This weekend is the 2018 edition of the Swingin’ Groningen festival and every year I try to at least get one night in and this year I visited on Friday evening as that had the best part of the program for me.
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!
There is something in African music that just draws me to it. It’s highly rhythmic repetitive style just makes you wanna dance and I might not understand the vocals… if it sounds good, it sounds good, simple as that! So when I saw Tamikrest was going to play in Vera, it didn’t take long to make up my mind.
When earlier this year the second edition of the Holland International Blues Festival was held in Grolloo, I was in Barcelona, which unfortunately (as a blues lover) means I’ve missed both editions. Apparently a young English blues musician was making quit the impression and was even performing alongside one of the main headliners: Buddy Guy. Last Friday this rising blues star by the name of Laurence Jones was playing to a sold out Vanslag in Borger and I was not going to miss that!
With a busy week I wasn’t able to do both Friday and Saturday of the Swingin’ Groningen festival, however I was by no way going to miss the whole festival and Saturday had some great names on the schedule. So after finishing my work on the Static Roots Festival, doing a ride on the Bianchi and fixing evening-dinner, I hopped in my car and drove to Groningen for more music!
Ralph de Jongh might very well be the hardes working bluesman of the Netherlands. Releasing two double albums last year, there’s a triple-album out now: Trilogy – ‘Dancing On a Vulcano’. And the touring schedule with solo performances, duo-performances and full band gigs is long. He performed at Vanslag with full band last Saturday to a well filled venue.
Heartbreak hurts, but it can also be the inspiration of terrific songwriting. Luke Winslow-King had to go through some heartbreak when his partner and band-member left him last year. And when you have the blues, when you feel the blues, you play the blues. At least that’s what Luke did and it resulted in a terrific album that’s firmly nestled in blues.
With the Mastersons in January I had a careful start of the new concert-season, but February will kick it off for real and to get a good start, the Blues Avenue Revisited started off the month in style: Blues in Vanslag!
Being a lover of Jazz -both the traditional and the more swinging, funky kind- I look forward to the Swingin’ Groningen festival every year. The festival has been put on hold a few times as it’s a free festival and money is tight, but if they’re on and I have a chance I wil absolutely check out some of the band and so it was I was in Groningen last night.
A long, long time ago, not far away from here (in the Witte Bal in Assen actually) I was taking photos at a concert by The Long Winters. It was back in 2004 and there I met Dietmar Leibecke and his wife Marion, who came all the way from Germany for that concert. Dietmar and I have kept in contact over the years via the Facebook and so learned about each others musical discoveries and concert-experiences. And now Dietmar has organised a festival of his own: the Static Roots Festival and he was kind enough to invite me.
Last weekend was Pentecost and as usual that means that Raalte holds it’s annual Ribs&Blues weekend. Three days of music, beer and food. For the kids there’s a good sized funfair so they can have some fun while mommy and daddy are screaming old rock-songs at the top of their lungs…