Blues Pills @ Blues Express 2016, Lasauvage Luxembourg

Blues Express has now been happening for a number of years, and the location is fairly unique, around 10 stages spread over 2 old mining locations. Tiny streets, and a sea of people. No direct access, and thus a logistical nightmare which was felt quite nicely at the end of the show, when the shuttle busses could just not keep up with the demand, poor planning or something unforeseen? It sure looked like something was wrong as the busses came with such irregularity, and were so overcrowded, that by the end we decided to hoof it, and from the next intersection call a cab. But still a very fun night! But now let’s get to the important part of the evening, the Blues Pills who took the Bofferding stage around 21:30, and opened their set with High Class Woman. The live power of this band is just apparent right from the start, as is their joy of being on stage and playing! All of them wearing a smile for the majority of the show! Elin was dressed in a black 1 piece and black boots which she had taken off before the first song was finished! I love when people dance barefoot and thus connect more with the world around them! A little softer ground and less pebbles in front of the stage and I’d have done the same! I think when they started, the place in front of the stage was not quite packed, but by the time I turned around again, shortly into the second song it was filling up nicely! Considering the smiles I saw on my friends’ faces, I knew they were enjoying it as much as I, and the band! The sound was not ideal for the first few songs, being fairly heavy on the bass end, and the rest being a bit drowned out, but even this did not take away from the fun, and enjoyment of this band! Blues Pills are an excellent live band, and the joy and energy you get from them, makes up for the sound troubles, but I hope they will eventually find a sound tech that is as amazing as they are, and thus make them an even better live band! Because with the exception of the crispest possible sound, they have it all, great stage presence, energy, pure power, musical talent, great songs, and not too forget, the power of Elin to front the whole thing! She is just an amazing singer, she hits the notes spot on despite whirling around the stage like a Tasmanian devil, and the ease and pleasure with which she takes command of the crowd, is breathtaking!  She just seems so natural and in her place up there it’s amazing, and she is just quite charming, in the way she speaks with the crowd.

Unfortunately I did not jot down the setlist, and did not find it online either, but it was a solid mix of old songs, a few new ones, and a couple of covers!  For me the absolute highlights were Black Smoke, Little Sun, Lady in Gold (which actually gave me goosebumps from beginning to end), Ain’t No change, Bliss (just love the Swedish version, no clue what she is singing, but it sure feels like bliss?), Astralplane, and of course Devil Man! For Devil Man which was their last regular track of the night, Elin invited the crowd to sing along, and to my surprise it actually sounded fairly loud right from the beginning, and again at the end, when she alternated a gnarly “Oh Devil Man” with the crowd. The absolute highlight of the evening for me, because it was also the biggest surprise in the setlist was their cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to love”. Elin announced the track saying that they would now play a cover that we would recognize, and it was only the second time they played it, and that she hoped they could do the song justice. Well at least in my humble opinion: FUCK YEAH! Not only did they do it justice, they made it maybe even a tad more powerful than the original, and with their rendition just blew my mind! I sure hope they’ll release a live recording of this song sometime! Just WOW! Following Somebody to love they played the aforementioned Devil Man, and then left the stage about a quarter to 11, and thus a little early. They came back under loud cheers, despite the fact that the sound guy already played some other song, and played us their version of Gypsy! I sure could have listened to them for a lot longer, but yeah it was over after this! On the good side it left us elated but yeah on the bad side, it was over. Just a mindblowing gig, and I for one look forward to seeing them again! The crowd seemed to enjoy the gig a lot overall, and there were lots of cheers, and even some dancing which is fairly rare in Luxembourg. I must have bumped into a few people, as two older gentleman, when they left demonstratively bumped into me, but you know it’s a rock show, and when you dance sometimes you touch someone.. so I just looked at the second one, and said, no problem, just peace! To which he did smile after all, so all good.

Following the Blues Pills, we walked around a bit, listening to a band here and there, but nothing was able to measure up to the performance we had just seen, so we decided to head home.. This is where the logistic chaos became apparent, it was about 12:30 so the festival was supposed to go on for another 2.5 hours, but a lot of people apparently either wanted to head home or change sites, and the busses just did not keep up.. it was so bad we even saw some fighting breaking out in one of the busses, and then decided to take the train, but this was already sold out long before the last ride at 2am.. So we just decided to get another drink and walk up hill to the next intersection and call a cab to take us back to the park and ride.  Besides this, which I imagine has to be a nightmare for the organization of the festival right from the start.. I mean get around 10-15’000 people to a festival and back by bus, on tiny streets is no easy feat, the festival is a very gnarly event, and well at least if Blues Pills play is more than worth a visit!

Blues Pills

Thievery Corporation at Jungle Jam; Jaco, Costa Rica

Thievery Corporation at Jungle Jam; Jaco, Costa Rica

So, after a few months in Costa Rica, I finally made it to a concert!  The first of an international band at least that is, saw a few local bands along the way, but nothing major.

The Venue was quite nice, located inside of the Doce Lunas Hotel’s Garden, so that was indeed quite nice. On the downside, Jungle Jam turned out to be a full American Festival so to speak, from the organizers down to the staff at the bar, not a single Tico seemed involved, and in the crowd there not a lot more, if there were a dozen locals it’s a lot. Not really surprising considering the average wages in Costa Rica and the ticket prices. Although there were Tico tickets available for the whole weekend at 125$ that remains unpayable for most people down here. No single day tickets at a reduced rate for locals, and the normal price was 60$, so not something a local could afford. Even to me, 60$ was a lot, which is why I only went for 1 day.

I arrived at the venue rather late, and the first act I caught a bit of was Michael O’Brian, who play his Ukulele on the side stage, and made for some nice entertainment to start my evening.

After that on the main stage there was Papadosio, a sort of Jamband with a lot of electronic sounds. At times they sound excellent, and suck you right into their groove, unfortunately for me those were the rarer moments of the show. As good as some of the sections sounded to me, others just did not sound “right” to me, meaning that the music was so overfilled with sounds, and rhythms that to me it sounded a bit mushy..  Overall, a decent band, but nothing I would travel far to see.

Next on the side stage there was Hayley Jane, a duo with a guy on guitar, and female vocalist, who had a quite nice voice! And the performance was well received!

Finally it was time for Thievery Corporation whom I was actually at the festival for.  They took the stage a bit later than announced, which I consider normal over here at this point in time. They had a full band set up, and actually I counted a total of 14 musicians for their set, among which were 6 different vocalists, my favorite of which was Natalia Clavier who sang Lebanese Blond among a few others, one of my favorite tracks, and they played it quite early in the set, so my mood was all set. The band did seem to have a great time on stage, and seemed to be happy to be in Costa Rica, and in such a nice location, with the Jungle as their backdrop.  The set including encores lasted about 1 hour 45 minutes, which I felt was a reasonable length for the set, and atmosphere. Here is where the problem of an Americanised festival in Costa Rica comes into play, for example they played one song in Spanish, and tried to get the crowd to join, however only few actually understood Natalia’s Spanish invitation.. So that sort of failed to work out. Overall, the crowd seemed to suffer a bit from the heat and humidity as there was not too much dancing or cheering going on. In my humble opinion, making tickets at least affordable for locals and marketing a bit to them as well, rather than trying to fill up on tourists, would do the event some good! It would sure make for an even better atmosphere, and maybe give the whole thing a bit more of a Central American vibe, the few locals, and Central/South American visitors were visibly the ones having the most fun, and dancing the most as well..  Don’t get me wrong, Thievery Corporation delivered an absolutely stunning performance, and pulled all the stops for a great show, which it was, but a bit of a local flair from an organizational point of view would have perfected the whole thing.

Overall great show! And great way to celebrate the spring equinox. Not sure it was worth the 60$ for 1 day, as there were not even food stalls on the festival site, but fun nonetheless. In the near future however I am not very likely to go to another festival around here, I think I’ll rather go to some local reggae shows, which even though the music is not all the time in my taste, simply have a better vibe.

Thievery Corporation at Jungle Jam

Thievery Corporation at Jungle Jam

jungle jam Papadosio

Terres rouges Festival - Esch sur Alzette 09.09.12 with Therapy and Tricky

Terres rouges Festival - Esch sur Alzette 09.09.12with Therapy and Tricky

We got to the venue around 5 pm, luckily through a friend we had been upgraded to VIP tickets, which gave a nice touch, providing free drinks and food. Shortly after checking out the VIP area, we saw a few friends sitting outside, and next to them was Tricky, so I did not miss the opportunity to say high, and thank the man for his music, which I have liked since Maxinquaye.

The first Band I actually caught most of, was Joshua, which was a lively mix of electronics, reggae, blues and hip hop, so quite worldly music, overall not bad, but for me not focused enough!

Next up were Eiffel a French band, that we caught only from far away, as most of us wanted to fill up on food. Eiffel play a solid rock show, but nothing too fancy either. On my end it was too early for food, and I preferred to heighten my buzz, and added some rhum and coke to my smoking routine.

At 20:45, Tricky took the stage, and although the sound was not all that, overall the performance of the songs did kick ass! The short time that the band spent on stage was a good show, while covering Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, the public was invited to the stage, which looking at how some people behaved (and from the looks of it annoyed Tricky a bit), was not the best idea in a festival setting.. The really good thing as with most Tricky shows, was that the songs are rarely played in their album versions, and as such become much trippier and even better flowing! As with most concerts I did quite a lot of smoking, and used about 6 of the 12 prerolled joints just at the Tricky show, so right along the lines of the music! Very disappointing was the fact that after only 50 minutes they left the stage without an encore, and still 10 minutes available on their slot.. Their was only a small crowd for most of the festival, and yes a 1 hour set is by default to short, but then it would have been essential to at least use the allocated time fully. Other than that still a solid show, but too short, and the sound was not as crisp as I am used to from past Tricky shows!

At 22:15 Therapy? Took the stage, and even though I haven’t listened much to them since the 90’s, I have to say the put forth a good show, and although I have moved on from their music, hearing a few of the older songs did bring back a few fond memories! Andy Cairns did not strike a positive note with the attendees either when he compared Luxembourg to Northern Ireland in the sense that they are both small countries surrounded by bastards, nothing wrong with the comparison, but as usual in Luxembourg a lot of the people probably came from those surrounding countries .. Overall their set was quite short as well, though they used their allocated hour fully.

Considering the price of only 15 € this was certainly worth it, the downside was the sound which was neither ideal for Tricky nor Therapy?.. But we still had fun!

Sonisphere Festival - France with Machine Head, Marilyn Manson, Meshuggah, and Faith No More !!!!! 07.07.12 Galaxie Amneville

Sonisphere Festival - France with Machine Head, Marilyn Manson, Meshuggah, and Faith No More !!!!! 07.07.12 Galaxie Amneville We got to the venue around 16:30, as we were in no rush, we smoked a few more in the parking lot before heading in… The venue was not bad at all, the second stage being an outdoor stage, and the main stage inside the Galaxie.

The first gig we attended was Machine Head on the main stage, which was a solid rock show, I had not listened to them for a while, and they were not bad, although as far as the sound goes, it could have been better, a bit less volume might have helped on the over-steered front…

I heard Combichrist on the second stage from afar, and what I heard did not pull me any closer.. We headed back into the main hall just before Marylin Manson took the stage… And although I like a few of Manson’s album the show at Sonisphere was miserable at best! The sound was shitty as hell, vocals were often not discernible at all, and Manson looked as though he was bored at best, the rest of the band did not seem to be having much of a good time either.. In my humble opinion Manson is done, maybe has been done for a few years, unless with a future album and tour he can get back to such intense performances as on the Antichrist Superstar tour in the 90’s.. The most extreme and shocking act performed was Manson stabbing a self-portrait…. At least we used to the time to get higher, smoking spliff after spliff.

We watched Meshuggah from a bit further back, not wanting to miss a second of the FNM gig. But Meshuggah was the first sign of hope for the day, delivering their metal in a most powerful fashion, with a crisp and clear sound!

Back into the main hall for Faith no More! The stage set up was all white, even the roadies were dressed all white; stage decorations were lots of flowers, perfectly fitting with this year’s tour poster the “Death Notice”. They opened the concert with Woodpeckers from Mars, to which I had to light a joint right away, and what an opening it was, at this point everyone was on stage except Patton. From Woodpeckers they went into covering Tom Jones’ Delilah ! As the rest of the band, Patton was dressed all white, whit the addition of a hat, the now seeming obligatory cane, and what looked like a red satchel.. On to Land of Sunshine and Caffeine at which point I was totally losing my mind, rocking out my soul.. A little chill out with Evidence, all in a perfectly crisp and clear sound, unlike most of the previous acts, Faith no more actually also has a sound tech that is a professional! When it came to digging the grave, I could not hold back anymore, I looked at my friends, and motioned forward towards the mosh pit, as around us people were not really losing their minds, I moved forward and F. joined in the fun as well! What a freaking boiler room the mosh pit was – almost as hot as FNM back in the summer of 97. After Last cup of Sorrow, I was about ready to collapse, wet from head to toe, as was the band. They did a zen meditiation on stage, but of course it was a Faith No More meditation, and as such was an absolute mind blow! The fact that I was smoking more weed sure helped as well. Roddy Buttom told the crowd they came out of San Francisco, and that that shit (the Zen meditation) really works! To which Mike responded if it did not, this would sure do the trick, and they performed Spirit! This blew my mind, as I had never seen them perform this one! Then came Epic, which as always was epic! Midlife crises followed, and as during the last years, it was an altered version, broken up by a C’est la Vie cover, back into Midlife Crisis! A really great performance! CUCKOO FOR CACA, another mind-blowing song, where Patton’s voice is used in full, or is there even a limit to this guy’s vocal performances? To me unquestionably one of the greatest vocalists ever! They ended Cuckoo with a noisy jam that lead right into Ashes to Ashes! Sadly then Patton announced the last track and asked the crowd to enjoy the shit out of it! And the band delivered another stellar rendition of Just a Man!

They came back for an encore, which they started with Ugly in the Morning, where the crowd lost its mind and the moshpit grew exponentially really fast! Finally a show where they did not all have a stick up their ass! Next was Easy, followed by Why do you bother / Niggas in Paris, what a fitting end for a show in France!

At some point, not sure when Patton asked what other bands the crowd had enjoyed, saying that Meshuggah is a good band right there.. And not understanding much else of what the crowd said, gave us a short: oh fuck you and into the next track. Patton humour.

Overall the performances of the day were not all that, but Faith No More sure pulled the boat around! Those guys kick ass! And they do so more intensely and powerfully than most current so called heavy bands! Despite their slightly more advanced age these 5 guys rock their souls out, and a lot of other bands sure could take that as great example of what it is to be a rock band! STELLAR PERFORMANCE! Should this be the last time I saw Faith No More it sure was a worthy one! but I sure hope they’ll keep touring! And anyone who has not seen them should do so NOW! Also a massive thumps up to Faith no more’s sound tech! That guy was the only one with a handle on the venue, at least for the indoor stage all day! Crisp and clear, not too loud, but powerful!


WERCHTER BOUTIQUE: Metallica - Soundgarden - Mastodon - Channel Zero - Gojira - Ghost: Werchter, Belgium may 28th 2012.

WERCHTER BOUTIQUE: Metallica - Soundgarden - Mastodon - Channel Zero - Gojira - Ghost: Werchter, Belgium may 28th 2012. We arrived a bit late, so we missed out on Ghost but made it up to the front for most of the Gojira set, which was quite fresh and heavy! Followed by the local Belgian heroes Channel Zero which got the crowd moving a bit, I saw at least one Mosh-Pit that looked right! But Channel Zero is not entirely my cup of tea, so that was not for me.

Mastodon pulled of a very solid, rhythmic, and heavy set, but was largely underappreciated by the crowd, who sadly seemed to be focused solemnly on seeing Metallica, and thus ignored some great and heavy music!

Soundgarden, was a risky move on the bookers side, but one that I for one massively appreciated! And Soundgarden thanked their few fans in the crowd with a really cool setlist that you would not expect as such at a festival show. It was not a best of show, but it was a kick your ass show! They focused on their older albums, which was gnarly, but the crowd, unfortunately did not know what happened to them, and confirmed that they wanted only Metallica, which is sad, looking at the great musicians on stage being ignored by people that for the most part can’t even play an instrument. All I can say is respect to Soundgarden, as my friend B. put it, not only are they heavy, but they also sound good! Here is a link to the setlist: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150978826935600&set=a.496741280599.301895.271730225599&type=1

Metallica started their show with a clip from an old Western, which was a nice intro! They started of their set with ‘Hit the Lights’, and ‘master of puppets’. ‘Ride the lightning’ and ‘for whom the bell tolls’, followed by the newer ‘hell and back’. Then Metallica left the stage, to start a short video with a few facts and figures about the ‘Black Album’, and they opened the show with the last track from the album ‘the struggle within’, and proceeded to play the entire album backwards. Fortunately people got a bit loose with Metallica being on stage, but even though the Black Album as well as Metallica’s performance were still as good as on the “where we may roam” tour in 1993, the crowd has lost just about all of its’ power, its’ rage, its’ readiness to rock! We got a small moshpit going a few times, but there were but a few people joining us. Long gone are the days where there were 4 or 5 different pits at a single show, at the same time, nowadays, you’re lucky if you have 1 or 2 small pits in a crowd of 70’000 people.. Metallica are pros, and they worked the crowed well, getting them to sing here and there, but the crowd was overall relatively lame (at least those in the black circle). My personal highlights were ‘Of wolf and man’ as well as ‘sad but true’ . They ended the show with an all hit encore: ‘Battery’, ‘One’ and ‘Seek and Destroy’. Overall for me still a very satisfying experience, and a great show, but I do miss the madness from the older days.

Here is a link for the setlist, as well as some pictures from Metallica: http://www.metallica.com/tour/may-28-2012-werchter.asp