The church-turned-venue Vanslag once started out as well… a church. And last night we witnessed a bit of that ‘old magic’ as Ralph presented us with an evening packed with creativity, blues, rock, poetry… and a wedding!
For starters Ralph de Jongh has not one, not two but three new albums out. The man is releasing new albums at such a high rate, it’s hard to keep up with all of them.
Starting of the events for the evening Ralph and band played the first set. As usual when Ralph plays at Vanslag the stage is well filled. Ralph’s band consists of a drummer, bassist, an extra guitarist and a brass section with saxophone and trumpet. Normally when Ralph plays at Vanslag there are also background-singers including his girlfriend), but not tonight. The reason will be clear halfway through the gig.
The first set is amazing. A great selection of songs and the band is on fire. Great atmosphere on stage and playing great as usual. A strong rocking set with ties to blues with a modern spirit and at times touching on psychedelic rock at times, with thanks to an outstanding Maarten Ouweneel on guitar.
After the set Ralph hands the microphone to Egbert Hovenkamp II, a poet from Assen who wrote his poem during the first set that is influenced by the music of the concert while violinist Ewa Pepper provides the musical score and the poet hints (very obvious) to the the activity that is about to happen really soon.
But not just yet… After the poem Ralph first plays a few small intimate songs on acoustic guitar with Ewa on violin accompanying him and then finally Ralph calls his girlfriend Maan (Moon) to the stage. A perfect passage is opened from the rear of the venue all the way to the stage where Maan is brought while Ralph serenades her. Then the official ceremony starts which is led by a former colleague of mine Lauwrens Wanders. The ceremony is kept short, but is very much official non the same. There is still room for some humor along the way and so with many laughs and a huge applause the couple is wed.
After a long line of people congratulating the new couple has passed on the stage we are now three acts and a wedding into the evening and that leaves one more act: the second half of the concert. The band gets back on stage and while friends and family are celebrating in the back there’s a bit more room in front now.
Also now the nerves are over there’s a bit more room for shenanigans. Still no room for goofing about in the music, it’s still absolutely a fantastic set, this time a bit bluesier than the first set.
A fantastic evening and a truly memorable one. Super concert with lots of new songs, great musicians and a wedding to boot! Many thanks to Vanslag, it was a blast!