    12. Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas.
    More catching up with old classics.
  • Emusic roundup

    15 jui. 2009, 21h35m

    I neglected my journal for a while, so I'm going to need to catch up. These aren't all Emusic downloads since February, but the ones I've got to tell the most about.

    - TV on the Radio - Young Liars.
    EP. I've got to get all music by them. This is not outstanding though.

    - Screaming Trees - Clairvoyance.
    Also to complete my collection. I prefer Mark Lanegan's solo work.

    - Daniel Lohues - Allennig III.
    The third part of his solo series about the seasons. Good song writing, and especially interesting for Dutch speakers.

    - Madness - Complete Madness.
    I'm no hardcore fan, but everyone needs some madness in their collection.

    - And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - The Century Of Self.
    I never gave them much of a listen, but now I did, I'm impressed. Mediocre vocals though.

    - The Veils - Sun Gangs.
    The ballads are lovely as ever, not all uptempo tracks are good though.

    - Johan - 4.
    High standards as you would expect. It's not a good decision to share writing duties though.

    - The Horrors - Primary Colours.
    Interesting, pretty original. Feel that if they really improve in their songwriting, they could be big.

    That's it for now. Maybe later more for June and July.
  • The Veils review

    8 mai 2009, 7h29m

    Thu 7 May – The Veils, Connan Mockasin

    I always wonder, how someone apparently so shy, is able to climb a stage with his songs and perform them before an audience. Finn Andrews, the frontman of The Veils, is such a person. And his personality was a burden on the gig as well as a huge advantage.

    Andrews doesn't really communicate with the audience, only through the music. That's not necessarily a problem, but continuously asking "Hows it going" followed by a sheepish smile, will at some point be irritating. The concert suffered from this, and the fact that (in my view) the sequence of the songs didn't seem very logical, and there were always long pauses between songs for tuning etcetera didn't help either.

    That isn't to say it was a bad concert. Not at all. The sound was pretty good, Andrews has compiled a good band (especially the guitar player was very original in his coundscapes) and his voice... well, just amazing. Somehow you tend to think that his kind of voice is disappointing live, but he is able to do everything he's doing in the studio on stage as well.

    But the best part of the concert was the last three songs. In the encore, after two songs Andrews let his band leave the stage, and got into a solo performance. And that was just great, and this was where his shyness set him apart. He was so real, so believable, so sincere. He made me want to hug him. He asked the public for suggestions, and of course he played Lavinia, but I was very glad to hear him play The Tide That Left and Never Came Back (which on record essentially is a band track) solo. Lovely.
  • Amadou & Mariam review

    30 mars 2009, 9h17m

    Tue 24 Mar – Amadou & Mariam

    dirkpaul at an African concert? Yes, it was my first, but you shouldn't be too suprised. Next month I'll be seeing Orchestre Baobab, so there. ;-)

    And I had a great night. There were a few surprises: a synth player, who could be left out in my opinion, and the sound being much louder and much more European than I had anticipated. But it was dance, dance, dance. Very good band as well.

    I didn't know many of their tunes, but some have gotten into my head. From the couple, Amadou made the most impression - both his voice and guitar play were pretty good. Mariam on the other hand had problems keeping pitch, and her solo track with the synth player wasn't too good in my opinion.

    They have won my heart though. On y va...
  • PUSA yeah!

    23 mars 2009, 8h47m

    Kind of a returning tradition, I went to see Fri 20 Mar – The Presidents of the United States of America in Paradiso. Had a great night. Last time I saw them was - I think, might be 2004 - in 2005 at the same venue. When you go to see PUSA, you know what you are getting - party. And this time it was no different.

    What struck me was that they played quite some old material - I don't really mind, as I think the best stuff still is from their debut in '95. I think they played some 8 songs from their debut album, and maybe 3 or 4 from their latest album, These Are The Good Times People.

    Maybe exactly that provided for a party, although it struck me that they seem to have added quite a new following - lots of people around who were in the beginning of their 20ies, who would be to young for their debut album. Nice to see.

    Only drawback of the evening was that the sound was a bit too loud. And the gig wasn't especially long, but then again, a long evening with all those uptempo songs wouldn't have been fun - they stopped just before it would get tiresome.
  • Kings of Leon

    24 fév. 2009, 10h43m

    Yesterday, in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (in Dutch) a review appeared of a Kings of Leon gig in the Netherlands. And that article pretty much summed up my feelings about them.

    I own 3 albums of the Kings: Youth And Young Manhood, Aha Shake Heartbreak and Only by the Night. One reason I liked them in the beginning, was their charming amateurism - it wasn't perfect, but it tasted sooooo nice. When I first heard Sex on Fire, I thought, great track, and went out to buy the album. Came back disappointed.

    Why? Because I like some of the tracks, and I can tell the band has matured. And I didn't want to be that kind of guy that tells people, they were so much better when they weren't well-known. But still, I didn't play the album as much as I wanted to.

    And then this review summed it up pretty nicely: the Kings are better as a band, but that doesn't necessarily mean, they are nicer to listen to. So there.
  • Emusic downloads for January 2009

    20 fév. 2009, 11h43m

    Better late than never:

    1. Iron And Wine / Calexico - In The Reins.
    Sounds like a regular Calexico album to me - and that's a compliment.

    2. De Staat - Wait for Evolution.
    Debut album for this Dutch rock band. Queens of the Stone Age for the dancefloor.

    3. Ataxia - Automatic Writing.
    Filling up a hole in my John Frusciante collection. Looking forward to his new solo, which was just released.

    4. Presidents of the USA - These Are The Good Times People.
    When I visit their gig in March I need to be able to singalong!

    5. James Yuill - Turning Down Water For Air.
    Nice, electronic indie - or something like that. Slightly reminiscent of Bob Mould.