Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bic Runga - my review!

As announced in the last issue of Klauw (number 11), we went to the concert of Bic Runga in De Melkweg in Amsterdam. We're talking about last week, the 23rd of September by the way. It was such an awesome singer-songwriter performance that I thought it would be wirth writing a special review about this, besides the regular reviews I normally write about the nights in Savanna we organise ourselves.

It was quite close to the fact that we had something to do with the organisation of this event, because when we heard about the gig she was doing in De Melkweg, we tried to book Kat for a support act. This wasn't really going the way it should normally do. First we tried to contact De Melkweg, because that is the place where it normally gets organised from... (dûh) When I called, nobody could tell me who I needed to contact, so they told me to call again the day after. When I called again, they refused to put me through to the programmer, which came as a total surprise to me, because I had contact with them in the past this way without any problems at all. Probably a new person at the reception there. So I wrote a mail. Within a few hours I got a reply from the programmer, and he told me to contact another person (oh no! not again!), named Andy Sceats. Andy is a Kiwi, and he was organising this event, like he does more often with New Zealand related related events. When I asked him to book Kat as a support act for Bic, he was really enthousiastic in the first place. Though, he had promised the spot for another Kiwi already. He promised me to stay in touch, and he would try to make it all possible. Until about a week before the concert was on, I managed to get in touch with him again, without any luck. The spot was taken, but we (Kat and I) decided to go there anyway. In the past months / years, I started liking songwritermusic more and more. I have no f**king idea why, but this teknoboy is turning into somebody who likes this kind of music. You would expect that Kat dragged me over the line, but it's more the other way around with this gig. I really wanted to go, and i had quite a high expectation of the night as well. After everything i heard and read about Bic Runga, it had to be something special.

When we finally went on the train to Amsterdam on saturday, we were having some fun with the photocamera. I was a bit scared that we weren't allowed to bring the camera inside, but that didn't seem to be a problem at all.

The supportact was provided by some other New Zealand guy, but i forgot his name totally. He was quite good in my opinion, but the sound quality was a bit disappointing. This was mainly because this guy totally forgot to use a feedbackbuster in his acoustic guitar, right in the middle of a dunno-how-many-kilowatts-pa-system. Besides that, as soon as Bic hit the stage, i totally forgot about him, and i haven't been thinking about him either during Bic's performance.

A Really small lady came on stage, with a beautiful voice, even though she was having a major cold. As a solo artist for most of the gig, apart from one song, where somebody was guiding her on the piano, she played like there were four guitarplayers on stage. She was so quick with her fingers that you didn't have time to guess the chords she was playing. I was expecting some backing band, from what i read on the net, and in several reviews of other gigs she did this summer in Europe. Nevertheless, it was still advanced enough to miss some parts of her songs. I had the impression that I was being sucked up in her playing. I almost forgot to take some pictures.

Funny thing is, that Kat was also really enthousiastic about it, but a lot less than i was. I totally understand, because i know that this isn't her favourite kind of music, and taken in consideration that it is sung in her native language, makes it another bit less interesting.

When the gig was over, it was kind of short, at its maximum an hour but probably less, we drunk another beer before we left. Back in the tram we were evaluating the night and came to the conclusion that it would have been a lot cooler with the "promised backing band" (that guy from Dimmer for example, and some other expensive famous artists from New Zealand).

Back at central station we decided that we deserved a reward for our hard working (everything for the press off course ;-)), so we ordered some junkfood and another beer for on our way back to The Hague.

See you next time,

Jaap ( & Kat )


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Savanna - Songwriting and Dining, Part Eight!

Theres a last minute change to the program this week, instead of Martijn, Ric Henry will be performing! Its also a partial open mic, so everyone is welcome.

Friday, September 22, 2006

From the V.I.P. Seats... (White Sands & Barbara, Sept. 21st 2006)

Tonight was supposed to be one of the most disastrous ones ever since we’ve started. When I got there, I was about to take a short walk to the coffee shop around the corner to get some stuff for somebody else. (hash) At that point, Roger, one of the waiters (coincidentally a kiwi too, just like my girlfriend) ran outside after me with a phone in his hands. It was just a regular wireless landline phone, so the reception was totally shit and I couldn’t hear a single thing on the line. So I walked back, all over the square to Savanna. When I got back inside, I found out that it was Barbara, who was going to be late. Okay, when you hear such news, it stresses you, for a few minutes, until you realise that it’s no problem at all.

Okay, so I got the shit, rolled a joint for the person who asked me to get it, and after a few minutes Barbara arrived. At the moment Kat and I noticed her fantastic outfit, we realised that we have forgot to bring the photo camera. So I went back home to pick it up. Racing off course, on my bike. Racing for two reasons, the first one was that I didn’t want to miss a second of White Sands. The second, and much more important, was that it was almost getting dark and I haven’t got any light on my bike. On my way back, you can guess, I got held over by one of those penguins. For some reason he was in a good mood (or I looked so poor), so after a warning, he let me go. As soon as he was around the corner, I jumped back on my bike and turned my bike into flight mode.

When I got back to Savanna, it turned out that I’ve just missed the first verse of their first song of their first set. Damnit, all that stress for basically nothing. White Sands, as appearing tonight, is a fantastic musical duo, with great skills and great songs. Shame that there were way too many instruments for the minimalist stage in Savanna. Neither for the PA set there. I haven’t seen that many channels used on Savanna’s mixing desk before. All together, it was really hard to get a good sound out of it, but we managed to make it acceptable. Even though we had a lot of feedback on the microphones, nobody seemed to complain. We decided to play the sets in an ABAB order, what works best for both the audience and the artists.

I was really surprised about the amount of people that turned up tonight. We are used to have about 20-30 people inside, but tonight this amount suddenly doubled. I guess it had something to do with the extreme mailing I’ve sent out this week. HannekeLaura, another songwriter I’ve met a few weeks ago in Savanna was there tonight as well. I introduced her to Kat, talked a bit about the ideas for our possible compilation CD.

When White Sands finished their set, and moved their dozens of instruments a bit out of the way, it was Barbara’s turn to play a set. Barbara is working pretty hard on her musical career, and it's showing. A year ago, I saw her play in De Maatschappij. There she managed to get the audience’s attention, but tonight, people instantly started dancing. After quite a short run, because time was running out, she got White Sands back on stage again. Maybe they should have adjusted their set a little bit, because people were paying attention, but not actively listening actively. It was definitely another great set, but it wasn’t amazingly better than the first one.

In her second set, Barbara got even more people to dance during some of her songs. Additionally, she borrowed the double bass of White Sands; I hope I was just in time to take a picture of that rare occasion. In the end, it was definitely the most successful Songwriting and Dining session so far in Savanna.

Be sure that you don’t miss next week’s session, with Katbite (Kat Leese) solo with Martijn Aleksander. Besides that, we will have a open mike session, where, depending on the amount of songwriters that show up, every songwriter will have a little bit of time to play some live material out of their repertoire. HannekeLaura is the first one who has confirmed so far. If you want to be sure of a space on that night, let us know in advance, so we can reserve some time in the schedule.

From the V.I.P. seats... II

Like i should do on a weekly base, which i “forgot” to do several weeks already, I’m reviewing the nights at Savanna. Last Thursday, Jesse Edmond and Mak Wolven played in Savanna. If you think that songwriter music is alternative, you could be right. Jesse is a really special case. With an international touch, he plays his own songs in the purest possible way. A while ago I saw him perform with a drum computer, but a few weeks later even with a notebook on stage. This Thursday we saw him without any electronical equipment, just purely with an acoustic guitar. Though it is still rhythmic as it was with the computers guiding him. With a very own style, he manages to get the audience to listen. His interesting way of playing makes you have to listen on.

Practically the same goes for Mak Wolven. To be honest, I haven’t seen him play before, but the more it was a surprise to see him. Fanatic fingerpicking with surprising lyrics. Even funny lyrics sometimes. In Savanna, I still have a little bit the idea that there aren’t that many people, but face it, it is on a Thursday, throughout the week, and concerning that, it is even quite full halfway the evening. Not too many people dining, the more people having a drink and paying attention to the music being played. Again, this songwriting & dining session was something I wouldn’t want to miss.

Cheers, and till next Thursday,


Monday, September 18, 2006

Barbara and White Sands

Barbara Breedijk is a singersongwriter from Amsterdam. She is very busy at the moment, with both the Popronde and the Grote Prijs. Ive seen her live 5 or six times, and she deserves to be there too. Her songs are fresh and jazzy, and she if you are lucky at the end of her set she will throw in some improv. You can check out Barbaras website or check out her profile on the Grote Prijs site, where you can also vote for her. Or you can check out this or this article that she has written for the Klauw magazine.She will be gracing Savanna with her presence on Thursday September 21. The music starts at 8pm

Also on this night is White Sands, a name heard alot round the Hague. They have played in America and Canada, and been on the Crossing Border festival here in Den Haag.

One thing is for sure, the standard of the musicians on this night is going to be phenomenal!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This Thursday in Savanna

This Thursday you will find Jesse Edmond and Mak Wolven playing in Savanna from 8pm until 11pm - be sure not to miss it!

For more information about the artists, you can find an interview with Mak here, and you can find more about Jesse on his website

Your music on a podcast?

For those singersongwriters who want to get their music out there and listened to by more people, I have a couple of tips for you in the world of podcasting.

Firstly, the Klauw podcast, which is presented by the same people who organise this guild, is a sporadic yet humerous look behind the scenes of the Klauw magazine, and other things to do with music and thinly related topics. Every episode Kat and Jaap play a couple of musical tracks to break up their intense conversations, which would otherwise be overwhelming and cause implosion. So if you would like them to play some of your music on their podcast, you can post your cd's to this address:
Den Haag Songwriters Guild
Wolmaransstraat 365
Den Haag
The reason that they are requesting for CD's rather than mp3s or picking it off myspace is that they will be playing CD's from guild members inbetween acts in Lokaal Vredebreuk, and Savanna, and any other places which come up, including festivals.

The second tip I have for you is to sign up at podshow music. After you have joined, and uploaded your tracks, they will be available for the podcasters to listen and choose for their shows. I signed up about 6 weeks ago, and I have had different tracks played on 6 different podcasts already! So its a great way to get your music out there. You probably wont make any money out of it, but if you are looking for promtional tools this is one I would recommend. You can see exactly which podcasts have played you and when, so you can check it out, and I have been contacted by the podcasters asking for more information about my music, so they can talk about it too.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tricky Theatre Season starts again

Two years ago I had a period of two weeks where I had no job... oh what bliss.. sadly it didnt last and I was catapulted back into an office in no time at all.. but in those two weeks I had a great chance to thoroughly search out what was going on in nooks and crannys of the songwriting world in Holland, one of the places I came across was Tricky Theater. I got Jaap to make a phonecall, we got given a date to play straight away, and recommended that I pop along to a night beforehand to know what to expect. So Jaap and i jumped in the car (yes, he had one back then.. ah the good old days) and sped off to Amsterdam.
Beside Central Station, right on the water, first you walk past the Botel, the smaller Chinese restaurant, and parked beside is a smaller boat.. the Tricky Theater. And Tricky it is, looking from the outside you wouldnt realise how super-gezellig it is on the bottom deck... we were greeted by Woody, the owner and resident magician of the craft. Merel was the host of the evening, and she started off the proceedings by entering on a stage that came out of the roof.. so it was legs, legs and more legs, then Merel herself, strumming on an electric guitar with one of her typically sunny, sarcastic songs.
The Valkspoeler evenings are intimate and humerous- taking the form of a radio show, with jingles in between, and a fast pace - 15 minutes per singersongwriter ensures that you are never bored. And the last time I played there myself, Merel had a little gameshow as well. Hans does a great job of the sound on the small boat.
Definatly recommended for a good night out in Amsterdam - the food is fantastic, if you are lucky Woody will get up and do some majic tricks during your meal. Even the menus have a great sense of humour!
You can also check out videos of performances by going to and searching for Vlakspoeler.
This upcoming Thursday the next season kicks off, so September 14 if your in Amsterdam or close its definalty worth a visit

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thursday 07 September - Julie and Merel