Vandenberg, Boerderij, Zoetermeer 25/8/2023
After 5 years and 2 fine albums with Vandenberg's Moonkings, Ad Vandenberg decided to return with a renewed Vandenberg in 2020. After "2020", the recently released "Sin" is already their second album since the comeback. This new Vandenberg edition rocks harder than the 80's line-up. More than on the first albums the emphasis is on the riffs, reminding of the old Rainbow and Whitesnake albums.
Singer Mats Leven tries hard to reach the powers of David Coverdale especially but this turns out an impossible task. The band does a good job, especially drummer Koen Herfst is excellent. From the new songs the title track of the new album attracts my attention as it reminds of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir". Other songs from "2020" and "Sin" rock hard but are not very special. The highlights come from the old Vandenberg songs and a couple of Whitesnake covers.
Meanwhile Ad Vandenberg's playing is impressive as always. He looks at least 20 years younger too. So, this is good, old-fashioned hardrock but the levels of Vandenberg in their prime (first 2 albums) are not reached.
Setlist: Hit the Ground Running / Freight Train / Your Love Is in Vain / Fool for Your Loving / Shadows of the Night / Sailing Ships / Sin / Ride Like the Wind / Wait / Different Worlds / Light It Up / Here I Go Again / Burning Heart / Friday Night
Navarone, Paard, The Hague 17/3/2023
Since their start in 2009 Navarone from Nijmegen have released several fine albums supported by an excellent live-reputation. In Het Paard in The Hague they are the main act although it's far from sold out. With their heavy, alternative rock sound Navarone appeal to all rockers but so far didn't reach a very large audience yet. On the new album "V" the band changes it's course to more melodic rocksongs and ballads (obvious influence: Queen).
Undoubtly inspired by their participation in the Voice of Holland in 2018 where they reached the final and ended 2nd. Although this yielded them screentime and gigs the much wanted hit did not come yet. Single "Come What May" could've been that hit. The band plays 8 songs from the new album which makes sense as it's a fine album. But the contrast between the new melodic songs and some of the older grungy material is sometimes very large.
Navarone need to streamline their setlist. Go for straight ahead rocking songs (Keep On Running) rather than grunge.
Setlist: Intro / Divided / Another Way / Snake / Surrender / Wire / Come What May / Showtime / Highland Bull / Mind's Eye / Free Together / Stakes / Leave / Question Why / The Red Queen Effect / Heroes Someday / End of the World / Keep On Running / Lonely Nights / Cerberus / Encore: Days of Yore
Johan, Paard, The Hague 8/11/2018
Johan made a restart in 2017, releasing an excellent 5th album "Pull Up" in 2018. Main new addition compared to the line-up of 2009 is Robin Berlijn (Fatal Flowers, Kane). On "Pull Up" he already proved his value, giving the bandsound some rawer edges.
That bandleader Jacco de Greeuw has faith in the new album is shown by the fact that they play 8 of it's songs. The song catalog is so impressive meanwhile that it hardly seems to matter what the setlist looks like. At some point Jacco wonders if the next song is from the 2nd or 3rd album. Only songs from "4" are avoided. Though the band never scored a real hit, the songs that got a lot of airplay are all here.
A Johan concert without classics as "Everybody Knows", "Porneaux", "Tumble and Fall", "Pergola" and "Oceans" is hard to imagine. That Johan is in good shape and rocks harder than before apparently comes as a surprise to the soundman. Apart from this minor glitch, the performance confirms that Johan is still among the best Dutch rock bands.
Setlist: I Mean I Guess / Easy (It's) / W.F. / About Time / When I'm on My Own / Tumble and Fall / Just Because / Dream (On My Mind) / Porneaux / Pergola / Walking Away / Making Sense / What a Scene / She's Got a Way With Men / Anyone Got a Clue? / Save Game / Oceans / Quicksand
Encore: Day Is Done / December / Everybody Knows
Gaz Coombes, Rotown, Rotterdam 12/4/2018
The former Supergrass-frontman played in Rotown just a couple of weeks before the release of his third solo album. And the 5 new songs from the forthcoming "World's Greatest Man" were all excellent. Only the first single, "Deep Pockets", was familiar to some.
Gaz plays solo, assisted by a drumcomputer and a looper pedal. That he handles this with great ease can't be a surprise since he recorded about 90% of the music on his solo albums. The small but atmospheric Rotown is packed and seems aware that this is a major musical talent at work.
For the quieter songs Gaz asks attention and he gets it too. Considering that "Matador" was the first solo album where he found his way it's amazing that people are hardly asking for Supergrass songs. They realize that this is a special guy. Gaz holds out 'till the last encore before he treats the audience on an acoustic version of the Supergrass song "Moving".
A great night. Gaz Coombes's music really deserves more attention.
Setlist: Oscillate / Hot Fruit / White Noise / Buffalo / Shit (I've Done It Again) / One Of These Days / Walk The Walk / Deep Pockets / Oxygen Mask / Seven Walls / The Girl Who Fell To Earth / 20/20 / Detroit
Encore: The Oaks / Matador / Moving
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express, Paard, The Hague 31/10/2017
Chuck Prophet went solo when the semi-legendaric Green On Red disbanded in 1993. So, he's been a solo artist for a lot longer now than his previous band lasted. Especially since 1997's Homemade Blood he's been releasing fascinating albums of high quality. His latest album, "Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins" (Feb 2017), is full of Prophet's typical blend of Rock, Singer-songwriter music and witty lyrics. The seven songs from the new album are all entirely convincing, performed by an excellent band (Kevin White, Vicente Rodriguez, James De Prato). In between songs Chuck likes to chat up the audience. There are a lot of seniors on this night, perhaps because it's a Tuesday and Halloween as well. This all passes in a very relaxed and funny atmosphere 'cause Chuck is a great storyteller and rock 'n' roller. Simply a great night.
Setlist: Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins / Lonely Desolation / Bad Year For Rock And Roll / Doubter Of Jesus (All Over You) / You And Me Baby (Holding On) / Temple Beautiful / Coming Out In Code / Jesus Was A Social Drinker / You Did (Bomp Shooby Dooby Bomp) / In The Mausoleum (for Alan Vega) / We Got Up And Played / Open Up Your Heart / Summertime Thing / Countrified Inner City Technological Man / Wish Me Luck / Willie Mays Is Up at Bat / Castro Halloween
Jo Harman, Paradiso (small hall), Amsterdam 9/2/2017
Since 2010 Jo Harman has been steadily building up her career, music and songwriting. Tonight, in the small hall of the famous Paradiso, we get the chance to hear her brand new album "People We Become" (released on V2, 3 Feb). Recorded in Nashville, "People We Become" is Jo's second studio album. With 2013's "Dirt On My Tongue" she already made a big impression on small audiences with her soulful performances. As on that album, Jo and her band confidently and easily blend their mix of blues, soul and pop/rock. Starting with the excellent opening song of the album "No One Left To Blame" Jo takes in her listeners right away. And what a great voice! Jo can be sweet, powerful, subtile and never shows off, she knows how to dose and time things. For the new album Jo had more studio time than the independently released debut. The songs are a bit more pop/rock oriented than before, the band sounds confident throughout and they're clearly enjoying all of this. Just when it crosses your mind that there's nothing as raw as "Sweet Man Moses", suddenly there's a heartfelt cover of Bowie's "Life On Mars" (also performed live at NPO2 for Gerark Ekdom's show earlier that day). If you still had doubts about the new songs, these dissapeared when Jo ended the show with two great new ballads. Jo has a great future and simply is the best blues/soul female singer since Amy Whinehouse.
After the show Jo took her time, signing lp's/cd's and chatting with her admirers. That's what makes these small, intimate shows special. Jo definitely deserves more fans but let's hope she'll never be in the top of the charts (she can play the big hall though).
Setlist: No One Left To Blame / Silhouettes Of You / Lend Me Your Love / Unchanged And Alone / The Reformation / Changing Of The Guard / Life On Mars (David Bowie cover) / Person Of Interest / When We Were Young / The Final Page / Lonely Like Me
Roger Hodgson, Carré, Amsterdam 2/9/2015
Roger Hodgson is the former lead singer of Supertramp and the songwriter of their biggest hits. Well-informed fans must've known that Hodgson has been performing a lot of Supertramp songs during his latest tours. The majestic theatre Carré (capacity: 3000) was sold out. Hodgson (65) was obviously thrilled to be playing in such a great, packed venue. It was 15 years ago since he last played in Amsterdam.
From the first lines of opener "Take The Long Way Home" it's clear that the man's voice is still in fine shape. When that's followed by "School" you notice what an excellent band he's got. Especially multi-instrumentalist Aaron McDonald's contributions are remarkable. He switches between clarinet, backing vocals and keyboards in one song with great ease. Besides the hits there are some lovely album tracks that you nearly forgot ("Soapbox Opera", "Even In The Quietest Moments", "Two Of Us") as well as some of his best solo songs.
The crowd loves it all and often stands up to applaude for a long time. No wonder since all of his hits come by (when "Breakfast In America" starts everyone cheers happily). Hodgson explains that he wrote the song in the 60's, you wonder why they didn't record it before 1979. He often plays the acoustic guitar but switches to electric for "Had A Dream", the opener after the break. Inspired by the venue and the crowd Hodgson comes back for an additional encore playing for over 2 hours and 21 songs (incl. 15 x Supertramp). A terrific night. If there's any point of criticism to make it may be that he doesn't have any new songs to support his tour. But as he explains somewhat cynically, his last excellent studio album "Open The Door" was "only released in France and sold 4 copies". I'm sure though that tonight the merchandising sold more than that.
Setlist: Take The Long Way Home / School / In Jeopardy / Lovers In The Wind / Breakfast In America / Along Came Mary / A Soapbox Opera / Hide In Your Shell / Lord Is It Mine / The Logical Song / Had A Dream (Sleeping With The Enemy) / Even In The Quietest Moments / Only Because Of You / Child Of Vision / Death And A Zoo / If Everyone Was Listening / Dreamer / Fool's Overture / Two Of Us / Give A Little Bit / It's Raining Again
Morrissey, Tivoli, Utrecht 28/10/2014
The anticipation for Morrissey's performance in Tivoli was high because it was four years ago since his last show in Holland. For me it was the first time I witnessed him perform. As well as the first time in this impressive, large hall of Tivoli. The place was absolutely sold out and the atmosphere electric. Before the concert we could watch an enjoyable compilation of clips with some of Morrissey's favourite music (incl. Ramones, New York Dolls but also Chris Andrews). The band took the stage, wearing 'Fuck Harvest' shirts (a beef with the record company), with a ferocious version of "The Queen Is Dead".
The band slowed down after five songs with "Certain People I Know" before the man finally spoke some words to the audience. Despite his recent health problems Morrissey appeared in great shape while his political/social comments were as sharp as ever. Besides Harvest, the Royal house and the pharmaceutical industry got a beating. During "Meat Is Murder" (one of three Smiths-songs played tonight) a movie with shocking images of animal abuse and slaughter was shown. Meanwhile Tivoli was summoned to arrange that it was meatfree all day.
The songs from the diverse new cd "World Peace Is None of Your Business" worked really well. "Kiss Me A Lot" and "The Bullfighter Dies" had more punch than on the cd while there was more room for the Spanish guitar (by Jesse Tobias) during "Staircase at the University". Although the older Morrissey singles and Smith-songs are among the highlights as expected, Morrissey included 9 songs from the new album. This could be a risk since it's not a classic (just very good) but it sounds completely natural. The man's got so many great tunes to choose from. The band's playing, led by the loyal Boz Boorer (who joined in 1991), is solid and passionate. Overall a very convincing performance. Looking forward to his next visit.
Setlist: The Queen Is Dead / Suedehead / Speedway / Kiss Me a Lot / Certain People I Know / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Istanbul / World Peace Is None of Your Business / Staircase at the University / One of Our Own / Trouble Loves Me / The Bullfighter Dies / Neal Cassady Drops Dead / Meat Is Murder / Yes, I Am Blind / Kick the Bride Down the Aisle / I'm Not a Man / Asleep / Everyday Is Like Sunday