zondag 29 maart 2015


March 28th, 2015. A sullen rainy Saturday in Amsterdam. One of those nights where gloom and misery seem to be cloaked around every hunched body dragging itself along the streets. What better time to dive into one of Amsterdam's rock n roll caves and immerse oneself in a full on stoner onslaught of four great bands from the low lands of Holland and Belgium?

The rock n roll cave in particular this time is Winston Kingdom, at the heart of the Red Light District.  First band of the night is Nauseahtake, a local lot from Amsterdam, playing a sludgy style of experimental improv stoner layered with spacey synth sounds. Great build ups make you long for enormous explosions, but the four lads excel in teasing and only rarely does a climactic thunder sear through our souls. But they deliver their music well, and with ferocity. Great band, and I look forward to hearing more from them.

Next in line is The Fur from Belgium. One look at their guitarist Jens Hugo is enough to ascertain the kind of music they will play: psychedelic seventies stoner. The guy definitely looks his music. The first few songs are very promising and take you on long and windy road. Unfortunately the road doesn't seem to be leading anywhere in the end, and the band starts to get lost within their own music, resulting in a messy second half of the show. Props for the banana marketing they did though. Handing out banana's is always a good idea. As The Fur states themselves: Not Enough Bananas.

Then it's time for Mantra Machine to take the stage. Tonight marks the vinyl release of their 2014 album Nitrogen. At least that's what the flyer for the shows says, because the lads of Mantra Machine themselves seem either to shy to tell the crowd who they are and which album everybody should buy tonight, or they just only give a shit about playing their music and screw all else. Their music warrants enough reason to buy their albums anyway, because their psychedelic instrumental space jams transcend the earthly planes and leave you begging for more. The bass lines especially are rad beyond the extreme. Go see them when they are around.

Last up is Yama, Tilburg's finest. I've had the pleasure of doing an interview with them some time ago, and it's great to see they are not only still going strong, but going even stronger still. After a long period of delay their first full length finally saw the light of day in late 2014. Their album Ananta can be considered as one of the finest pieces of Dutch stoner history already and their live shows add some extra raw quality to the songs. Tonight some technical difficulties mess up the first song a bit, but as soon as the bass is fixed the Yama freight train is on its way and cannot be stopped. Unsuspecting people in the front turn into rabid fans straight away when Yama sinks its fangs in their throbbing throats. Singer Alex Schenkels delivers his sermons in a most convincing manner, while Peter Taverne tests the foundations of Winston with his grooving bass lines. Guitarist Sjoerd Albers commands the Vedic deities with his riffs of mythic proportions, while drummer Joep Schmitz just about brings down the entire house with his relentless pummelling on his kit. During the title track of Ananta, everything seems to fall in its right place and all the gloom and misery of the beginning of the night evaporates in an effervescent cloud of joy. Far fucking out, man.

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