Friday, 17 February 2017

Tytan & Fingernails - Little Devil Tilburg 16 February 2017

Last year I saw Mr. Kevin Riddles on stage. Not with his band, but helping out friends Brian and Claire Mear during the legendary Mearfest in the Borderline. I then already decided I would make an effort to see Tytan when playing the low countries. This week they are touring Europe with Italian support Fingernails commemorating 35 years in Rock. The Dutch gig went to Little Devil, so I went there as well. Tytan are a NWOBHM band that never made it to household name. 35 years ago I also did not buy their LP, as still at school my limited budget went mostly to the big names. I did get the re-release on CD years ago and Rough Justice sits well next so many hard yet melodic NWOBHM bands of the time. Those who think they never heard anything off Kevin are probably wrong. He played bass on one of the best NWOBHM albums ever made in Angel Witch's debut. Next to that he played with several other bands of the era during the years. This tour came at an interesting time as this week I learned they shall release their second album this May 26. Maybe this might result in a fast return, we shall see.

Opening the evening were Fingernails. This Italian band formed in 1981 already, but I must admit never hearing their name before. They turned out to be a trio, with the singer spotting a Motorhead patch on his jeans shirt and the bassist showing a huge Bomber tattoo. It came therefore as little surprise to hear them kicking away with Dirty Wheels, pretty much sounding like Motorhead. Both men sang and their voices also were more than a bit in the style of Lemmy. I liked their fast Rock and Roll, but not to an extend that I should get their albums in a rush. Nice openers though.

Tytan came on stage as a five man band. While they were comemorating 35 years in Rock it looked to me that some band members' parents had not even met at the time of releasing Blind Men and Fools. Yet I do not have much problems with it if with al respect "smaller" bands hold only one or two original members in the current line-up. It is all about the playing and the show and that turned out to be just fine this evening. Kicking of with Cold Bitch and Money for Love showed we had a tight band on stage . As there is a new album coming we also got two new songs  and one oldie Forever Gone that has been re-recorded for the new album. Especially the up-tempo instrumental was much to my liking. During the show we got almost the full Rough Justice album, so we could shout along with Liar! Blind Men and Fools. Dedicated to the ladies in the house we got Women on the Frontline and their best song might be closer Ballad of Edward Case, which is a fast monster indeed. Playing a bit over an hour we got a great show of a band who just made clear I shall get the new album Justice:Served! in May. Bands like Tytan deserve all our support. Let's face it without NWOBHM there would not be any Thrash, Black, Death or Tech metal either. This is how it all started to me over 35 years ago as well  and it is good to see the oldies still going strong. Thanks to Metal Mario for bringing this package to Holland and good luck for Tytan on their final shows this weekend. 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Gift & The Far Meadow - 't Blok Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel 12 February 2017

Two progressive rock bands in 't Blok whom I both discovered last year only when they released good albums. Once again organized by Progfrog. I knew of their existence since years, but only last December I first attended one of their shows with Martigan. Now I understood they put once a month a show on, organized by volunteers with the help of some sponsors. The atmosphere is really something different in here. When a barman did not recognize my face he asked if it was my first time in 't Blok and welcomed me. During the show I saw again the cheese-sausage-bitterballen platter passing by and the mood is very easy going. Later this year amongst others they already confirmed Hekz and Verbal Delirium, plus a festival in October. They also have some coverbands and when announcing today that Yesshows is selling fast I can inform readers who fear to miss out that next Saturday 18 February that band plays in my favorite venue Musicon. But I came to hear some music: Great solo's on keyborads and guitars preferably hidden in long epics. Well I got what I wanted.

First on were The Far Meadow promoting their last album Given the Impossible. From the start most of my attention was drawn towards guitarist Denis Warren. The first songs he asked for minor changes in the sound and he moved his monitor one inch. When he felt comfortable he started treating us in many occassions on beautiful long solo's and proved himself the star of the band. For me his guitar could have been louder in the mix as I heard bass and keys over his solo's at times. The chance for him to shine came from the many long songs played. While I started with the star, it was not all glory. The vocalist disappointed somewhat. Not that her voice is bad, she can actually sing, but her presentation did not come out well on stage. Not long ago I saw Iamthemorning and that vocalist had a similar style. While that was a natural, I now had the impression that she was not all that comfortable being on a stage with some fifty old men watching her every move. It might have been just my impression, but it brought down the show a bit to me. We still had the musical parts to enjoy and Himalaya Flashmob and The Seamless Shirt were very strong finishers.

When after the break The Gift came on the difference was huge. Here was a band of five members who all looked at ease on stage and dressed up in black and white for the occassion. Especially the rhythm section, but actually the whole band looked so cool that they could also apply for playing mobster money collectors in a Guy Ritchie movie. But looks apart  I mentioned five members, as unfortunately David Lloyd could not join due to family circumstances. Losing a guitarist meant probably some adaptations in the set and show, but as I saw them for the first time I could not compare. During opener Quickening Pulse the keyboards moved portable (Nena, Voyager) and the band immediately made a nice and lively impact. Following this up by Sweeper of Dreams they set the tone for what would be an overwhelming prog show. Going through their three albums I did not know several songs. I liked the "pop"song Too Many Hands for being upbeat, The anti-war song from Awake and Dreaming was impressive. From the last album Why The Sea Is Salt, At Sea was dedicated to David Lloyd. The ballad The Tallest Tree was presented by keys and voclas only. As this song is about losing people vocalist Mike Morton looked touched at the the end relating the text to his own experiences. Coming at Mike Morton he had everything I just commented above as failing with The Far Meadow. He introduced the songs with a story about the contents or how it was written. When an unexpected tuning break came on he filled it without any issue talking or even telling a joke. I don't know if he is technically the best vocalist around, but he has stage presence and those are always the best. Actually the whole band deserves a big thumbs up, as this was a band performance that made it such a good show. Impression wise I was remembered about the first time I saw Credo live. Not leaving the stage for the encore we saw a pleased band ending their set. As the audience wanted more, they came back and gave us Sweeper Of Dreams again. This was introduced as their hardest rocking song which it is. Still I left any requested headbang attempts for last Friday at Dordeduh, now just enjoying this very good live band. Thanks to The Gift and all those who made this possible. In September they shall be back in Holland, surely trying to make that.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Dordeduh, Transceatla, Murw & Witches of Dune - de Vinger The Hague 10 February 2017

De Vinger moved some tima ago already from the centre to the old OLS/Bazart. In the eighties this was the metal venue in The Hague for dutch bands on tour. Last decades I have hardly been there, recently missing an interesting Stoner package I believe Textures touring their debut album was my last time here. This evening a package was booked with two Romanian bands and two local supports. All unknown to me on forehand a surf on the internet got my interest in the headliner and a bicycle ride through the snow looked more than justified for this evening with atmospheric metal.
Arriving in de Vinger four witches were tuning their instruments on stage. Their music is dark rock with rather minimalistic instrumental parts and a vocalist with a good voice. At times a Black Metal scream woud come out of a box to upp the heaviness. Some songs worked really well and moody while others passed me by incognito. Nice one to follow by Wurm. This band also were doomish. At the start the tall bassist grunted along the songs, while I preferred the later songs when the guitarist took over most vocals. Having three guitars did not mean a wall of sound, but again atmospheric doomy riffs. Good to see that local bands also got support from other local artists as I saw many faces around who I saw before on stage in Musicon or HPC.

Then the evening turned Romanian with two bands I did not know before tonight. Dordeduh started their European tour in The Hague and Tranceatla is another project of almost the same band members. Transceatla played first and stated noone knows us as we just recorded but not yet released our first album. Well based upon what I saw last night I shall get this album upon it's release and many others present shall too I guess. The poster mentioned Progressive Doom/Death while I heard at times also similarities with bands that merged from Black Metal into a more Progressive style. Instrumentaly this band was great and the variations in the songs made this a very exciting set. The vocals mixed clean and harsh to good effect and I loved the double fingerpicking parts on guitar. Definitely a band to follow.

Dordeduh were headliner and they are holding ex-members of more famous Negura Bunget. Hello me it's me again the vocalist opened. This could also be said for bassist and drummer as only the second guitarist changed. What first stood out were the many different instruments on stage. The wooden guillotine turned out to be a percussion instrument, a horizontal harp (hammered dulcimer I learned from the CD) was played by the second guitarist and the opening contained two huge wooden horns. Containing three members of Tranceatla the band managed to keep the very high standard juts set up. This is one of those bands that due to the instrumenst alone is already a different spectacle to watch. Together with good musicianship this is a show that should be interesting to many music lovers in general. I know extreme vocals scare off many, but they are just a small part in this performance. As was the case the whole evening the music is all about the atmospheres and this band knows how to create some. The fact that they sing in Romanian does not hinder at all for that same reason. The music was black folky metal, but contained many headbanging parts at the same time. Playing the CD Dar da Duh now it can never come over as overwhelming as live on stage, but certainly sounds very interesting.

This tour is coming back to Holland on Monday when they play the Little Devil. I can recommend anyone in the area to go and see this. You get two moody dutch starters, followed by a top class double act of Romanian Atmospheric metal. 

Monday, 6 February 2017

Glenn Hughes - de Boerderij Zoetermeer, 5 February 2017

Glenn Hughes is the ultimate voice of Classic rock. Getting that doubt out of the way I can write about the show he gave us in de Boerderij last night. When I was entering pre-school he was already releasing music. Most people probably know him from Deep Purple, but he released many albums including at the begin of this decade most known Black Country Communion. My favorite work of him is the more melodic hard rock. I still look on the internet for the Phenomena box at a decent price and one of the best melodic hard rock albums of the eighties must be Iommi's Black Sabbath with Seventh Star. Live I saw him performing several times and that voice is the one thing you will always remember from his shows. After releasing the very good Resonate album some months ago we were ready for Glenn Hughes. Before he started we had support band Stone Broken, who played harmless rock which reminded me of Scottish band Logan. Nothing exiting, but decent enough. Some weird choice of music and a few beers guided us through the break for the band to hit the stage in the hall with the new name. The move from Jupiler to Bavaria does not make many beerdrinking visitors happy.

Opening with Flow from the last album gave us the chance to check all the boxes. Good band, good sound, good mood and the voice. What followed was a trip through his long career. I do not know all his work, but unknown songs were appreciated just by the great performances. Inbetween songs Glenn talked us through the set in his love and peace style. We learned he had a severe cold and a broken finger which only made his performance more impressive. Highlights in the regular set to me were "Medusa", "Might Just Take Your Life"and "Black Country". The encore gave us his best new song "Heavy"and his all time classic "Burn". What a way to close this brilliant set of true musicians. While it all was great I silently hoped for one song which I missed. Realizing that Seventh Star was not the best period in Glenn's life I hoped for one song from that album. With the sad passing away of Geoff Nicholls last week  I would have loved to hear and see either "No Stranger to Love"or "Seventh Star" Unfortunately this was not to be, but still lots of respect for the man and his show.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Fates Warning - De Pul Uden, 28 January 2017

If there is one thing Hans and I always agreed upon, it is that Fates Warning stands above all others and doubts. In the mid eighties when we were at a local gig in Delft a friend of Hans tipped us on this great new band who just released Night on Bröcken. We got the point and kept an eye on that one when they moved from heavy metal into more progmetal areas, a new genre by then. In 1989 we attended their first European gig in Amsterdam supporting Manowar (a show that can be seen on DVD with the special edition of Perfect Symmetry). In the early nineties they cancelled some European tours, which was a pain before internet days. As from A Pleasant Shade of Gray they resumed touring for every new album. Usually they focus their tours around Germany, Holland and Greece, so we got to see them a lot. Still from the big three of Progmetal they never manged to get the same recognition  as Dream Theater and Queensryche did.Looking at CD's only this is very strange and simply unfair. Noone needs a lot of time to mention a disappointing album of the other two, while Fates Warning don't do disappointing albums. Even so there is general consensus amongst fans that last year's Theories of Flight is among their best albums ever. Touring Europe these weeks, they include two Dutch gigs and we managed to get a decent group together for the show in Uden. Entering de Pul it seemed that we were not the only ones gathering people as there were easily three times as many people as during their previous club gigs I saw in Weert and Roermond. This is only good news as they deserve this. One downer though was that de Pul is not a good place for a full house. Their setup with a large entrance, where you hardly see anything and a small hall with huge sound space made it a packed and sweaty event. They brought two support acts of which the first one I missed and the second one was weird. Brazilian Armored Dawn managed to only raisen eyebrows. Who put this lot to open for Fates Warning? Their Power/Folk/Pirate metal might fit Korpiklaanni but shall not win them any fans on this tour. As I might still apply for my Brazilian passport after retirement I stop saying anything here. about my future countrymen.

Fates Warning came on and kicked of with the opener of Theories.., From the Rooftops. Great to hear this new song and see the band was in good form. Going by some traditional fast opning songs (Life, One, APSoG III) we arrived at Seven Stars and the new album comes alive indeed. A Pity that we further only got The Light and Shade of Things, as I would have loved to see thundering White Flag. After many shows we know the build-up of  a Fates Warning setlist. Some classic songs they never avoid, some new songs and a few relative surprises. The latter might have been yesterday A Handfull of Doubt, Acquiescence and APSoG IX. Of Course I lost my voice over Eleventh Hour/Point of View. Playing around 90-100 minutes this was another show of top class prog metal. Only comment might be on the sound that at times seemed to be floating around a bit, struggling with volume swaps as well. Usually I do not do double gigs for same bands in a row, but Fates Warning (and Psychotic Waltz if ever) are the exceptions. Unfortunately this morning I woke up with the results of two late nights and  a week of a threatening cold. If not a surprising recovery is on it's course by now I have to skip Patronaat with Hans tonight. Anyone having the chance to see them don't miss this tor as they hardly have been better.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Dream The Electric Sleep - Little Devil Tilburg, 27 January 2017

Somewhere in 2014 I discovered Dream the Electric Sleep reading a review of their second album Herectics. With the possibilities of the internet I only needed to hear the opening title track and I was sold. The nice thing about their music is that it does not fit in a box. Yesterday the poster said progressive rock, which is in there. At the same time I can see them perfectly tour with a stoner rock band, play ProgPower or fit the bill with a major alternative rock act like Foo Fighters. This unboxable part makes it nice to introduce them to some not so metal or prog friends. In comes Peter who likes his hardrock until UFO and Y&T, his prog hero is Steven Wilson or John Mitchell and he moves in many areas I don't follow. My tip was right and he absolutely got DtES as well. So Tilburg it was and to improve matters Joop after hearing some music decided on the day to join as well and apart from that to drive. This car saved us from rushing off to catch the last train straight after the show, which proved to be another valuable hour. As I always say Little Devil is the nicest hardrock bar in Holland, so an hour warming up on good beers made sense. I even discoverd a new favorite in Punk IPA. at 21:30 the doors opened to the hall and we just moved to the next bar. Standing right before the small stage we were ready for DtES.

After an intro the band hit the stage and gave us Heretics. The wall of sound by only three man was there and the talking guitar lines over a very heavy base sounded as good as on the album. Next song Let the Light Flood In showed that also the vocals were good tonight. Actually all three members sing, but main vocals were as on the album by guitarist Matt Page. What followed was a ride through their albums, Highlight to me came in instrumental We Who Blackout the Sun, which has such a beautifull bridge to heavyness. Talking about heavy it turned out that Joey Waters does not do soft drumming. Most songs included some very heavy hits on his floortoms which together with the driving bass of Chris gave the songs their pulsing base to put melodies over. A show that flew by included two songs from their debut as well, which was enough for picking up a signed copy of that one after the show. So Little Devil is far from a huge venue and it was not very packed either. Still those present all realized they saw something special indeed and expressed so loudly. I stated to Peter and Joop that for me this band could grow big on main festivals like Pinkpop or Lowlands. They thought me naive and explained quality does not matter for that. Still we saw a truely great show by a very good band who turned out to be nice guys after the show. It was good to see that there was a long queue for their CD's or LP. I got the debut album, another Punk IPA and left for home pleased with a great Friday evening.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Ranger, Rosie, Batushka & Arkona - gebr. de Nobel Leiden 21 January 2017

Ranger was coming to Leiden and what I saw of them on the internet looked promising enough. Support band would be Rosie a band I first saw some thirty years ago. Now on the same evening de Nobel could book Batushka and Arkona on their European Pilgramage tour. So a deal was made prime time got the Polish Black metal invasion and the after party would be in the small hall with Ranger and Rosie. As staying home until ten seemed pointless I decided to warm up with the Polish Black Metal tour and move to the party thereafter.

Arkona was on stage when I entered the main hall. At first I thought drums came from a box, but a drummer was sitting at the side of the stage. Arkona plays Black Metal with some symphonic intro tapes. It sounded good, but lacked variety for me. What stuck most of the show were the guitarists with painted faces, but wearing white hoodies. After a break with stage preparations Batushka could start. I mention stage preparations as Batushka are mainly about the stage set. Last year they played the small hall where the stage was too small for the eight members. Now they had space enough, but that made them not a moving band. All standing still they play their gregorian black metal with precision. Similar to last year I got the impression that this band is all about the gimmick and how long would that work. Well I might be wrong as I only saw more people in de Nobel during Saxon. A full hall appreciating a band that I probably just don't get. Good for them.

At 23:00 the doors to the small hall opened and we walked into a heavy metal party from the eighties. DJ Virginkiller set the tone with Running with the Devil, Killed by Death and For Whom the Bells Toll. If ever a band entered a warmed up venue it would be Ranger this evening. Many people stayed and also some just arrived from other shows to see Ranger and Rosie perform. Finnish Ranger plays speed/thrash metal in the style of some thirty years ago. This was the perfect fit for the atmosphere that was in the room. Their main characteristic is that they play fast. This comes together with many solo's shot at us in full speed so what was there not to like. At times I thought I heard some Agent Steel with the high shrieking vocals. The beer soaked floor turned out to be a dangerous place for slam dancing and even a crowd surfer appeared above our heads. Following up a Black Metal show it strikes how the mood changed. From standing stil in the main hall the small hall was just a good old fashioned metal party. Meanwhile Ranger thundered on and had a great show. I did get their last album Speed & Violence which has a nice eighties cover as well. In June they play Josie's current hometown Beja, so maybe I can see them playing under the sun one day.

As it was getting later many people left for trains and busses and when Rosie started it was a lot calmer already. That did not seem to hinder them and they blasted their Rock & Roll over us. With a name like that it can not surprise anyone that they play in a style not very far from AC/DC. Actually at times I was not sure if it is an own song or an AC/DC cover. Being around for thirty years they know how to play and the mood stayed good. As I also wanted to catch the 01:15 train I left when the singer announced they had three more songs. An evening divided in two it was and anyone with eyes could see that nothing beats eighties metal parties really.