Eurosonic Noorderslag 2014

This picture of Birth Of Joy guitarist Kevin Stunnenberg may very well be the best picture I have taken at Eurosonic Noorderslag of this year. Their show at the Jack Daniels Barn of Eurosonic was pretty impressive as well. Very loud and in your face. Just the way a Rock show is supposed to be. There is a full report in Dutch of everything that my chief editor Mark van Schaick, my colleague Ernst-Jan Jonkman and yours truly have seen right here on the Gitarist website, but through this way, I’d like to share a few extra words about the festival with you. I have, after all, seen some very interesting things. Here’s my findings on some of the things of which my photos have been published on the Gitarist website. Before any of you who know me ask: yes, I thoroughly enjoyed De Staat – more on that later – but the photo included is not mine.

Some time ago, I interviewed Dudettes drummer Ingrid Lodewegen for Slagwerkkrant. She’s a cool lady and their music is something special within the Dutch Rock landscape as well, with Cynthia Weiss’ huge, The Edge inspired guitar sound definitely being something else than the sixties and seventies revival heard with most Dutch bands at the moment. Eurosonic finally provided me with an opportunity (quite a few actually) to see them live and that was the first of two goosebumps moments at the festival. The chorus to their song ‘Please’ had been stuck in my head for many days after the festival and they’re just a joy to see live. Singer Zjoly Onrust has an honesty and sincerity in her presentation that I can’t help but love. They played to quite a full house of people even at dinner time on Thursday and that’s only a testament to their impressive music. Debut album ‘Subconscious’ is recommended to all fans of catchy Rock music.

More goosebumps were caused by Navarone. They opened the second night of Eurosonic Air quite surprisingly with the atmospheric Rock ballad ‘December’, which is just so moving that only a robot can remain completely untouched by it. The rest of the show consisted of mighty Led Zeppelin inspired riffs and soulful grooves reminiscent of The Black Crowes. Merijn van Haren has a high, powerful wail that fits this kind of music perfectly. Navarone knows how to use sparse psychedelia, but that never distracts from the actual songs. The week following the festival – now, basically – the band would return to the studio to record the follow-up to their brilliant debut ‘A Darker Shade Of White’ and two songs are played from that album. Both sounded really good and very trusted. Like a groovier version of the debut.  Navarone is simply one of the best Rock bands we have around in the Netherlands and they have proven themselves more than worthy live. ‘The Wander’ and ‘The Red Queen Effect’ have irresistable choruses.

The CBK hall at the Oosterpoort wasn’t exactly the best place to take photos because of the relative lack of lights, but that did add to the atmosphere of the My Baby show. For me, this band was the most pleasant surprise for me. Prior to the show, I had only heard a fragment of a song and they were announced on the festival website as a Soul group. Their brand of Voodoo music, however, seemed to come right out of the swamps of the southern United States and did remind me of Dr. John’s ‘Gris-Gris’ a little. My Baby isn’t quite as New Orleans though, opting instead for a subdued sound of Delta Blues riffs and dark, shimmering grooves with Cato van Dyck’s powerful voice soaring above that. Definitely a band to check out more often. They have embarked on a world tour, so if you are an international visitor interested in this awesome band, be sure to have a look if they play around your area. They’re well worth your time.

I have professed my love for Black Bottle Riot on this weblog before. These guys are probably the best Southern Rock band we have in Holland – quite possibly in all of Europe – and both their riffs and songs just kick ass. Okay, so they’re not completely a Lynyrd Skynyrd, there’s a little too much Thin Lizzy inspired, muscular Hard Rock around, but it has the blue collar attitude and power to at least thoroughly satisfy the average Blackfoot fan. And the awesome twin solos! These guys know how to create a party atmosphere as well. Playing right after De Staat, Black Bottle Riot’s performance was sort of a Nijmegen Rock afterparty and they did that with flair and conviction. A pretty cool warm up for the actual afterparty they will do at the ZZ Top show in Amsterdam’s Heineken Music Hall in June. At least this show caused me to leave the Oosterpoort satisfied. And if you’re anything like me, it’s impossible to not like songs like ‘Trying Too Hard’, ‘Rocky Road’ or ‘Bright Light City’.

More on Eurosonic Noorderslag in the March issues of Gitarist and Slagwerkkrant. If something else pops up online, I’ll keep you informed!

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