Wild Young Minds: July 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We're on the road for one month!

Tomorrow morning Avalon and I are taking the train to Paris. Yes, for real. One month Interrail, we'll just keep rolling under the stars.
No seriously, we're heading south, cause if the sun doesn't come to us, we have to come to the sun.

This is our schedule: Paris - Lyon - Bern - Florence - Rome - Bari - Corfu - Rimini - Ljubljana - Zagreb - Budapest - Munich - Frankfurt
A summer of love, peace and happiness. At least, that's what I hope. This also means a month no blogging, but I'll make that up next month with lots of pictures and stories of our journey.

I wish you all a lovely month and hopefully you'll have a bit of sunshine as well!

north sea jazz part III

And then the last day had already arrived. Loaded with energy from the good breakfast we ordered at the camping (bread, cheese, ham, an egg, juice and coffee) we headed to Ahoy again. It was raining men, so we had to wait for a little while. We couldn't wait to see the last artists of the weekend. A few of them we had already seen last year but that didn't matter, we loved them and that's all that counts, right?

Firstly, we went to see The Kyteman Orchestra. Of course I knew Kyteman, especially from the song 'Sorry', which is a brilliant song by the way, but I didn't have any expectations. No good ones, but no bad ones either. Eventually it turned out to be one of the best concerts I have ever been to. What an ambiance, what a sound, what an energy.

Kyteman, who is a young Dutch musician, really is a genius to me. As fragile as he looks, he manages to lead an entire orchestra (which was really big) and in that way, produces a gigantic bombastic sound which blows everyone away. The hour we saw him, we saw millions of different things. Rappers entering the stage, French rappers, classical music, real jazz, a jam session (for about ten minutes they improvised about everything they played). Yes, the beginning of the day was set.

Next up was Waylon, who is also a Dutch artist. We saw him two years ago at North Sea, and after that another time in our region, and I really like his sound. He's the first Dutch artist that is signed with the legendary Motown label. His sound is country, rock and soul.

Again he was amazing, he looked a bit more classy and smart this time (I prefered the way he looked last time, a bit more messy, but of course that's not what it's about at a concert). He played a lot of songs of his newest record, 'After All', and he did that in a great way. I also loved his band, especially the guitarist gave a few powerful solos.

After Waylon, it was time for one of the artists we had looked forward to most: Janelle Monaé. We had seen her last year at North Sea and she gave probably the best show I had ever seen. She did that again this time. Though almost everything was the same as last year: the costumes, the acts, the songs and even the fact that she stagedived and made everyone crouch, she was fabulous again.

I sang every song along, from her own songs like 'Cold War', 'Sincerely, Jane' and 'Come Alive' to the covers she did, like 'I want you back' and 'Smile'. I have so much respect for her, she is so real and she has her own style and way of behaving.

After our dinner, which was really a pizza, but it was delicious, I had one with tuna, we headed for the concert of D'Angelo. I knew D'Angelo mainly from his song 'Brown Sugar'. He was famous in the nineties and since then not a lot has been heard from him.

D'Angelo was almost an hour late, so the audience (including us) wasn't very happy. At one moment, everyone was booing and so the ambiance wasn't really good. Eventually the man showed up and we decided to give him another chance. He was much more chubby and tough looking than I had expected him to be, I thought he was more the type: pretty boy. Anyway, his voice was still marvelous, real nice and soft.

At last we saw a little act of Maceo Parker, but we decided to go to Aloe Blacc, who is more uptempo. I knew him as well only from one song: 'I need a dollar', but his other songs were really nice too. Yes, I had a great time. And I swear we (that is: me and Aloe Blacc) made eye contact for, well more than one time. He was probably thinking: what is her problem? But it was really nice anyway ;)

We stayed as long as we could because we were so scared we would feel extremely depressed when we had to leave. A weekend of music, peace and freedom. Like Bob Marley said: 'One could thing about music: when it hits, you feel no pain'. And that's so true. Eventually the exhaustion took over and we went back to the camping. But it was a fabulous weekend (I just love that word) and will be back next year. For sure.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

north sea jazz part II

Day 2 had arrived. Feeling a bit more energetic again (thanks to 8 hours of sleep, quite a lot during a festival weekend if you ask me) and full of adrenaline, we rode to Ahoy last saturday noon. After a quick stop at the supermarket because we had the fabulous idea to buy food here because that's much cheaper and so we ate the most delicious yoghurts.

Since the program of saturday afternoon wasn't very spectacular, we made a way through the festival area and then decided to see Trijntje Oosterhuis. Trijntje Oosterhuis is a Dutch singer, she has a very strong voice and fortunately she only sang songs in English (she also made a few Dutch songs but I'm really not into Dutch songs). She did look a bit old and she didn't sing all the notes completely flawless.

Around 6 o'clock we planned to stand in line for an autograph from James Morrison but that wasn't very easy, cause he decided to come half an hour late. I almost took off (I'm quite impatient as you will know if you know me!) but right at that moment he came. Though I'm not a gigantic James Morrison fan (not at all actually, I do like some of his music) I couldn't say no to the opportunity to have his autograph.

We saw him perform a bit later and he gave a good show. I was glad he did a lot of famous songs because I always like to sing along ;)

We also saw Esperanza Spalding, a beautiful dark afro-headed singer, who also plays about every instrument there is. She plays the contrabass, the violin, the clar, the guitar, et cetera. And her voice is amazing as well. We stood up front and had a great time but unfortunately we had to leave earlier for the next concert. Thank god we saw her perform 'Black Gold', one of my favourite songs of last year.

We experienced a little bit of Rufus Wainwright but then decided to already go to George Benson, so we would have a good place as well. George Benson played with, among others, the legendary Miles Davis, and is one of the best jazz guitarists in history. I knew him from his songs, especially 'Give me the Night' and 'On Broadway'. Even though the man is almost 70, he played funk like we were still in the seventies.

Last but not least was the concert of The David Murray Orchestra featuring Macy Gray. Ramai and I are crazy about Macy Gray, we saw her perform at North Sea two years ago and she rocked us all away. We were hoping for a reprize. We even missed Betty Wright for it (which, as we heard later, was one of the best concerts of North Sea Jazz 2012) and we stood very close to the stage.

It took a long time till Macy came on stage, we had to hear a few good, but not really my kind of thing, songs of the orchestra first. When Macy Gray came she was dressed in a fabulous glitter dress and looking as one of a kind as ever.

We were there the entire concert but she didn't play a single song that was her own. It was all work of David Murray. Of course it was good, but you always hope to hear one of your favourite songs when you see one of your favourite artists. Macy Gray didn't sing extremely well either, so it was a bit of a disappointment.

But well, we had good hopes for the next day and we had a marvelous day anyway.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

north sea jazz part I

3 days of peace, 3 days of love, 3 days of music. What a fabulous weekend. For the third year in a row me and my music friend Ramai went to North Sea Jazz in Rotterdam. But for the first time we went the entire weekend. A spontaneous idea but, as always, we didn't think it trough all the way. Which means we had to look for a place to sleep a few weeks before the festival started. And since more than 70000 people came to Ahoy that weekend, all the cheap hotels were full as well.

Our last possibility was the city camping. And so that's where we went. We had made reservations for a log cabin (thank god we didn't bring a tent, the weather was horrible!). The cabin was really cute, there was only space for one bunk bed, a sink and a mirror. I was really happy with that mirror as you'll understand ;) Anyway, the camping was fine and we had decided to bring our bikes in the train so we could cycle to Ahoy. Which was 8 kilometres but thanks to the route (via the Coolsingel and Erasmusbrug) it wasn't that bad.

The first day was extremely hot. The first band we saw was Sven Hammond Soul, which played some real good music, jazzy and uptempo. After this we hurried to the Nile (the biggest hall in Ahoy) because in a couple of minutes my hero Van Morrison would be performing. Before him, the American singer John Hiatt was performing. I'd never heard of him but he was brilliant. His sound was a mixture between Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen, 'on the road' music, very American. My dad later told me he knew him from the song 'Have a little faith in me', I'm sure you know that song!

When Van Morrison entered the stage, the entire hall was crowded. A woman next to me told me she had seen the man more than 70 times already. Wow, she must have been a huge fan. Van the Man opened his show with 'Brown Eyed Girl', so everybody sang along. He looked a little chubby but I guess that's what often happens to men who turn old.

Van played a lot of songs I didn't know but I didn't care that much because his voice made up for everything. And when 'Moondance' finally came, I sang along very, very loud. Unfortunately there was a moment when the amplifier wasn't working very well, so Van Morrison sang but no one could hear him except for us, because we stood up front. He and his band didn't realise it, so it was a bit painful.

After this big show we ate something. Too much choice, really. Every country has his own stand I guess. And it all smelled so good. But it was so expensive. There was Indonesian food, Surinam food, Thai food but also pancakes, pizzas, ice creams. Well you can make your own imagination.

José James was the next artist we saw. We stood somewhere in the back because the show had already started. All I could see was a young man with a Yankees cap on his head but he sound really, really amazing. I fell in love with him immediately ;) Especially during the song 'Trouble', which I knew and loved already but I didn't know it was his. He also sang a marvelous version of Bill Withers' 'Ain't no Sunshine'

But we had to go away early because we wanted to see Ms. Jill Scott. It was a good choice because when she entered the stage a real woman stood there. Almost no hair, a real big momma, and a great band. She read a poet and did a little performance which was hilarious. You could see she is an actress as well. Her biggest hits 'Golden', 'So in love with you' and 'Blessed' also passed in review. Brilliant songs.

After a quick stop at Blitz the Ambassador (and a lovely chocolate ice cream), we went to see the last show of the night, which was Chic featuring Nile Rodgers. I don't know if you're familiar with Chic but it's a funk and disco band of the seventies. We heard songs as 'We are family', 'Good Times' and 'I want your love' but also golden oldies like 'Like a Virgin'. It was a little and fabulous party and this was only day 1.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around - the music and the ideas.

A few weeks ago I told you about the fabulous gifts I received for my 18th b'day right? (: Well, one of them was a book called 'Pop Sixties' which is filled with Magnum photos, the world's preeminent photography agency. I instantly loved it, almost all my heroes are in it (Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, etc.) and it really shows the sixties ambiance. God, I wished I was there to experience that time. But it's a given fact I wasn't, so all we can do now is looking at these pictures and imagining how amazing it was.

Woodstock Festival, Bethel, NY, 1969

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

James Brown, New York, 1968

Sophia Loren, 1963

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick at a dinner party, New York, 1965

Miles Davis, Paris, 1969

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow at Truman Capote's Black and White Ball, New York, 1966

Brigitte Bardot riding through the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, 1960

Brasserie Lipp, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, 1969

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin wearing erruti creations at their apartment on Rue de Verneuil, Paris, 1969

Van Morrison and his wife, Janet, outside their home, Woodstock, NY, 1969

The Supremes at the Motown recording studios, Detroit, Michigan, 1965

Bob Dylan plays on the back porch of the SNCC office in Greenwood, Mississippi, 1963

World heavy-weight champion Muhammed Ali amid a group of children, Chicago, Illinois, 1966

JFK, acceptance speech at the 1960 democratic national convention

Ray Charles, Paris, 1969

Jimi Hendrix at a press conference on top of the Pan Am building, New York, 1968

Left: Paul Morrisey, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, and Tim Buckley at Max's Kansas City, New York, 1968
Right: Marilyn Monroe during the filming of the Misfits, Reno, Nevada, 1960

Sammy Davis Jr. on the set of Salt and Pepper, London, 1967

Crazy Beatles fan at filming of 'A Hard Day's Night', London, 1964

Abbie Hoffman

Back, Andy Warhol with Edie Sedgwick and Chuck Wein, New York, 1965