A few highlights in concerts that 2014 brought

In 2014 I saw many concerts again. Some by band I knew and it introduced many new artists and bands to me and I loved so many of them. It’s absolutely impossible to arrange a set in a Top 10 as there were so many incredible concerts and one is simply so much different to another. But I would like, as is the custom at the end of the year, to highlight a few moments of the year.

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FestiValderAa – Saturday

In the beautiful nature reserve Drentsche Aa, right at the outer edge of Schipborg in Drenthe, only a stones-throw away from where I live (really, I cycle past it all the time) the festival FestiValderAa is held. I found out about that last year, but missed it due to other activities so I made sure I’d be there this year.

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Wende in Stadsschouwburg

Last year Wende released her latest album ‘Last Resistance’ and after coming to Vera with The Naked Sessions, visiting De Oosterpoort with The Berlin Sessions on may 3rd Wende came to Groningen again with The Theater Sessions visiting the Stadsschouwburg.

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Wende – The Berlin Sessions in De Oosterpoort

In April, shortly before the release of her new album Last Resistance, Wende came to Groningen to start a short clubtour called The Naked Sessions. A minimalistic show in Vera mixing Wende’s songwriting and voice with electronica and beats from the Trance scene and it was fantastic. Sold out venue and the combination of Wende and Vera worked! But now Wende is the second string of concerts, bigger this time: the Berlin sessions and she’s in the Oosterpoort venue for that gig.

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Wende -The Naked Sessions in Vera

Wende perfored in Vera last week as part of her clubtour for the upcoming album The Last Resistance. It has been a while since I last saw Wende as she has taken some time for the new album. Written in Berlin coupled with strongly posed portraits in black&white I couldn’t help but think of “Heroes” album of David Bowie, from David’s Berlin period. For the current clubtour Wende is accompanied not by a whole band, nor an orchestra but a very tight unit of only two men on guitar, bass and electronica.

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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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Wende in the Stadsschouwburg

Last night Wende came to the Stadsschouwburg for her theatrical tour. Combining the experiences from her theatre performances and clubtour she’s back in the theatres now with a fantastic new show, mainly based on her latest English album, but with the passion and intensity that she’s been known for back in her French chanson singing days.

Wende enters the venue through the audience and finds a pipe organ on stage. It provides the music for the first song after which the curtains are raised and the full band is unleashed. It’s Wende’s band from the clubtour extended with a string section. The band is contained in a circus ring -the circus that Wende conducts- and dressed to suit. The band is fantastic! Small when the songs are, but they’ll just as easily produce a wall of sound if you give them half a chance.

And Wende is simply being Wende: passionate, sensual, intense, funny, beautiful and in absolute control of every muscle of her body. She gracefully moves over the stage dancing and running. Her voice is just incredible; she can sound very fragile but when the songs get louder, her voice is very powerful and strong, I can’t get enough of it.

After some songs the band leaves the stage and Wende performs some songs on piano in a more intimate setting. In the end the band is back again and a backing chorus is added. The show is well paced, has up tempo songs and intimate, fragile songs. It is funny, moving and most of all incredibly good. I had a great evening and can’t wait to see Wende again, I just love her.

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Wende in Hedon

On Saturday June 26 I drove to Zwolle to visit Hedon for the first time since quite some time. Wende had a show here with band and I really wanted to see her again. I saw her in Groningen in November last year, but to see her in a club-gig seemed a very interesting concept.

Driving to Zwolle on the day that the Dutch TT was held is an interesting experience. Long traffic jams, motorcyclists passing you by on every possible side and the amount of spectators that sit besides the roads are incredible. All the way from Assen to Zwolle in the most unexpected places there’s people cheering the motorcyclists on.

The Hedon doors opened at 20:00 and around 21:00 the venue was well filled when Wende Snijders and band came onto the stage. The gig was incredible. Switching from small singer/songwriter to cabaret, electro-beats, piano ballads and Wende capturing the audience attention with her incredibly intense, passionate performance. Her voice is just sublime and with her sensually walking on stage, Wende wrapped the audience around her hand with ease.

Most of the songs played were from her latest English album, but they also played a French chanson that was totally reworked to suit her current style. The gig was awesome, absolutely blew me away. The gig in Groningen last year was good, but here in Hedon -in a club-venue- it all fitted together

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