Posts Tagged ‘amsterdam’

Allie Moss/Josh Ritter show
Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
May 3, 2010

It was a rainy monday evening and outside of BitterZoet in Amsterdam a long line of people was making its way into the venue. After some time everyone found a spot inside the packed venue and then, suddenly, Allie Moss was on stage. With relatable and personal songs as well as a friendly and spontaneous attitude she was able to connect to the audience who in their turn listened in silence respectfully and gave her a well deserved applause. The strength of Allie Moss’ music lies in the accessibility and relatability of the songs. With clear and empathic vocals she brings the song straight to the listener and live it sounds even better than it does on CD. I think Passerby was the song that stood out to me most during her short live set, maybe also because of the little story she told us before she played it. I’d seen her with Ingrid Michaelson before and I was very curious to see what kind of show she’d be able to put on solo. Suffice it to say that it was a most wonderful performance.

After her short set the venue filled up even more (it was sold out) and after everyone got their refreshments Josh Ritter entered the stage. He was smiling and seemed in a joyous mood. He went through a good part of his discography by playing many new songs but also many songs from his previous releases. Ritter showed to be a true artist and born performer. With ease he goes from an upbeat, funny folk & roll song to a very small and intimate little storytelling folk song. At one moment he’s showing the power of simplicity, how something so small can be so incredibly powerful and move you, and then the next moment you find yourself tapping or hopping along to an upbeat song that just sticks in your head.

Ritter exchanged stories and jokes with the audience in between his songs and from the first note he played the audience was captivated. On the more serious and intimate songs you could hear a needle drop and during the sing along songs you could hear clapping and singing from the audience. There was a great balance and great atmosphere in which both artist and audience were able to shine. There aren’t really any songs in particular that stuck with me as standing out, but that’s only because the performance as a whole was one big highlight. Though the Springsteen cover The River was definitely a version to remember.

After Josh Ritter finished his regular set he got a standing ovation and it was more than deserved. Of the current generation of singer/songwriters he is most definitely one of the top talents. And this show in Bitterzoet confirms that 100%.

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Arthur Adam – Awake
April 16, 2010

We know Arthur Adam as a strong songwriter and unique vocalist. His songs were moody singer/songwriter with a good tension build up and very personal delivery. On this new album “Awake”, however, we hear a fuller and rounder sound, much more typical for a band than a singer/songwriter.

Because the nature of the album is so different from his previous work it is not quite fair to make simple comparisons to it. But while this album is different it also has a lot of things in common with Arthur Adam’s previous work. The songwriting is still key. It’s the basis on which the music is built. Sometimes you stumble upon band-versions of singer/songwriter, and in many aspects, Arthur Adam fits that bill.

Take a song like Dividing A Spider, which, in its melodic songwriting very much has a singer/songwriter basis, but because of the cohesive and convincing performance of the song it gets a much richer and fuller sound that makes the song not only exciting but also adds to the potential of the song. The pointy and catchy She’s A Mystery is a pure powerpop song that just makes you want to move along. And then on a song like We Feel Sad, there are traces of the moody singer/songwriter again and then as it builds up more and more intensity is added to the song and it becomes almost anthemic. For me it would have been the ideal closer, even though the 60s-esque First Impressions is an excellent song.

There is such a wide variety of qualitatively strong songs on this album that this album is bound to get a lot of positive feedback. It also has a more approachable and accessible sound than you would expect if you know Arthur Adam’s previous work. It’s a good mix between a more mainstream sound and a more indie sound. Built on excellent songwriting, “Awake” is an album that convinces from the first note to the last and is going to draw in fans and music critics alike.

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Sandy Dane @ Bitterzoet
April 16, 2010 – Amsterdam

Imagine a beautiful spring day in the middle of April. The sun is out, you’re enjoying a drink and listening to some sweet, melodic pop music and you feel good. That in itself could be a review for yesterday’s events. It all fit perfectly together. But lets get into a little more detail.

A few years ago, Sandy Dane suddenly had a radio hit with Peace, Love & Icecream, a cool, bubbly pop song that fit right in with the summery weather. It was a long wait for her official debut “Beautiful And Ugly” but the day has come and on this friday night in April, Sandy Dane is presenting her new album to 300+ people in a well-filled Bitterzoet in Amsterdam.

There were a lot of familiar faces and the response to the new songs was very good. I talked to a good number of people, many of them, in some way, involved in the music industry, be it as radio professional, freelance journalist or in the business side of it all. And without exception they all seemed to think that Sandy Dane’s debut album has a lot of potential. I am absolutely agreeing with that opinion. But I’ll get more into that when I review the album.

So lets talk performance. The show started a little late (sign of a real musician?) and despite a few technical difficulties (not sure but I think one of the amps was a little funky at the start) the music did all the talking. From Beautiful & Ugly to One Way Ticket, Sandy Dane showed off her impressive vocal strength and the musicians that accompanied her on stage knew exactly how to bring out the best assets of the songs. I haven’t quite memorized the setlist, but Sandy basically played her whole (or at least most of) new album.

Some of the songs that stood out to me were the single One Way Ticket, which is an absolutely perfect choice for the radio, with the catchy sing-along chorus. Also, This Heart of Mine & Lay Down were played and sung perfectly. I like how these songs show a little more emotion and give Sandy Dane a little more singer/songwriter feel than just your regular pop singer. It adds to her musicality and to her personality, which is an important factor for a live musician. The two songs that stuck with me most though were Mr. Painoman & Sunday Sunshine. Both songs could easily be released as radio singles (especially the latter one) and suited Sandy’s vocals very well.

Of course it was an official album release show, so the album had to be presented to Sandy. One of the rising stars in radio land, Domien Verschuuren of Dutch radio 3FM came out to present the album and congratulate her on a job well done. The two knew eachother for some time and this led to some funny banter on stage that put a little bit of a comic note on the evening. After that she played Lay Down & One Way Ticket as an encore.

All in all it was a very pleasant night with a very friendly atmosphere and excellent musicianship. Both musically and in presentation of the music, Sandy & her band showcased talent and potential. Of course this is only the beginning of the journey but they already figured out how to go about it. If anything, they will only continue to learn and grow along the way and I imagine sooner rather than later, Sandy Dane may very well become a star, not only in her native Netherlands but also across the borders. The style and general sound of her music lends itself very well to be popular in countries like UK, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Australia, Canada and even the US. And who knows what happens then. But for now, Sandy Dane should just be proud to have released a solid debut album with a lot of (radio) potential and enjoy the success it is going to bring her. Because with her enthusiasm and tenacity, and a kind, personal approach to her fans, she is bound to find success very rapidly.

The album release in Bitterzoet was a great start and a very entertaining event. I enjoyed it very much, as did many others. So thank you Sandy Dane, and thank you to your band. And I’ll see you again at another show. Enjoy what’s coming and good luck!

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Noblesse – We Are Not Humanity
Release Show – March 12, 2010

Between 8PM and 8:20PM suddenly the show started with the band starting to play and not much later, dancers appeared on the floor of the Melkweg in Amsterdam, coming from all corners. I don’t know much about modern dance but the combination of the conceptual art rock of Noblesse and the interesting choreography displayed by the dancers was a feast for both eyes and ears.

They started with Detrimental one of the ‘catchier’ songs on the album. (not sure if catchier is the right word, but I can’t think of another word that fits). The vocals were hard to hear for a little while, but the sound tech solved that very quickly and then the show really got underway.

While the music feels like conceptual art rock it doesn’t feel forced or too complicated. It’s deep and it provokes, it’s challenging, but it’s not distantiating. It has interesting melodics and emphasized rhythmics, musically. Which is one of the reasons this show was so suited to be incorporated with dancers.

Noblesse basically went through the whole “We Are Not Humanity” album while the dancers did their thing. Sometimes also, there was time for a little ‘story time’ where in a very amusing way we were slowly introduced into the music and dance again. There was use of visual effects (including the floor itself!) and props and this made the whole event much more interactive for the audience also.

Noblesse is one of the better kept secrets in music. And last night they proved they know how to treat their fans to a fantastic show. It was impressive, it was original and it was just damn good! Their new album is available through bandcamp, be sure to get it, it is very, very, very good.


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Diane Birch @ Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
March 4, 2010

Bitterzoet Logo

My day was already pretty good when I got to Amsterdam. Tried to see if I could get into Bitterzoet early (it was still between 6pm and 7pm) to see if I could talk to the musicians themselves, maybe persuade them into setting up an e-mail interview, but the door was very, very closed. So I decided to come back later and see if I have time afterwards. Made my way to my favorite Irish Pub in Amsterdam to kill some time with Kilkenny’s (no pun intended).

So then I made my way back, door was still very closed, but more people were waiting. As time went by we were wondering if they were ever gonna open the doors, haha, but they did. So everyone got in, found a spot and waited for the show to start. It was supposed to start at 8:30PM but it ended up starting around 9:20PM instead. The stage was really low, so it was hard to see sometimes, but Diane and her band put on a very splendid show. It was done in about 45 minutes and then another 10 minutes for encore. Which wasn’t such a bad thing for me, since I had to make my train to get back home. So unfortunately there was not much time for talking to anyone, but I had a good time.

Diane and her band played most of the songs off “Bible Belt” (an album I would highly recommend to all of you!). For me the highlights were Rewind and Ariel. She also did songs like Fire Escape, Fools, Valentino (crowd favorite), Magic View, Forgiveness and several others. And another absolute highlight was her cover of Haddaway’s What Is Love?. A very, very solid performance by this gifted young lady and her excellent band.

I was very impressed and somewhat surprised by how comfortable she was on stage and the ease with which she connected to her audience. This girl has stage presence and killer vocals. If she’s playing a show near you, you might want to check your calendar, cause it really is worth it. I went in just appreciating her music, but I came home a fan.

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After 7 years, Lifehouse returns to the Netherlands

Thanks to Gianna for providing the video!

The whole adventure started on tuesday as I was picking up my Portuguese friend at the airport in Germany. The next day we made our way to Amsterdam and met up with all our other friends from all over Europe. We hung out and waited in line from 3pm up until doors opened. It was cool when they waved to us, but too bad they didn’t come out to talk for a few minutes. I was already severely sleep deprived but with enough chocolate, coffee and adrenaline, who cared? Singing songs in line, meeting new people, catching up with old friends and having a good time alltogether, it was not so bad at all. It was also kinda cool that Jimmy Alter talked to a few of my friends for their website.

So then doors opened, mayhem everywhere, I just took it easy and brought my jacket to the vestibule. My friends were holding my place at the stage anyway, haha. (I love my friends, they rock!) then valerius, who were a little strange at times, and while they are more of a summer band to me, they sounded pretty decent. They just need to learn that Portugal and Den Bosch does NOT sound the same, haha.

Then Lifehouse was there, yeehaw!, from circus tune to Everything, it was one hell of a show. Musically it was great, but I think I might have seen them do even better pure musically. But when it comes to stage presence and connecting with the audience, they have grown immensely and this is probably the best I’ve seen them do to this day. I think my highlights were Spin, AIEGFO, Wrecking Ball & Blind. I think especially Blind was performed with near perfection. It was funny when I saw Jason & Bryce chuckle about our Simon sign (which we slid next to the setlist). Unfortunately they didn’t play it. But to speak in the words of Lifehouse: “And if [we] fall and crash & burn, at least we both know that [we] tried”.

At one point this guy was working his way towards the stage, passed a note on to Ben and then Ben showed Jason and he asked something like: “This is for real?” And then he was like: “Who just gave this note to our guitar player? You got something to say? Come on up here!” So then a bald guy climbed on stage and Jason told us he was gonna take over for a few minutes. He then invited his girlfriend on stage and asked her to marry him. And of course she said yes. It was very cute how it was all spur of the moment/makeshift. He didn’t even have a ring yet, but at that point he figured this was the opportune moment cause his girlfriend really loved Lifehouse. Good for them 🙂 We talked to them afterwards and they seem really nice people. I wish them all the best!

We waited around, bought Smoke & Mirrors and talked to Winnie (head of the crew) who actually remembered me from the two minutes I talked to him in Massachusetts in 2007 (good memory!). Got a chance to thank him for giving me a few of Jason’s guitar picks back then 🙂 He didn’t know if or when the guys would come out, so after a while we had to go outside and figured we’d wait there since they had to come out sooner or later. But they must’ve snuck out right after the show, cause no one saw them and even Winnie (who was the last of the Lifehouse people to leave) had no idea where they went. He didn’t know where they were, didn’t have a place to sleep yet and didn’t have a phone on him. That was insane. But he’s such a kind person. We talked to him a little more and gave him some stuff for the band that he promised to deliver 🙂 I hope he figured things out last night.

We then made our way to our stop for the night (which was a whole other adventure, lol). But all the memories are something I will remember for many, many lifetimes.

Thank you to everyone I met yesterday and helped to make this experience as memorable as it is. I hope you all had a splendid time. I know I did.

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After a hiatus of 7 years, American mainstream rockers Lifehouse return to Europe. Their success has grown in the US & Canada, as well as in certain areas of South East Asia, but in the meantime Europe and other international areas stopped hearing from the band alltogether. Where they scored hit after hit in the US, the singles weren’t even released in most countries in Europe.

But things are about to change. In late february, the band visits The Netherlands & Germany for promotional gigs and scheduled two concerts in Germany (Cologne @ Luxor – Berlin @ Frannz) and one in the Netherlands (Amsterdam @ Melkweg).

Tickets are bound to sell out fairly quickly, so don’t hesitate too long if you intend to attend the show(s).

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