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Posts Tagged ‘bitterzoet’

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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Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away
May 4, 2010

This is Josh Ritter’s 6th studio album and I feel I can just keep on saying the same thing over and over again. Because on “So Runs The World Away”, Ritter once again proves he’s one of the better songwriters out there and that he is very able to release an album with heartfelt and intriguing songs.

The album sounds very current, both musically and lyrically and is very accessible for pretty much everyone. The overall sound of the album is a little richer (especially in the arrangements) than “Historical Conquests” but the subtleties in the arrangements and the singers/songwriter nature of this artist is never far away. The sentimental The Curse is a a great example of how a musical arrangement can create a mood. Ritter’s vocals can easily, almost literally, breathe life into a song like that.

And Ritter continues to excell on this new album. For example the groovy, almost dark Rattling Locks is an unexpected masterpiece, which Ritter effortlessly follows up with the americana gem Folk Bloodbath. There are more excellent songs on this album (listen to See How Man Was Made and Long Shadows) and once again Ritter delivers on an album that deserves to make many ‘best of the year’ lists.

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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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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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