Tag Archives: Amsterdam

Hayseed Dixie at Amsterdam Paradiso

I’m something of an awkward bugger when it comes to concerts. Having worked in a venue (Wolverhampton Civic Hall) and also being a person who likes to hear the vocal at a concert, rather than getting caught up with the whole “I don’t care what it sounds like I’m just happy to be here” piffle that seems to be acceptable behaviour these days, I always arrive at venues sceptical as to what it is which I will encounter. Last night was no exception.

Needing to take a boat for a 2 minute trip across some water to get to the Tolhuistuin version of Paradiso was a new experience, but it was fun, if a touch cold. The venue itself was pretty much the perfect size for the band. So what of said band. In truth, I think a lot of us were there for the giggle factor of seeing Motorhead’s Ace of Spades and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody played on a banjo / ukulele. We were not disappointed.

Hayseed Dixie Amsterdam

Watching how these guys play their instruments really is something of a joy to behold, and their coordination befits the quality of the original songs chosen by the band. Offered up for our enjoyment were Hells Bells, War Pigs, Paranoid, You Shook me all Night Long for starters, played with vim and vigour, style and substance, and an entertaining amount of banter, some in German, most in English and all with a sense of humour that showed they knew exactly how to play to the audience.

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They even managed to slip in some science to the set, and I don’t just mean they demonstrated chemistry! Mention of Godel Escher Bach (a book I actually own by Douglas Hofstadter) gave me, if no-one else, a good chuckle in reference to how styles and songs can be linked intrinsically, inevitably, to evolve from X to Y, and I suppose the irony wasn’t lost that what they as a band are doing is transposing literally the music, into a different key, to suit its new genre. The concept made me smile and the fact that they said “We mention this in case there is anyone out there who will be writing a review…”, made me think of self referential sentences from Hofstadter’s Metamagical Themas.

Hayseed singer


So, in short, the music was good and the music was loud. And the singer turned and he said to the crowd : Let there be rock…. and there was, albeit a slightly bastardised type of rock, something less edgy and perhaps slightly more stringy, but yet still with the content to make you come away feeling energised, invigorated, and with a big daft grin on your face.

I’ve been to a lot of concerts, ranging from Saxon, Iron Maiden, Therapy?, Radiohead, Meat Loaf, Metallica, Megadeth, Disturbed, Deep Purple, Steel Panther etc to Ani Difranco, Hazel O’Conner and Blackmore’s Night. I think only way back in 2005ish after Papa Roach have I come away feeling better about what I’d seen. The quirkiness and enthusiasm matched with the set containing Comfortably Numb, Eye of the Tiger and the anthemic We’re not Gonna Take It just made for a brilliant evening.


Hayseed Dixie Amsterdam

 If you get the chance to see Hayseed Dixie, I can only say this. Do it! I was worried the giggle factor would wear off after the first few songs. It didn’t.

The Sisters of Mercy Melkweg Amsterdam review

Well, I’d waited an awful long time to hear The Sisters of Mercy play, and having just got back from the concert in Amsterdam I’m pretty much still waiting to hear them play. Ok, maybe that’s not fair, as the band themselves were good. The music was fine, it was just the audio. Oh gods the audio. The mic appeared to work perhaps 40-50% of the time but there was an underlying noise which at times rendered Eldritch completely incomprehensible. 

Songs like Temple of Love… if you didn’t know the words, you’d’ve never in a million years have made out a single lyric. I paid 50euro for a ticket where the singer was basically pointless, but should have been the main focus. I can watch anyone play the music, I wanted the audio, Eldritch, but the sound was so intermittent that, had I not been with my wife (thus bringing the cost up to 100euros) I would’ve left after maybe song 6.

The thing is, the band who opened for Sisters, had a decent enough sound. All lyrics were understandable, and we go to the venue often enough to know it’s not the venue’s issue. A swift look at concert reviews for the last couple of Sisters gigs all say the same thing.. the sound… the sound… it’s soooo bad. So… i have to assume it’s the sound crew issue, and I wonder if no-one has had the courage to say “Hey guys.. this is shite!”. 

I wanted to enjoy this concert, I really did, but when you have only one song (and we had to wait until the encore for it to pop up) which had a vocal quality which I deem acceptable, it was simply impossible to do it. 

If you’re planning on seeing the Sisters, and you’re the type of person who would rather have not gone than go and be so disappointed at the quality of the sound that you regret being there…. I have to say… don’t go. You’ll ruin the idea that they’ll be amazing, and it’s something which I can’t un-hear. 

And Eldritch himself…? When you could hear/understand him, he sounded fair enough but you simply couldn’t hear/understand him most of the time. Looked energetic too. I bought a shirt to support the band, but I can only hope that, if my dotage comes early, my memory of this concert is one of the first to go missing. 

Troublegum Therapy?

Ah it should be a good night tomorrow! Heading up to the Melkweg in Hamsterspam to see Therapy? do the full Troublegum album! Songs that came from the Cheshire Cat nights in Nantwich still manage to stir fond memories but this album got me through some rough times in the years since then. Looking forward to it!

I guess I can say I’ve seen Meat Loaf do Bat out of Hell, Hazel O’Conner do Will You, Fish do Sugar Mice, Deep Purple do Black Night, and Blackmore do Child in Time, oh.. and The Mission do Butterfly on a Wheel, and will now be able to add Isolation and Brainsaw to that list!

I wrote on a verrry old site my top 10 songs were : “Child in Time, Will You, Bat outta Hell, Fake Plastic Trees-Radiohead, Butterfly on a Wheel, Breakin the Law-Judas Priest, Whole lotta Rosie-AcDc, Romeo and Juliet-Dire Straites, When a Blind Man cries-Deep Purple, and Supermans Song-Crash test Dummies”, so I’m not doing too badly. Having seen Radiohead a few years back I’m glad they never played Fake Pastic Trees… because frankly they were awful!

Have had a couple of crazy nights out and let off a bit of steam in the last month. I suppose life here was getting to me a bit and I needed to go off pop! Tis out of my system now, ejected reasonably forcefully, and I think I feel better for it. Combine that with a windfall of Hobgoblin beer, now mixed in with Pedigree, Banks and a selection of other real ales in bottles and this makes for a more relaxed me again.

Trundled off to see Es’s Grandparents on the weekend. They seem well and Gran is especially, how can I put this, ummm… aware that he is alive and can have an opinion on things! I like it! She’s alive and seems to still be enjoying that fact. I think if we spoke the same language we might get on, or at least be able to discuss things with equal vehemence depending on the subject! Tis good to see the interaction with Es. As for her parents, since I decided to see how long it would be before they came round instead of me going with Es all the time there, well, they’ve not bothered to show their faces. It is still crazy that my sister has been in the house more times in the last 2 years than Es’s parents, considering Su is 1600kms away and they are 30kms! Coming up to Xmas it still baffles me how they can be so distant with her. To me.. she deserves their respect enough for them to be interested in her world. She deals with it, but I know it smarts, and that annoys me.


And so to bed I think for me! Here’s hoping tomorrow in Amsterdam is fun!