Friday, 20 December 2013

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Cat Power – Paradiso, 2 July 2013

About 10 years ago I developed quite an obsession with Cat Power, a.k.a. Chan Marshall, and in particular her album You Are Free. By no means had I stumbled across a new breaking artist, this was already her 6th studio album, but this album opened up a new world of sounds to me.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Vampire Weekend – Heineken Music Hall, 19 November 2013

I once read (and it was on the internet, so it must be true) that the boys from Vampire Weekend come from a part of New York that was heavily impacted by the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Although it did not impact their families directly, a significant number of kids in their schools lost parents and relatives. With enough pain and darkness already around them, their music had been a conscious decision to bring some positivity and enjoyment back into the world around them.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Laura Veirs – Bitterzoet Amsterdam, 7 November 2013

A no frills show that was as professional as they come.

Having done two consecutive shows at the giant box that is the Heineken Music Hall, it was really nice to be back at Bitterzoet. A place where they serve their beer in a real glass and where, no matter how far back you stand, you could still throw that glass onto the stage, should you feel the urge.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

De Wereld draait buiten festival, Westerpark 7 July 2013

Ok I don’t speak enough Dutch. Correct that any Dutch, but I do enjoy watching de Wereld draait door television program with my girlfriend and it is only one of a few that I do.

So when this show announced that it would be supporting a festival which included Vampire Weekend, at the park near my house, I jumped at the chance to go with both hands.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Bob Dylan – Heineken Music Hall, 30 October 2013

No reason to get excited, Bob he kindly spoke.

I have a feeling I was about as excited to go and see Bob Dylan as he was to be up on stage playing for me. That is to say, not a whole lot. I pretty much knew the songs he was going to play as he doesn’t change his set list much night to night. I knew some of the older songs wouldn’t really sound like they used to. And I knew he wasn’t one for crowd interaction or participation.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Imagine Dragons @ Melkweg, 2 November 201

Imagine if at every concert you could get to the bar with ease……

Alternative rock, or is it indie rock, it is hard to tell the difference I guess. But what I do know is that following the release of “Night Visions” in 2012 this band exploded onto the musical stratosphere and they may be here for a while to come yet.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – HMH, 4 November 2013.

We're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan, Designed and directed by his red right hand.

Would we be in for a performance from someone resembling a caged animal or would the evenings main performer be just exceedingly theatrical? And the answer was it would be both.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Charles Bradley - Paradiso Amsterdam, 24 October 2013

No this would not be Gnarles Barkley or Charles Barkley, this would be Charles Bradley, a man who is about to turn 65 and has only now just started to sell out shows. Maybe I have a soft spot for this kind of story, as one of my favorite artists of all time did something similar to Charles, in that his album and touring came to him in his later years. And just as he managed to "make the big time" he was shuffled of this mortal coil. RIP Ted Hawkins.

Monday, 28 October 2013

CHVCHES - Melkweg Amsterdam, 22 October 2013

Every online music magazine and blog I have read in the past few months has had one thing in common. CHVCHES are the next big thing and the hottest ticket in any town they find themselves playing in.

And so it was in Amsterdam when they sold out the small stage at the Melkweg in no time at all and already have a show at the main stage Paradiso lined up for early next year.

Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan - Highline Ballroom, NYC, 15 June 2012

In New Amsterdam or Old Amsterdam you couldn’t be disappointed with Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan.

Joe Henry; now that is a performer who I feel I could never do justice with an attempt to describe him.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Mountain Goats, The People’s Palace, Amsterdam 13 October 2013

I wish I was a good enough writer to describe to you what I witnessed last night.

I wish I was articulate enough to tell you about this show by The Mountain Goats and make you feel like you were there. To make you feel what I felt. 

If only I had the words to describe the unique texture and sound of John Darnielle's voice. Or even if I could use words like John does, as he introduced almost every song and made it come to life. It didn't matter if the song was about something as trivial as a computer game or as heartbreaking as the first morning after a break up - he engaged the audience as though it was both important that they understood what they were about to hear and also that they were entertained and amused by his dry wit and somewhat self-depreciating humor.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Jools Holland and the Rhythm And Blues Orchestra – Paradiso, Amsterdam, 13 April 2013.

A whole lot of Rhythm and not many people suffering from the Blues on this night in Paradiso.

What did I know about Jools Holland? Well for starters he was in the band Squeeze (or UK Squeeze for the Aussie readers) and then went on to front a TV show with Paula Yates (The Tube) and then after that his own show “Later….with Jools Holland”. On top of this I knew that he tours reasonably regularly with his band the Rhythm And Blues Orchestra, which has from time to time included some pretty significant players.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Best Kept Secret Festival, Tilburg, 23 June 2013

We walked into the festival "venue" in Tilburg and it started to rain, and I don’t mean just a couple of drops, I mean this was let's build an ark this shit is about to get real kind of rain. What this did do was force us straight into the first tent that presented itself to us. This then allowed us to see the last three quarters of the Black Lips show and they were cranking. They automatically reminded me of why I had wanted to see them play when the band line up for the day was announced.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The National, Forever Cemetery, L.A., 12 August 2013

You know a band has made it when their World Tour is announced and you receive not one, but four invitations to see them across the globe on the one day. In my case I received various requests to see them at shows in L.A., Helsinki, Amsterdam and London and I settled on the L.A. gig.

The first thought that I had when I knew that I was heading to L.A. was that I needed to get to a live gig in this town, I mean there is such a rich music history here that I needed to at least see one show there. I also wanted to see something at the famous Greek Theater or the Hollywood Bowl but alas this was not to be this trip. But where I did get to see a band was at a venue that I think my have been as infornatly spectacular and that was the Forever Cemetery.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Clash of the Amsterdam Titans - Rudeboy (& the Phantom Four) Vs Def P (& Beatbusters), Melkweg Amsterdam, 22 December 2012

Two legends in Dutch Music history collide.

How is my Dutch? Well the answer is rubbish, then what was my expectation for an evening of Dutch music icons? strangely pretty high. I will prefis the following description of the show with the fact that this is purely my interpretation of what occurred on the evening and no facts have been researched whatsoever regarding names of performers etc.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Avett Brothers. Tivoli Utrecht, 22 August 2013

An evening of ballads of love. And maybe half a one of hate.

Last time I got to see the Avett Brothers play in Amsterdam was at the Paradiso following the release of their previous album “I and Love and You”. The show was amazing (see JV’s Top 5 Shows of 2011) and they nailed every one of the songs, however the energy from the band wasn’t always evident.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Filter, Melkweg Oude Zaal, 29 August 2013

So I am not going to lie to you, I am not sure I would have ended up at the Melkweg watching these guys if I was left to my own volition. It took a mate to convince me to go, and when I say convince me, I mean he bought me a ticket and told me I was going.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Paradiso Amsterdam, 17 July 2013

I was excited to see this band, but to be honest this came out of no where. I was not sure at which point that the excitement switch turned on for me but it was certainly not when I did the obligatory Youtube the band moment, in fact as time after purchasing the tickets passed my interest and excitement began to wane and I found myself getting less interested in seeing them.  Then, the night before the show I found myself talking to two different people about what they liked about the YYYs. One (JP) the lover of the old albums and Angus the lover of the new, and then me, the lover of none. But the debate started to re-spark my enthusiasm and the day of the show JP came over to my place pre show and played me a few more songs and these were pretty good, and I was back on board.

Ed Kowalczyk, The Concertgebouw, 16 September 2013

I guess what I need to remember is that sometimes a gig is not all about me.

When I thought of what may be install for the EK gig at the Concertgebouw I had higher hopes and expectations than what would eventuate with the actual performance. But what I did love about the evening is that it highlighted what one “mans” disappointment, may also be another “women’s” enjoyment, we are all different and I am far from the gospel according to music. That being said here is what the show meant to me……

Friday, 5 July 2013

Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band, Nijmegen, 22 June 2013

It’s not every day that you get to see a master at work. A legend of the game. A rock god, doing his thing for 60,000 adoring fans. So it goes without saying that I feel pretty privileged to have seen The Boss live not once but twice over the past couple of months.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Kaiser Chiefs – Melkweg, 8 May 2013

Every tour we love you less and less

Back in 2011 the Kaiser Chiefs snuck into my Top 5 shows of the year and at the time I commented that I thought I may have missed the boat with this band. The previous tour they had played to a sold out crowd at the Heineken Music Hall, by the time I saw them in 2011 the HMH was looking half empty and come 2013 they had been downgraded to the Melkweg. And on the day of the show, it still hadn’t sold out.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Kurt Vile & the Violators – Paradiso, 27 May 2013

A Night of Lo-Fi Energy and a Dutch Giant.

It is not very often I need to talk Jason Vaughan into seeing a live band.

The conversation usually goes like this: 'Such and such a band are playing, I've heard they're pretty good'

JV: 'Sounds good, I'm in'.

Tonight however, there was some resistance for Kurt Vile & the Violators. The variables for attending any show are of course always Availability, Venue and Price - in that order. And tonight JV's live show matrix worked in my favor. He had nothing else on in a slow week of shows, it was at his favorite venue and the price was low.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Counting Crows - Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, April 16 2013

Was August and Everything After the greatest album of all time?

This may be deemed a slightly controversial or ridiculous question, and already I hear nearly all of you yelling out a loud "NO", but to someone out there maybe it was? I mean for me, I managed to play this album every day for over a year. So you tell me about an album you have done that with?

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Rosenberg Trio - Theater De Meervaart (Rode Zaal), Amsterdam, 29 March 2013

You show me how to control a wild f#cking gypsy and I'll show you how to control an unhinged, pig-feeding gangster. (Snatch)

Gypsy Jazz, who would have thought that I would really like Gypsy Jazz? If you asked me if I thought that would ever be the case 15 years ago, then I would have politely answered you and then have thought you had lost the plot. Over the course of the last few years I have been exposed to it more and more via people playing it live in bars, or listening to the Midnight in Paris soundtrack. But this occasion would be my first outing to a theater to witness some real Gypsy Jazz players.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Of Monsters and Men - Paradiso, 23 March 2013

Tassels, Top Hats and Trumpets; but alas no Triumph.

Reveling at the chance to see these guys play live again, I had already penciled in BIG win on this gig. This is always a dangerous starting position and the show ended up only being ok, maybe they had just set the bar so high last time that this was actually better than it felt.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Macy Gray - Melkweg, 21 December, 2012

Possibly too much of Amsterdam’s “Grey Area” time for Macy Gray?

When I was told that Macy Gray was touring following the release of her most recent record, a tribute album (or re-release) of Stevie Wonders “Talking Book” album to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release, I did feel a certain amount of interest in checking the show out.

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Monkey Men live at The Corner Hotel, Melbourne 17 February, 2013.

Minimal monkeying around, the Rolling Stones are serious stuff in Melbourne

I had been back in Australia for less than two days when Sunday the 17 of February, 2013 rolled around. This marked the 40th anniversary of the day that The Rolling Stones played the Kooyong Tennis Centre in Melbourne and the Melbourne music community wanted to make sure this moment in time was given the respect it was deserved.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Seasick Steve - Paradiso, 7 May 2013

So when someone tells you that Seasick Steve is actually 71 years old, it stops you in your tracks. Here is a man who is making fantastic music and riding an amazing wave of success after having spent a lot of time living on the streets, or at least not in a very wealthy position. And now here he stands (well actually sits) in front of you, as a bloke enjoying life to the full.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden - 4 May 2013

Riding out tonight to case the Promised Land.


In this heady Rock and Roll concert going life that I live, I have started to get to a point where there are not too many artists that I have a real longing to see. I am not talking about new artist who have jumped on the scene with a cracking album, or someone who a mate recommends because they caught them in a small club and they are about to explode. No, I am talking about greats of the music business. The Icons. So truth be told, maybe there is one or two rock icons still on my list still, but not many.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Cold War Kids - Paradiso, 1 May 2013

The drought is broken!

After an incredibly slow start to 2013, I finally have my first show on the board, and as always, when it rains it pours and I will now make up for lost time with 3 more shows over the next 6 days.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Alabama Shakes - Paradiso, 8 November 2012

Shake, rattle and roll.

2012 threw up a few gigs that I found myself having great expectations for, and the Alabama Shakes was definitely one of them. It was a band that by the day that the concert rolled around I was genuinely excited to see and could think of nothing else and couldn’t wait to get to the venue. When I arrived at Paradiso and was greeted by the sold out lights, this just added to what I was hoping for from the show.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Will and the People - Paradiso, 17 January 2013

My will was for reggae pop, but the people gave so much more.

Listening to Will and the People’s last album, I had thought it was reasonable to pigeonhole them into the genre of ‘reggae pop’, or at least something along those lines. However the reality is far from that nice little stereotype. They have so many more layers to them than just that one genre.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Jack White - Alexandra Palace, London, 2 November 2012

Night Number Two with a Rock Legend

Having seen Jack White once this year already and having loved every minute of it, I strangely didn’t feel the need to put too much presser on what the second performance would be like in London. And maybe that was because he had cut a gig short after 45 minutes somewhere in America because he “just wasn’t feeling it”. Put him in a room of heavily drinking Brits and who knows what could happen?

Monday, 14 January 2013

Leonard Cohen - Placio de Deportes, Madrid, October 5, 2012

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded, everybody roles with their fingers crossed.

Recently on a beautiful night in Madrid I didn’t need to cross my fingers and hope, I had seen the show previously, I just waited patiently for the timeless performer to arrive and deliver what everyone was else was hoping to see.

Friday, 4 January 2013

tUnE yArDs – 23 February 2012, Melkweg

The tUnE yArDs playing the small stage at the Melkweg on a Thursday night in Amsterdam, the music genre has been described as “Wonky pop” and the instruments used would be a ukulele, some drums and a couple of saxophones. You have to say that is worth a look on its own.

Lamb – 2 February 2012, Melkweg

Lamb proves trip hop and drum and bass is alive and well.

Is there anything greater then having your name on the door of a sold out concert?

Lamb caught me by surprise and sold out a lot quicker then I had anticipated. But lady luck shone on me, on a bitterly cold February evening and a ticket was produced at the eleventh hour.