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!
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.
As if a long day at the track wasn’t enough I thought I’d end the Sunday afternoon with visiting a concert in Café 1809 Lodewijk Napoleon in Assen. Ralph de Jongh had a small gig there and as it was on my route from the circuit to home, it was a nice stop along the way.
A few months ago (in March) I shot photos of a terrific concert by Ralph de Jong in the Vanslag venue. It was a good night, heard some passionate musicians at work and with the help of good light I god some great photos from that gig. And that could have been that… but it didn’t
I love the Swingin’ Groningen festival: it’s a terrific free festival in the heart of Groningen and brings a mix of swinging Jazz, Soul, Blues and R&B. It was a huge shame last year’s edition had to be cancelled, but I was happy to be able to attend the Friday evening part of this festival (had to give Saturday a miss, you can’t always do everything…).
It’s been a year since the cafe Lodewijk Napoleon opened its doors and they decided to celebrate that moment with a concert by Ralph de Jongh, fantastic idea! Back in the day when the Cosy Corner cafe was in that location it already had some great concerts and I well remember seeing Bradley’s Circus there in a blues route. With a raised floor in the cafe it’s perfect for concerts there and having a concert in Assen for a change is really nice :)
The Last weekend of January is traditionally Bluesnight with lots of bluesgigs in various café’s, pubs, bars and venues. You can run along all night from one location to the other to see as much as possible, or you pick a few and enjoy the full gig. As I’d be playing hotel for one of the bands, I didn’t hop around very much and saw only a three gigs, but they were three fantastic gigs
And as soon as Eurosonic had started, it was over. On Saturday all eyes turn to De Oosterpoort where in the evening only Dutch bands will perform at Noorderslag. New promising acts, bigger names with showcases and of course the traditional Popprijs-beershower. I’m again only doing Platosonic today but that too has a line-up of only Dutch bands today.
Whenever John Mayall comes to the Netherlands, me and my dad go to one of the gigs. And John’s here this weekend. However, I’m not carrying my camera’s with me this time. And I seriously can’t remember the last time I went to a gig without cameras. This was the first evening of the two-day festival and I had the blues. Which wasn’t such a bad thing, I was at a blues festival after all