Monday, 24 December 2012

John Mayall – Melkweg, 13 December 2012.

Pre show I thought about the last time I had seen John play live. It had been at a Blues Festival in Perth. He had been one of the earlier acts of the day and I had not really thought much of him. To put this into context, 11 hours later I would be watching Bob Dylan and then Ray Charles round out the evening. That was five years ago though and thing can change. At the very least my opinion about seeing a performer play at a single venue rather that a festival is very different.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Yeasayer – Paradiso, 5 December 2012

I will come right out and say it - Yeasayer are the new embodiment of Rock n’ Roll.

For anyone who has been paying attention to the music scene for long enough, you will have noticed a continual theme. The death of Rock n’ Roll is always imminent.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dan Mangan – Melkweg, 3 December, 2012 (Old room)

Occasionally it is nice to catch a performer before they are big, or should I say famous. They are usually still playing with huge amounts of passion and they also usually really want to entertain. After all it is the living they have chosen to do, no matter what happens next.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Garbage - Paradiso, 20 November 2012

I’m only happy when it’s the nineties…..unless we are talking about homework and then I am not happy at all.

So when I signed up to go and see Garbage I had my reservations. Not as many as I might have expected mid you, but there were still some. A good friend of mine had seen them about 4 months earlier and when given the opportunity jumped at the chance to get tickets to this show as well, so I knew they must have produced the goods last time.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Beach House – Paradiso, 19 November 2012

The Beach House lights were on, but I wished I was at home.

Having previously missed two shows from Beach House (and probably more that I wasn’t even aware of) I made it a point to catch them the third time around. After all don’t they say once, twice, third time’s a charm?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Jeff Lang – Paradiso, 15 November 2012.

I was really surprised when I saw that Jeff Lang had been announced to play at Paradiso, less surprised to see that it would be in the small room and for only 8 Euro.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Grizzly Bear - Paradiso, 5 November 2012

Would this show be as powerful as the almighty Grizzly, attacking an unsuspecting punter, or would I just have to grin and Bear it?

All puns aside, it was actually more like a Night at the Opera.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Tame Impala - Paradiso, 29 October 2012 (Sell Out)

The evening with Tame Impala was a tad bid lame and Wolfmother was probably what I really wanted to see.

When I think of home and Australia, in my mind I start singing the song “Land down under” (Men at Work style) or “I still call Australia home”(Peter Allen’s version or the Qantas commercial, take your pick), neither, of which are at all what the band Tame Impala are like at all. And that is not a bad thing.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hot Chip - Melkweg, Amsterdam, 28 October 2012

When the chips are down, then it’s time to turn that Synthesizer up!

There seems to be a bit of interest in Hot Chip over the last few years, and it got me thinking when did that come about again? Well they are Grammy and Mercury award nominated, and truth be told was probably after that happened that I stood up and started getting more interested in them. Several of my friends have been listening to these guys for years, and so, on a beautifully cool evening in Amsterdam I found myself wishing one of them had been in town to enjoy the show. But alas they were not, so I ventured to The Melkweg, on my own, spare ticket in hand and it was then noticed the sign saying Sold Out, with minimal people around I gave it to the bouncer and told him to make someone’s night, and headed on in.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Radiohead - a musical journey, Amsterdam 2012

For a generation of music fans, Radiohead were the band that took us into the new Millennium.

I am not talking about a soundtrack to a certain time in our lives, although that may also be true. I am talking about the band who took us on a musical journey from one era of music into another. The age and location of the listeners can vary, as can the other bands that make up the story. But the underlying path is always the same and the fork in that road is always OK Computer.

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Dirty Projectors – Melkweg, 23 October 2012

The simple fact is - we are not cool enough to ‘get’ a band like the Dirty Projectors.

With no pre-purchased tickets in hand, we decided to check out the Dirty Projectors at the small stage of the Melkweg on a quiet Tuesday evening. Despite being there at our regular time, just after doors opening, there were literally only 5 other people there. This was either going to be an incredibly small crowd, or we had just failed part one of the hipster test, being fashionably late.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Julia Stone - Paradiso 21 October 2012

Julia Stone was hands down the best ‘walk-up’ show of the year, so far.

Ok, so maybe we don’t do as many walk-up shows as we used to, mainly due to the fact we don’t like running the risk of something selling out, but don’t let that take anything away from the statement. We were willing to run the risk with this show, so expectation were obviously not sky high, but sometimes that’s the best frame of mind to be in when you’re about to be blown away.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Robert Cray - Paradiso, 16 October 2012

Inducted into the Blues hall of fame- tick. Five time Grammy Award winner- tick.

When I look back on my music collection there appears to always be quite a bit of Blues. Ok so it is not like I am so in love with the Blues that I would disregard everything else, but there is something about this genre that really stirs ones emotion. And I don’t mean just a little bit, I mean you can really feel what the artist is going through, or has gone through.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Husky – Club Ziggo 24 September 2012

Yes it’s a Husky but by no stretch of the imagination is it a dog.

Four non assuming lads from Melbourne sauntered on stage at Club Ziggo to start their live performance, after a few out takes and retakes for the recording TV cameras, the introduction to the band was complete and the show could get under way. A beautiful show that felt like it came from nowhere, but maybe that just because I don’t live in Australia anymore.

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Temper Trap – Melkweg, 16 September 2012

If Boy & Bear are the band that I should love and don’t, then The Temper Trap are the band I shouldn’t but kinda’ do. Maybe it’s patriotism, maybe it’s lower expectation but there is just something about this indie-pop band that keeps surprising me.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Of Monster and Men – Melkweg, 4 September, 2012

Indie might change, but the beer will remain the same.

When did I develop this love for indie folk pop? Moreover, when did the rest of the world do the same? It feels like every time I am reading about music at the moment there is a reference to Of Monsters and Men, or Mumford and Sons, or even Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The world is in love with this particular genre right now and I for one have jumped on board this catchy little band wagon.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Leonard Cohen - 5 lessons from the master

Olympisch Stadion, 21 August 2012

Leonard Cohen is one of the greats. In a career that spans 45 years the man has done it all, and I’m pretty sure he has won enough awards and accolades that he doesn’t need me or this blog to tell him just how good he is. So instead, here are the 5 things that I learnt from the master at his show in Amsterdam last week:

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Snoop Dogg, Paradiso, 17 August, 2012

Imagine my surprise, and twinge of disappointment, when the artist formally known as Snoop Dogg announced that he was through with his gangster lifestyle? That he was embracing the Rastafarian way of life, that he had recorded a reggae album and was that he was now going by the name of Snoop Lion?

All this when I had a moderately expensive ticket in my hand that clearly said Snoop Dogg @ Paradiso!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Shearwater – Sugar factory, 6 July 2012

Sugar factory, 6 July 2012

It was a Friday night and I had a ticket to a gig, in a new venue (for me - The Sugar Factory) for a band with reasonable amounts of music industry hype surrounding them and furthermore they had no schedule to return to my European shores in quite a while. What more could you ask for?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Ramona Falls - New York City

The Mercury Lounge, 14 June 2012 

Recently when I was in New York I headed with some friends to the Mercury Lounge to see a band called Ramona Falls.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Boy & Bear - Paradiso, 20 August 2012

I really, really want to love Boy & Bear.

They have all the pieces of something that I should love. What is there not to love about 5 extremely talented musicians, with great harmonies and from my home town? My sister first got me He Will Have His Way for Christmas in 2010 and I, like everyone else, fell in love with their version of Fall at Your Feet. And I bought Moonfire, their first full length album, as soon as it was released.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The John Spencer Blues Explosion: No Bullshit Rock n’ Roll

Club Ziggo; 13 August 2012

Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I was a part of the John Spencer Blues Explosion.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Rock Werchter 2012

Festivals have never been my live music format of choice. Back in 2008 I went to Rock Werchter for the first time and had a fantastic day and possibly my romantic memories of that day pushed me into trying it again in 2012, with the hope of reliving the fun.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Interview: Yeasayer - Ira Wolf Tuton

For anyone out there who has been living under an indie-music rock for the past few months, US band Yeasayer will release Fragrant World, their highly anticpated third album, later this month.
Early releases of Henrietta and Longevity have already created quite a buzz online and when VP Music had the chance to get hold of a pre-release copy of the album we were all over it like a fat kid on a cup cake! Odd Blood was one of our album's of 2010, so despite what the band might have been feeling (see below), we had high expectations of the follow-up.
We are pleased to report it has not been taken off high rotation since the moment we loaded it on to the ipods! Fingers Never Bleed (opening track) and Devil and the Deed (track 5) in particular are fantastic. As good as anything from the first two albums and I think fans are going to be pretty happy once they get their hands on it.
Yeasayer were in Amsterdam last month and VP Music had the absolute pleasure of catching up with bass player Ira Wolf Tuton. Laid back, articualte and always entertaining - Ira was able to confirm Yeasayer are not in fact Interpol or Foster the People, he has never sold drugs to put food on the table (only to buy more drugs) and Fragant World is a Happy-Go-Lucky album!

Madonna - Let me feel the fiber of your fabric, after all we are living in a material world....

Madonna Ziggo Dome 7 July 2012

There was a time in my life that I would have said, and I quote “as long as my arse points to the ground, I will never go and watch someone like Madonna in a live show”.

Maybe I have matured (unlikely), maybe I have started to learn from my mistakes, or maybe, just maybe, I have realized that to have an informed opinion on something you need to have experienced it in some way shape or form? So therefore Madonna bound I would be.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Eddie Vedder - Carré Theatre, 25 July 2012

When you are an artist who can announce only a 6 concert European tour and sell out in the blink of an eye, you have to be someone pretty special.

The idea of seeing Eddie Vedder on his own at the Carré did excite me when it was announced. Maybe it is because growing up as a teen, I felt Eddie was singing to me. He, or rather specifically Pearl Jam seemed to write songs that I could really connect with. And although the years have aged us all, and I no longer have the Pearl Jam albums on high rotation, when I do hear a song I still feel a real connection to them.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Glen Hansard - An Amsterdam Triple Treat

Amsterdam – 23, 24 and 25 July, 2012

Usually to go and watch someone perform three nights in a row you have got to be a massive fan, or they have to be an amazing live act. This week I had the pleasure of seeing the magnificent Glen Hansard play three times, with each show getting more grandiose than the next. I use the word grandiose, but it would not be something I would use to describe Glen himself. He is charismatic, caring, thoughtful and a very emotionally interesting character. His songs tug right at the heart strings and his power can encompass a whole room.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Tallest Man on Earth, Paradiso 4 July 2012

On the 4th of July 2012, a music paradox occurred. Two potentially fantastic shows were being played simultaneously in Amsterdam; one being Metric and the other The Tallest Man on Earth. I had already locked myself into seeing TTMOE before Metric were even announced, as the last couple of times I had seen him had been phenomenal. That being said, the one time I had seen Metric was also very memorable and they bring a real energy to their performance.

So really the decision had already been made…..and back into the breach once more I would go, spending the evening watching just one man perform to a sellout crowd, in a performance that at times is like something bargaining for a soul…… Welcome to The Tallest Man on Earth.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Hilltop Hoods, Bitterzoet, 12 July 2012

When we spoke to MC Pressure of the Hilltop Hoods before their current European tour (HERE) and asked him about playing a smaller venue like Bitterzoet, he explained to us “whether it’s 50 people or a few hundred, it doesn’t matter, we’ll still put in the same energy, heart and soul into the show and we’ll rock it out. It’ll be good.”

The only part of this prediction that wasn’t on the money was that ‘it’ll be good’. This wasn’t just good, this was unbelievably good!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Yeasayer – Tivoli De Helling

Yeasayer – Monday 9, 2012 at Tivoli De Helling

When writing for VP Music, many people assume our life is full of backstage passes, VIP press cards and a backlog of free albums people are begging us to review. While this might not happen every day, every now and then the stars seem to align and we are given a pre-release of an album we are dying to hear, an interview with a band we love and to top it all off, our names on the door to a show we would have paid double to see.

These days are great days, especially when all three items involve Yeasayer. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – the Music and the Myth

Bitterzoet, 27 June 2012

What can you really say about the Brian Jonestown Massacre that hasn’t been said before?


Second only to Oasis, they have probably been the most publically belligerent and unstable band seen over the past 20 years. A reputation that was highlighted in the 2004 documentary Dig!, which showcased lead singer and guitarists Anton Newcombe’s volatile personality and the bands love-hate relationship with friends/rivals, the Dandy Warhols.

Although they have never made it into the music main stream, with more than 20 albums to their name they have developed a huge cult following over the years. This was demonstrated fairly accurately in Amsterdam, with Bitterzoet selling out reasonably quickly and the crowd on the night being pretty passionate in their love for both Anton and his band of talented misfits.

Even though I enjoyed the show, I am not sure if I can count myself in the passionate fan category. For me there were two main things I took away from the experience – the Music and the Myth:

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Jack White - Vote 1: Rock Star of the Decade

All kids want to grow up to be Rock Stars.

I don’t care what people actually say about wanting to be pilots or archeologists, or doctors or lawyers. Deep down, everyone wants to grow up to be a Rock Star. And deep down plenty of people grow up and, like me, still wish they were a Rock Star. If you don’t believe me go and have a look at the sales figures for Guitar Hero (1 to 57) and the demographics of who are playing it.

Unfortunately very few of us actually get to do it and maybe this is the reason why we all worship the ones who make it. As Paul Simon once sang, ‘every generation throws a hero up the pop charts’ and it is true that almost every decade someone rises above the masses and asks that eternal question; Are you ready to Rock?

It’s hard to say exactly where it all started but it is easy to say who first personified it – the King. Elvis took being a Rock Star to a whole new level. Over the following decades we had the Beatles and the Stones, followed by Zeppelin and the Clash. The 80’s were tough for rock but you still had AC/DC and Guns n’ Roses. Then there was of course Nirvana and Pearl Jam. But who has been our Rock God over the past decade?

I will put my vote forward as the unimpeachable Mr. Jack White.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

My Morning Jacket - 19 June 2012, Tivoli Utrecht

Is that a morning jacket, or actually a cape?

Have you been told of a million different ideas for how to get over jet lag? I sure have, but I am not sure that I ever truly believed any of them, that is until I stumbled across the idea of seeing a band (in this case My Morning Jacket) that I love, having a couple of beers with a good mate and then passing out to sleep.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Interview: The Hilltop Hoods

This week VP Music was lucky enough to talk to MC Pressure, one third of Aussie hip hop legends The Hilltop Hoods about their upcoming European tour, what it’s like to be on the road and what they have install for Amsterdam later this year!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Billy Bragg at Paradiso, 23 May 2012

I don’t want to change the world, I’m not looking for a New Amsterdam….

Numerous times I have heard Billy Bragg be described as a political singer song writer. After seeing Billy perform again, I have formed the opinion that he is not a political singer song writer but rather a man with a conscience and genuine desire for a better society. Ok, he does not shy away from giving his opinion, but it is at least an informed opinion based on a lot of real thought, and couple that with passionate emotive songs, and you have one hell of an entertaining show in the making.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Musical Debate: Can a band be greater than the sum of its parts?

Part II – the debate

Disclaimer - the following argument came out of the Bowerbirds show (see review here) that we recently attended, but has turned into something much bigger. Any examples using the Bowerbirds should not be held against them and the one show of theirs that I have seen, they just happened to spark the debate. And with that, on with the show....

As any proud Greek will tell, it was Aristotle who first came up with the idea that a whole could be greater than the sum of its parts. And while most of us have might not have looked at the study of metaphysics all that closely, we have probably come across similar concepts in high school economics or that intro to philosophy subject that seemed like such a great idea in fist year uni.

But can the same, or at least a similar idea work for music? And more specifically can a band be greater than the sum of its parts when performing live?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Eric Bibb - 27 April 2012, Amstelkerk

Eric Sang the Blues

When you have the opportunity to see a Blues Legend playing in a 17th Century European Church, you have a certain vision of the show in your mind. Let’s just say from the start, that the Amstelkerk was not quite what I was expecting.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Bowerbirds, Paradiso 9 May 2012

Part I – the review

When it rains it pours, or so the saying goes and over the past couple of weeks in Amsterdam this has been true both meteorologically and with the number of good lives bands on offer. However this week and next things have really dried up on the live music scene, although unfortunately the same can’t be said about the weather.

With this in mind we did what had to be done and picked the band that sounded most familiar and took the gamble to get our weekly dose of rock and roll action. Or in this case perhaps folk rock action.

The band was the Bowerbirds, and they were described on their 4 line Wikipedia page as a folk band from North Carolina (which is in the United States, as was thoughtfully clarified by the bands keyboarder during the show). It appeared to be an accurate description, as a 5 piece band took to the small stage at Paradiso with a revolving combination of guitar, keyboard, drums, piano-accordion, violin and cello.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Queens Night - 29 April 2012

Between Queen’s Night and another Ajax championship, this Sunday night was full of people in bars partying hard for the long weekend, however James and I chose to hit up the Melkweg to see some (more) live music. This was also my 4th gig in 5 days and sometimes on the end of that sort of run of gigs you don’t enjoy the shows as much as you might if you have been starved for a few weeks. So I crossed my fingers and waited with baited breath for the arrival of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (JSBE).

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Lemonheads - Tivoli, Utrecht

It's a Shame about Evan

A few months back I raised a question amongst friends that has bothered me for years - ‘is Evan Dando, main man of The Lemonheads, a musical genius or is he the luckiest stoner in music’? The question stirred strong debate but was never resolved, so when it was announced that he would be touring their break through album, It's a Shame about Ray, as part of its 20 year anniversary, a trip down to Utrecht to settle the debate was too good to refuse.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Andrew WK - Bitterzoet, 18 April 2012

"YOU DON’T KNOW ANDREW WK" exclaimed our friend at Mokum Groupie in bewilderment. She boldly declared that we MUST come to see his show and that we should not google or research him at all – just go, and experience, and be blown away!

So we did....

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Dandy Warhols - Melkweg, 25 April 2012

Are the Dandy’s still cool after all these years?

“I’m livin’ in the past, I used to be cool” proclaims Courtney Taylor-Taylor on Enjoy Yourself, from the new Dandy Warhols album The Machine. It’s a fantastic line and it begs an answer to the question, are the Dandy’s still cool after all these years?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Pete Murray (and Lior) Paradiso

Paradiso – 10 April 2012

The question of the evening: what makes a better performer - being a more talented musician or being able to write a catchier tune?

Monday, 16 April 2012

Florence and the Machine 1/4/12 @ Paradiso

Sunday April 1st and the most anticipated concert of the year to date had finally arrived – Florence and the Machine @ Paradiso.

On arrival, it became very evident that I was not the only one waiting with baited breath and high expectations. The line to get in was down the street and headed around the corner and out of sight. A scalper was selling tickets at 80 euro (36 euro original face) and was being inundated by punters willing to part with their hard earned cash.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Laura Marling, 18 March 2012 Paradiso

Laura Marling
Paradiso – 18 March 2012

Standing outside the Paradiso on a cold Sunday evening, I had a small moment of panic as to what I had got myself, and my friends into. Now don’t get me wrong – I Love Laura Marling. And in particular I really love her first album Alas, I Cannot Swim, which I can’t recommend highly enough. But apparently everyone else who loves Laura is 5-10 years younger than me, female and more hipster than a 9 Streets thrift shop.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Top 5 song lyrics that are anything but timeless

You often hear of art, and in particular music, being described as timeless. I mean Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor can be just as moving today as I am sure it was in the early 1800’s. Of course when you throw in lyrics it can be a little more tricky, which is no doubt why we see so many songs written about the ‘timeless’ topics of love and loss, and relationships in general.

But every now and then you come across ephemeral moments in songs that seem to date them almost instantaneously. Here’s my top 5:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Leon Russell - 22 March 2012, Paradiso

When deciding if I should head to Paradiso to see Leon Russell I found myself asking the question, how often do you get to witness an artist who has been inducted in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, play at Paradiso? The answer is not all that often, so when the chance comes up, take it with both hands.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

St Vincent: Rock Goddess in the Making?

St. Vincent
Melkweg, 29 February 2012

Two Aussies walk into a bar, on a Wednesday night in Amsterdam in search of a beverage and a band, and hoping for something they haven’t heard before. Let’s hear what they had to say:

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Dispatch: Melkweg 28 March 2012

There are some days when you think you've seen it all before and you know all the tricks. And then there are other days when you get introduced to a new world that you never knew existed.

On this night, that world was the small stage at the Melkweg and in it we found 500 people who were apparently the biggest Dispatch fans in the world. Until several hours before the show we had not even heard of Dispatch. But right from song one through to the double encore, these guys knew every word to every song and jumped and danced and screamed like this was the live music event of 2012.

The funny thing is, Dispatch aren't really the best band in the world. I have seen plenty of more talented musicians and I have seen plenty of bands that have sold more records. But sometimes it is good to be reminded that this is also meant to be fun. Everyone came to this show to have a good time, including the band and that is exactly what every single person there got. Good old fashioned, crazy, fun.

Dispatch: Open Up, with dance moves.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Cloud Control - 20 February 2012, Bitterzoet

Originally posted @

A Monday night show can always be hit or miss. At worst you have a lack luster crowd who struggle to get into a band that have been on the road so long they’re not even sure what day of the week it is.

But at best, it can pick a crowd up from its post weekend blues and get them moving and grooving, and forgetting about everything else that needs to get done before the next weekend arrives. Cloud Control did everything they could to get a good size crowd moving and it has to be said that for the most part, the crowd loved it.

Review: The War on Drugs

Read JV's The War on Dugs review @

The animated stage presence of Adam Granduciel, this is about as exciting as The War on Drugs got all night.