Ana Popovic in Vanslag

Last night Ana Popovic played to a sold out Vanslag church in Borger. It has been a bit over 11 years since I last saw Ana and a lot has happened in those years so it was high time I saw her again.

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Sven Hammond Soul

Sven Hammond Soul have recently released their fifth album Rapture and are touring with that now. They’ve been around for a good 10 years now and that shocked me a bit as it turned out I’ve not seen them in any of those years. High time to change that!

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Swingin’ Groningen 2015

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…).

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Seasick Steve and Gemma Ray in De Oosterpoort

Having hardly recovered from the album presentation of Town of Saints I was back in Groningen on Monday for one of my blues heroes: Seasick Steve. Aged 72 the man is exactly what the blues ought to be: raw, steaming and in that old fashioned story-telling style. The gig in the Oosterpoort was  -as it should be- sold out!

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Asser Bluesdagen

The last weekend of January the various pubs and cafes in Assen join together to organize the bluesfestival called the Asser Bluesdagen. There is a kick-off on Friday afternoon and an Afterblues on Sunday, but the main part of the festival is on Saturday.

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Orgel Vreten (The Merciless Hammond Battle) in Vera

What do you get when two guys that play Hammond organ indifferent bands get together and decide to jam? You get a merciless Hammond battle. Thijs Schrijnemakers (Wende, Stereo) and Robin Piso (DeWolff) did just that and might just have created the best live act of 2012. And this analogue force hit Vera last night.

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Lee Fields and The Expression in De Oosterpoort

Last week Lee Fields and The Expressions played at the Oosterpoort venue. Programmed after a Chaka Khan gig, making it a sort of late might session. I wasn’t at the Chaka Khan gig, but I did not want to miss Lee Fields!

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Robert Ellis, Diamond Rugs & Alabama Shakes at Summerstage

How lucky was I? Just booked my vacation to New York and checking out what music there would be only to find out that the Alabama Shakes would be playing at Summerstage in Central Park. And my hotel was just about located at Central Park. So there was no doubt in my mind I’d go and see them. Even packed my 70-200mm lens just for that occasion. Now if they’ll only let me bring it to the festival…

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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings in De Oosterpoort

De Oosterpoort has done it once again. For the past few years they’ve always managed to get one of the top acts from Pinkpop to appear here up north for an extra show. Most recently Queens of the Stone Age and Wolfmother and this year they hauled in Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.

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Rhythm & Blues Night 2012 2/4

Now that the festival is in it’s second hour, it’s getting pretty busy and the first main act on the biggest stage is a big part of the reason for that. I have to rush to that stage to find a decent spot and only just about manage. Now bring on Charles Bradley, the “Screaming Eagle Of Soul”!

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Pure and Superfloor at Superbike Night

This weekend the Superbike races are held at the TT Circuit of Assen and though it’s not as big an event as the TT Races are, it is big enough to organise a Superbike Night in Assen. Two stages, two bands and -as long as the weather holds up- a good atmosphere.

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Raphael Saadiq in De Oosterpoort

On March 5th I was back in de Oosterpoort once more for a soul/neo-soul evening with Raphael Saadiq. A bit of a change from what I’ve heard lately, but then I like a bit of diversity.

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Plato Planet 2011 2/2

Plato Planet 2011 was far from over as there were still three acts to see. So after the set by the Pioneers of Love I headed back to the “Kleine zaal” that was already getting crowded in the front rows.

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Caro Emerald and Waylon at the TT Festival

Wednesday evening June 23 the ‘TT Festival’ began in Assen. Three evenings of fun, fair and music to entertain the masses that are attending the TT Races on Saturday and the training and qualifying sessions before that. Wednesday was dubbed Soul Night and they had three national soul acts on the main stage. The first was local singer Roan whom I did not see. The next two artists were more up my alley.

The second act of the evening was Caro Emerald with band. They play a mix of ballroom jazz, mambo and a bit of jump’n’jive. Swinging, joyful summer music. Caro’s name is rising quickly in the scene with the album ‘Deleted scenes from the cutting room floor’ doing very well. Internationally her star is also rising when her version of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ was discovered in America.

The was a large crowd on the ‘Koopmansplein’ where the main stage was set and the mood was very good. The band played a great and cheery set (any band including a piece of Ennio Morricone filmscore in their live act is a good band in my books), all the hits and singles were played and of course as an encore ‘Bad Romance‘ just had to be played and was received incredibly well by the audience. Fantastic gig.

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After Caro’s encore the stage had to be rebuilt for the next act and the audience was entertained by a DJ set playing some goldies oldies that underwent a dancebeat update and some popular singalongs. But a quarter to twelve it was time for the next act: Waylon, a Dutch soul-singer who participated in ‘Holland’s Got Talent’ (finished in second place) and eventually got signed to Motown. He has a great band with him and though the music isn’t really up my alley, I must say I was impressed. He has a great voice and won the audience over easily.

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