Friday, November 24, 2006

From the V.I.P Seats - Lokaal with Slau and Lucky Fonz III

On this stormy night, almost reminiscent of the kind of weather we SHOULD be experiencing round this time of the year, Lokaal was a little quieter than it had been on past weeks. But the line-up still managed to attract a decent crowd of interested listeners. Slau, a three-piece formation headed by Jeroen van der Wiel, presented a repertoire of original Dutch songs and also some interesting hertaling (interpretations) rather than vertaling (translations). Jeroen has re-written the lyrics of these songs himself, and he has done an impressive job of it. Songs such as Ring of Fire, One (an up-beat version that leant more towards Johnny Cash than U2), Careless Whisper, all cleverly done. The set opened up with a trio of local interest songs, Scheveningen, Den Haag and then a song about the Dunen (sand dunes) that link the two "cities". Then they launched into the parodies mentioned above. They finished off with a Dutch classic, or so I gathered from the amount of singing that was going on from the audience. The band sounded good together, the balance between the instruments was good. The keyboard player was impressive, as he picked out chords, sang backing harmonies and played percussion with his free hand, simultaneously. There was a definite sense that the band were enjoying themselves.

The interaction between the two acts this evening was really great - both singers threw sarcastic comments at each other from the stage, Lucky Fonz snag heartily along with the last song from Slau, and Jeroen made jokes about being Lucky Fonz's opening act.

Lucky Fonz played two sets of round 25 minutes each. His finger picking style and folkly sound immediately reminded me of the performance I saw from Jane on the Roof a few weeks ago. In fact this seems to be a sound particular to the Amsterdam singer songwriter scene, as Den Haag tends to have more Americana-based artists, Amsterdam keeps sending us these very fragile, folk finger picking artists, evoking more of a medieval feel. It's a hazy world of dreamy idealism. I don't want to start making any broad generalizations, but it is something I have noticed. Lucky Fonz bravely took the stage with confidence, following a band, which demands the highest level of poise from a soloist to be able to pull this off. He asked the audience to move closer, and they did. He was particularly insistent that I keep a constant eye (or ear) on the PA, to make sure the vocals were clear and intelligible at all times, and that the guitar wasn't too loud. A musical perfectionist, you could say. But an enthusiastic musical creature, with a bright clear voice and an innately innocent yet sincere presentation. He sold a couple of his CDs and I left him enjoying a drink at the bar afterward with his sister, apparently satisfied with the evening. It was his first ever gig in Den Haag and will certainly not be his last.


PS. All the images of tonight, and some shots of our super-cute kittens can be viewed here, if you want a full resolution picture of one of them, e-mail us!

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