Alex Akela and Birgit Wijdemans in Cafe Peter en Leni

Last Friday I went to see Alex Akela and Birgit Wijdemans in a cafe in Steendam, a new location for me, but a really nice café and it was good to meet up with some old friends.

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Sascha Elisah and Vanessa Peters in Groninger Museum

I’ve seen Vanessa quite a few times now, mostly in small setups. Either completely on her own or with one or two supporting musicians on guitar, mandolin or violin. But now Vanessa is touring with the Danish band The Sentimentals, a chance to see her with a full band and on stage. But there was more last Friday evening, first Groningen based Sascha Elisah would be releasing her debut single!

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Vanessa Peters in Het Huiskamercafé

It was one of those impossible-to-choose evenings again last Friday. Toby Beard in Vanslag in Borger, a new concert in the Synagog in Groningen by my friends of wishfulmusic, a gig in Vera, another gig in Groningen by Lepel Concerts and then the mention that Vanessa Peters would play a solo gig in Westerwijtwerd, a small town above Groningen. And as I’ve know Vanessa for a long time now, I quite liked the idea of going to see her, a good warmup for when she’ll be playing the Groninger Museum with The Sentimentals.

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Vanessa Peters and R.T. Woods

House concerts are a great addition to venue located gigs. They’re way more intimate, it feels you’re part of a very select little group and the atmosphere at these gigs is (to my knowledge) always great. It’s only really very hard to take decent photos at these concerts. Groningen based wishfulmusic had a great evening for us in store last Friday.

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Top 10 albums of 2012

It’s always nice to look back over the past year and see what albums stood out. Even though there’s still a few albums underway, they won’t be in time to get a good enough impression of for a final list and then again… ask me again next week and the list might look different from what it looks like now. And in the end..  what’s the value of a list anyway. But they are fun, so here we go!

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Vanessa Peters in ‘t Keerpunt

It’s been only four years since Vanessa Peters first toured the Netherlands. A suitcase, a backpack and a guitar and racing all over the Netherlands in public transport with Alex Akela supporting on bass, mandolin and violin. That was also the year that inspired ‘Drowning in Amsterdam’ as it rained for the whole duration she was here.

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Vanessa Peters in De Witte Bal

After the theater gig in Zwolle, Vanessa and band traveled to Assen for their next gig in De Witte Bal. A quick stop at my house and then off to the venue for soundcheck and dinner. The gig started at half past eight. Unfortunately the café wasn’t nearly full and with most people in the rear of the café it almost felt like a private gig for me.

The sound was great and they played another lovely set with a lot of songs of the various CD’s and the odd cover (loved Jolene), but there really ought to have been more people there. The ambiance in a café is a bit different from a theater, but the band does both of them very well. At least it wasn’t very noisy in the café and I had a great evening all in all


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Vanessa Peters in Papenstraattheater

It’s been about three years since I first saw Vanessa Peters. In May 2007 I was asked by Fileunder if I’d like to go and see a singer/songwriter from Texas/America who was on her first Dutch tour. She played in a small pub in Groningen. No stage, only two lightbulbs above her and an audience that barely paid attention. But Vanessa didn’t let that get her down and was back for a tour half a year later, playing small venues and bringing Italian Manuel Schicchi from Icecream on Monday along with her for support on guitar and Dutch Alex Akela on bass, mandolin and violon.

Currently Vanessa is seen as one of the most influential Texan singer/songwriters of the moment and is back for another tour through the Netherlands. Again with Manuel and Alex and on Friday April 16th the band played in the Papenstraatheater in Zwolle. For me a first for the venue and finally back in Zwolle as it’s been a long while I was there.

I was very happy to see the small theater filled up very well. Theaters usually mean a more attentive audience then bars. It also meant that I’d have to be a lot more sensitive with my camera (the Canon tends to sound like a cannon when it’s surroundings are silent). So I took an absolute minimum of images.

The gig itself went fantastic. The sound in the venue was terrific, the audience appreciative and Vanessa and band played fantastically. Some old songs, some from her latest CD and a few well chosen covers. It’d be great to see Vanessa play theaters a lot more. But first I’ll see her i my hometown of Assen tonight, in De Witte Bal


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