In 2017 the Motel Mozaique Festival will take place on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 April, in different venues in Rotterdam. The 17th edition of the festival will offer upcoming artists in music, art and performance, such as The Slow Show, Lisa Hannigan, Weyes Blood, Grandaddy, The Lemon Twigs, Thundercat, Joep Beving, Ryley Walker, Isaiah Rashad and many others. Check out all info, also tickets for 1 or 2 days through the site of Motel Mozaique

PROGDREAMS VI - Day 1, 3rd of March 2017

15.30 16.45: Karnataka
18.30: Barock Project
20.45: Huis
21.15 – 22.45: Frost*

It was the 6th time the Progdreams festival at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer took place. This time it was held on the first weekend of March, which was somewhat earlier than last year's event (April 2016) when Mystery gave one of the finest performances ever on this festival, which we visit nearly every year since it started in 2012. 2 days once again and we visited the saturday, because of Huis and Frost. Sadly we missed the first 2 bands, the female fronted Karnataka, a great female fronted symphonic rockband. They performed really well, judging from several visitors whom witnessed it earlier in the day. The Italian band Barock Project was lesser known than Karnataka, but nevertheless they were put on the bill as 2nd band and they also seem to have taken the audience by surprise with their progressive rock. Anyway, when we arrived it seemed that the time schedule was a bit behind, because eventually the Canadian band Huis started around 2015! This band features members of Mystery, yet with a different vocalist than Mystery and that is what makes them sound different. They were named Huis because they feel so much connected to The Netherlands. Mystery is a Canadian band, but became popular in The Netherlands first and especially De Boerderij is a special place for them, so when the musicians from Mystery started this side project it was called Huis, which is a Dutch word for Home!

Anyway, Huis performed rather complex progressive rock, which sounded less melodic than on the CD. Also the band's singer, who looked like Ringo Star, his voice was not really connecting with the music. It wasn't bad, but somehow I didn't get the feeling it was all sounding in balance, completely unlike the fantastic Mystery performance from 2016 where everything sounded picture perfect. Nevertheless, Huis' performance was filled with lots of strong instrumental parts and here and there some nice vocal melodies. However, unlike Mystery, I am not sure if Huis will become as big and during the performance I was actually hoping for a surprise that the Mystery singer would join and do a few songs. That didn't happen and so it was more or less waiting for the big boys... Frost*

It was already after 2200 before
Frost* started and right from the first few seconds we knew this was going to be the finest gig of the year so far! These guys are making Progressive Rock of the highest level. Both in the studio and especially live on stage, it is like you entered a different dimension where Frost* is your guide. This is in the upper league of progressive rock, next to Spock's Beard, Threshold, Enchant, Mystery and Dream Theater. Hard to believe that Frost* leader Jem Godfrey once wrote bubblegum pop charting hits for Atomic Kitten (!!!). Here on stage it's like he's living the progdream, singing and playing keyboards while also joking around with especially guitarist/vocalist John Mitchell, who by the way is part of almost every sensational progrockband these days (Kino, It Bites, Arena, Lonely Robot). Lonely Robot by the way was the headliner of Day 2, but sadly we could not be present the next day. However, with Frost* we were lucky enough to see something from another planet, because that is basically what happened during the almost 2 hours counting concert of this wonderful act, which also featured bassist Nathan King (brother of the famous Mark King of Level 42) and drummer Craig Blundell. From start to finish this was one highlight, with not only superb musicianship and vocals by both John and Jem, but also visual there was excitement and joy on stage, which is always entertaining and picking highlights is almost impossible, but Heartstrings, Closer to the Sun and Milliontown were definitely goosebumps!

I think by now
Frost* has entered the big boy league of progressive rock and next time they might even be pushed to bigger venues. This band is playing progressive rock yes, but with a strong modern approach like we have only seen from Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson, and we all know that those acts moved up to higher places and so the future looks very bright for this band. Do not miss them next time they are in your area! Already looking forward to next year's Progdreams, perhaps then inviting all the mentioned prog heroes at the moment!

Bye bye 2016... Hello 2017

Another year has passed... Heading into 2017... Well well well... a lot of great music and new stuff besides lots of adventures personally speaking, because I switched my daily job and my girlfriend too, who even went into the hospital for a week because of a mysterious infection. All is well now and hoping 2017 will bring each and everyone lots of joy and good health conditions. Of course there will be lots of new music as well and in one year we can tell if it was better than 2016 or not. Here below are the 5 best records of 2016 according to yours truly, with beneath that mentioned other great records released in 2016! Email me or sent me stuff I missed and I check it out asap!!!! Stay safe and good luck to all of you in 2017!!!

TOP 5 of 2016:

DGM - The passage
2 Fates Warning - Theories of flight
3 Wilson, Damian - Built for fighting
4 Kansas - The Prelude Implicit
5 Derin Dow Band - Illuminate
5 Frost – Falling Satellites
5 Magic Dance - Vanishings

Other memorable releases in 2016:

Albany Down    The outer reach
Alter Bridge    The last hero
Band of Horses Why Are You OK
Bault, Chad    No man's land
Bayman, Dion    Don't look down
Bear's Den    Red earth and pouring rain
Beckley, Gerry    Carousel
Bird, Andrew Are you serious
Blackberry Smoke Like an arrow
Blackstone Cherry Kentucky
Blind Ego    Liquid
Blue Minded    Seize the day
Blues Pills Lady in Gold
Bodragaz    20
Brother Hawk    Big medicine
Bryant and the Shakedown, Tyler    The wayside
Cairo    Say
Candlebox    Disappearing in airports
Cannon, Toronzo    The Chicago way
Circus Maximus  Havoc
Cornerstone    Reflections
Cos    Cos
Cronin, Kaurna    Southern loss
Danté Fox Breathless
Daring Greatly    Cornerstones
Dawes    We're all gonna die
Dinosaur Pile Up    Eleven Eleven
Drive By Truckers  American band
Echotape    Wicked way
Edensong    Years in the garden of years
Eins, Zwei Orchestra    Hope, sign, community
Elysian Gates    Crossroads
Embargo, Merlot    Don't look back
Et Tu Bruce    Et Tu Bruce
Eye    Vision and ageless light
Fogwax    Swimming with sharks
Ford & The Bloom, Elijah    As you were
Georgas, Hannah    For Evelyn
Gross, Timo    Heavy soul
Gun Machine    Balls to the wall
Heart    Beautiful broken
Heavy, The    'Hurt and the merciless
Holland, Amy    Light on my path
Hollywood Monsters    Capture the sun
Holon    The Time Is Always Now
Human Zoo    My own God
Japam    How's my EP?
Jones, Laurence    Take me high
King Band, The Marcus    The Marcus King Band
King King    Rush hour
Lindberg and The Other Side, Jonas    Pathfinder
Livesays, The    Hold is calling
Lucius Good Grief
Magic Dance  Haunting Me
Magnum   Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies
Massive    Destination somewhere
Michael Sweet – One Sided War
Monster Truck    Sittin' heavy
Morse Band, The Neal    Alive again
Multi Story    Crimson stone
Neon Alley    Neon Alley
Patlansky, Dan    IntroVertigo
Poole, Ben    Time has come
Preacher    Aftermath
Pretty Maids Kingmaker
Purson    Desire's magic theatre
Pymlico    Meeting point
Radiohead A moon shaped pool
Radio Birds    Contemporary American slang
Rage Of Angels The Devil's new tricks
Rami and the Whale    Rami and the Whale
Redeem    Awake
Rik Emmett & RESolution9  RES 9
Rival Sons  Hollow bones
Sage, Rachael    Choreographic
Samavayo    Dakota
Schorr, Sari    A force of nature
Sendelica    The cromlech chronicles
Sirens Sky    Heal you/Forever
Small Change Romeos    Mystery sings
Steepwater Band, The    Shake your faith
Stolen Rhodes    Bend with the wind
Stonerider    Hologram
Striker    Stand in the fire
Suede Night thoughts
Tall Bones    Blind love
Teenage Fanclub Here
The Defiants  The Defiants
Thee Oh Sees A weird exists
Tigerlillies, The    123456 EP
Tilted Axes    Music for Mobile Electric Guitars
Tombasco, Bobby    Bobby Tombasco
Tragic Earth    Hatred and tolerance
Val Tvoar    In light you believe... but in darkness you dwell
Van Halst    World of make believe
Various Artists    A Taste of BESTE! UNTERHALTUNG Vol. 2
Volbeat    Seal the deal and let's boogie
Voodoo Fix, The    In deep
Watkins, Sara    Young in all the wrong ways
Wilco Schmilco
Willing, The    Right direction
Witch Tripper    Witch Tripper
Yigga Digga    Faded glory
Ylja    Ylja


  • Doors open: 19:30
  • Start: 20:30
  • Presale: 25,-(excl. service charge)
  • At the door: 29,-
Order tickets


The Canadian progressive rock band Mystery was founded in 1986 by multi-instrumentalist Michel St-Père. In 1992 their debut album was released after which another 6 studio albums would follow. In 2013 the band with former Yes-vocalist Benoit David in the ranks made its debut in the Netherlands. During this concert their double live album 'Tales From The Netherlands' was recorded and eventually released in 2014. Their most recent album “Delusion Rain” is without doubt one of the best albums of last year, scoring high in the top 10 charts of 2015 and is currently number one in the list of Progwereld.

  • During their career Mystery have frequently opened for fellow Canadians Saga all over the world. In 2012 Mystery released the album The World Is A Game, followed by a world tour to promote the album. Canadian progressive rockers Mystery made their debut in the Netherlands, with ex-Yes singer Benoit David on vocals. In March 2014 the band announced that Benoit had left the band, wanting to take a pause from music for a while. Benoit is replaced by Canadian singer Jean Pageau.

More info at:


On Friday 1, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 April 2016 Cultuurpodium Boerderij hosted Progdreams V, the fifth edition of this trend-setting indoor progressive and symphonic rock festival.

The line up of the festival was: Mystery, Focus, Heather Findlay Band (ex-Mostly Autumn), Aisles, Dave Kerzner Band ft. Durga McBroom (Pink Floyd), District 97, Knight Area, Karfagen, Sunchild & Neo Prophet. Unfortunately Three Friends had to cancel their tour in april due to personel circumstances. The Canadian band Mystery were willing to come over for an exclusive European performance. Without a doubt, this made it an even more interesting festival to visit, because Mystery are one of the greatest undiscovered progbands around nowadays. We visited the final day where we witnessed one of the greatest gigs in the past few years...

It was the first beautiful sunny spring day of 2016 when the Progdreams festival took once again place in Zoetermeer and as always at the venue De Boerderij, which is by far the most pleasant and interesting place for live music in The Netherlands. I decided to go for the absolute headliner Mystery, although I did catch a part of one of the earlier acts on the 3rd day of this festival, which was the American band District 98. I had seen them with John Wetton at the same festival a couple of years ago, but despite the band's enthusiasm on stage and also the crowd loving this female fronted progrockband, I had mixed feelings about the music. The band played rather complex progrock, while the female singer looked and sounded like she was in a straight-ahead rockband, so the combination did not really work for me and some others. However, around 20:30 the Canadian band Mystery took over to mark their 4th performance at De Boerderij (my first!) and this time they flew over for just this gig and nothing more. It was filmed for a live DVD and the performance itself lasted around 2 hours.

Without a doubt, this was one of the greatest gigs I have witnessed in ages, as everything looked and sounded picture perfect. Mystery delivered a sensational  new album called Delusion rain late last year and so this was their first performance with brand-new material. Formed 30 years ago by guitarist Michel St-Père, he is the only original member, but despite changes in the line-up, the band has always delivered quality material. I already reviewed and interviewed the band back in the mid-late 1990s and now almost 20 years later it was great to meet Michel and see how his band has developed into one of the greatest new progbands active at the moment. Previous lead singer Benoît David sang with the band for over 15 years, but his double-job as Yes singer, replacing Jon Anderson for a while, this gave Mystery a lot of attention in Europe, but also eventually led to replace him by new singer Jean Pageau. Tonight's performance showed that Jean is an excellent singer and also a real front man, so Mystery definitely has a bright future ahead of them. 2 guitarists, 1 bass player, 1 keyboardplayer, 1 drummer and the vocalist, they all gave their best and succeeded, because most people were completely overwhelmed by this amazing performance.

This is the way we want to experience live music and thankfully when the DVD is released, we are able to relive those glorious moments of Mystery. Starting with the amazing titletrack, it was a fantastic ride through the band's catalogue, which consisted mostly of the last couple of records, with all the songs from the new record Delusion rain being played throughout the set. Jean is such a wonderful singer and performer, singing with real passion and straight from the heart. It almost made you feel like crying, it was so beautiful. Despite he sounds exactly like Dennis DeYoung of Styx, he has own identity, so also not copying the previous singer. Absolute highlights were the Delusion rain songs and also Dear someone, which are tunes that can already be seen as classics. Let's tope the band will continue to gain new fans, because they absolutely deserve to become much bigger, as their latest album Delusion rain is a real classic and can easily be mentioned alongside Enchant's A blue print of the new world, several Threshold albums and Spock's Beard if we speak about similar bands. Be there when they return once again to De Boerderij in Zoetermeer later this year, because you don't want to miss such a wonderful live band as Mystery!

More info at: and read the review of their sensational new album Delusion rain here:


The 16th edition of the Motel Mozaique Festival offered exciting music, art and performance as always. We were present, just like previous 5 editions and checked out a bunch of live performances.

DAY 1:

And then it is early April, which means it is time for the yearly Motel Mozaique Festival in Rotterdam. Discover new bands, explore new genres and meet and watch everything that passes by in the city during 2 exciting days. It is also a festival where you know you have to choose and you will always miss certain acts. This is basically the main pity, because it happens a lot that interesting acts are scheduled around the same time. And usually it is also not possible to watch a part of both performances, as the festival is extremely popular among the youngsters and hipsters, which means that when you leave a gig and try to catch another gig that has already started, it’s most of the time impossible, due to the fact that especially in the smaller venues, like Rotown, there is a que to get in. It means you miss a lot in the end and you have to decide beforehand which acts you definitely want to see or else you might not see it at all. Therefore this time we focused on approx. 10 acts we wanted to see and everything we witness further is a nice addition. On Friday the main act to watch was American singer/songwriter Damien Jurado. I was quite excited and decided to skip earlier acts to eat and enjoy the start of the festival, so Damien was the first act to really watch in full. Although the performance was quite good actually, there was no spark on stage or interaction with the somewhat quiet crowd, so after like 45 minutes it became a little close to boring, which is a damn shame, because there might have been a lack of stage performance, but the music itself was performed at a high level, with Damien and his band playing a great selection of diverse material. However, when the highlight of the set is a stand-up comedian part, where Damien himself starts to laugh after telling a cool joke, which was about him saying he was from Seattle and asking the crowd for a name for bands in the Seattle Metal scene, answering Dirt Witch and Meat Fist. It’s a sign that the ice is broken, but in a wrong way, as people now will always remember you for telling that one joke about metal band names instead of your music. Nevertheless, it was a very decent performance, but not nowhere near as alive as some of the other performances in the Schouwburg venue that took place during MM 2016. Jamie Woon for example might not have a sensational setlist, he broke the ice with his hitsingle Sharpness, where the crowd jumped and loved the soulful 80s influenced synth dominated popmusic that sounded like a cross between Earth, Wind and Fire, Level 42, Al Jarreau and Jamiroquai. If only the volume of the bass would have been a bit less pumping and dominating, this would have been a very enjoyable and memorable performance. However, the absolute highlight of Friday was the gig of Manchester/UK upcoming sensation Blossoms. Now this band has musically speaking all the ingredients to become a major festival act in the future. They played in the new venue Annabel, which is located in a dirty somewhat creepy part of the town, close to the train station, but inside it looks like a good typical popmusic venue. The band’s stage performance needs some improvement, as the interaction was clearly lacking, but the set itself was as perfect as you want it to be. These are true musicians with a nice set of catchy tunes, some of them even sound like they are already classics in its genre, which is a mix of 80s new wave/pop and classic rock guitarsolos. The band is live much tougher and better than their polished synth orientated mini-album releases. I am quite convinced that Blossoms is a name that will start to grow in people’s heads, because this was their start to success and from now on things will only get better and bigger for them, as they have the potential to become as huge as Kings Of Leon, The Killers or The Editors. Musically they sound somewhere between those acts, but with an own identity thankfully! Especially the song Charlemagne is as catchy as you can get and the moment the synthesizers kick in, I knew that this song alone could bring this band to fame and fortune. However, they have to be careful, because we have seen a lot of small successes the past few years, bands come and go, so they have to keep focused on bringing diverse material and judging their performance on MM16 it is clear that they are able to take it to the next stage. It was definitely the highlight of Day 1. Festival’s closing act Meatbodies was completely different than the rest of the first day, because this gig took place in Rotown and it was extremely hot and loud, a real mix of classic punk/hardcore and rock and roll like The Dictators meets Sham 69, uptempo and sing-a-long was the name of the game here and everyone seemed to enjoy this band a lot. A lot more diversity is also not needed when it is that late (around 2 o’clock in the night), so for a closing act this was a good choice. Concluded, day 1 had some ups and gave us a great interesting new act called Blossoms, but with the exception of them, it was day 2 that turned out to be the most interesting day of MM2016.

Day 2:

Once again good weather and this is important as you have to travel a lot between the venues that are located just about everywhere in the city. This time the short VPRO 3 voor 5 sessions took place in the old Armenius Church, where we were surprised by some great performance of acts that would later perform a full set somewhere else. For example it was a good time to check an act that would later clash during the evening’s schedule, such as the Scottish singer/songwriter Steve Mason, who gave a good decent performance, but was not interesting enough to skip today’s headliner Leon Bridges to check the full performance later that day, because both artists would perform around the same in the evening. Anyway, the beautiful Paradijskerk was also home for a couple of great performances. First there was this New York based threesome Beau, which consists of a male drummer, a female guitarist and a female singer. Sounding and looking like a cross between Alanis Morissette and Rachel Sweet, the band’s singer is clearly an eye catcher. I can imagine that at a certain point during the set people are finished listening, because it all sounds just a little out of the box instead of standard and polished, which on the other hand is interesting for others, as Beau gives their folkish rock an own direction. The highlight then again for a lot of the visitors was the great cover of Be my baby, the 60s classic evergreen, done very well and giving me even more the feeling I was looking at Rachel Sweet from 35 years ago, because she also did that cover and it looked and sounded exactly the same. The girls were very impressed to perform in the beautiful church, with even making a comment that being here would make her want to marry there right away! Anyway, a pretty good performance and the modesty of the girls made it a sweet charming gig you didn’t want to leave, which on the other hand resulted in not being able to watch one of the festival’s highlights (according to a lot of people). This was the New Zealand based singer/songwriter Marlon Williams, who seemed to give away a lovely country-rock performance , judging from the incredible long que to get into the venue Rotown. Thankfully no problems to sit front row at the lovely performance of the Swedish Amanda Bergman and her band in the lovely Paradijskerk once again. Now this was a picture-perfect performance, because this act brought us strong songs with lovely vocalwork and instrumental nice passages, with melodies everywhere that went smoothly from the vocals/chorus parts into the instrumental parts and vice versa. Amanda is not only an excellent vocalist, but also on stage all eyes are set on her presence, so she dominates the stage and it is clear that nobody wants to leave this rather entertaining gig by this Swedish act. The music is sometimes very 1970s orientated mixed with the typical modern female fronted genre, leaning quite heavily on synths and a somewhat dark underground melodic new wave/poprock approach with slight symphonic rock influences and indie passages all over the place, like a cross between Kim Carnes, Earth and Fire, Tennis, The Pretenders, Dum Dum Girls and Florence And The Machine, with a clear frontlady who gives the band an own character. This is an act that will increase in popularity the coming years and a hitsingle is also possible, because I heard enough candidates. People who enjoyed Marlon Williams so much at the same time might have missed then this excellent gig by Amanda, so it is hard to judge who was better. Up next was MyBaby at the Schouwburg and it seemed like this band was giving a real party when we entered. The music itself makes you feel like moving and dancing, mixing all kinds of influences, although they are rock based, towards the end of their set the crowd went wild when the rhythm took a sorta Santana direction and later on it even had some 70s disco beats, but the real winner of Mybaby is their powerful female singer. This threesome is definitely ready to climb higher in the music business and reach more audience without any problems, as they are a real festival crowd pleasing act that started small as all other acts and is now ready for the masses. One of the festival’s headliners was programmed at the very end of the final day. Leon Bridges is his name and it was clear that a lot of people were very eager to witness his performance. Without a doubt, he gave one of the festival’s finest performances, a true mix of classic rock and roll, 60s R&B, Jazz, Doo-Wop and Soul is his name of the game here. He all does it so well, sounding like a cross between Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, his moves and stage act is close to classic James Brown. Watching this performance is a true enjoyment, because so much is happening on stage and towards the end it even becomes better and better, with Leon getting into the crowd and also screaming for people to sing-a-long everywhere in the venue. Interaction with the audience is such an important part during a concert and Leon delivers the complete package here. Not as good as for example Jake Isaac last year (however better than for example Charles Bradley), who is vocally slightly better, but especially during one of the final tracks, which was a very slow calm tune, it was pretty obvious that Leon Bridges is an incredible talent, who will probably one day headline a North Sea Jazz day. Sadly Leon’s concert also marked the end of MM2016, which once again brought us many great new acts to watch out for in the future, such as Blossoms, Amanda Bergman and Leon Bridges. Keep those 3 names in your head and look back 5 years from now to see where those acts are then, because it is hard to imagine they will not become major acts in the future. Thanks to MM2016 we had another great 2-day festival and we are already looking forward to next year, MM2017!

2015!!!!!!!!!!!  What a year it has been… with once again so many great moments in life and music, but also sad times in especially Paris, where on a Friday night in November me and my girlfriend were present at a gig by the American singer-songwriter Joe Pug, while at the same time a horrible shooting took place during a concert by The Eagles of Death Metal, only 450 kilometers away… Happily music always wins in the end as it does not have any borders or limitations. There were some really great releases this year, although not many new classics unfortunately, but in our albums of the year list below, the 2 top records are definitely candidates to become classics in the near future. Mystery from Canada and the legendary Toto, both these bands released the finest albums of 2015, well, according to me personally. The rest of the list is a whole string of strong albums that fill up the top 100. Everyone has its own favorite moment of the year and of course also everyone has their favorite songs, but below top 100 albums of 2015 marks a little bit what is/was played regularly during 2015 over here, here’s up to another great year!

number artist/band title country
1 Toto XIV USA
2 Mystery Delusion rain Canada
3 Calexico Edge of the Sun USA
4 Jim Peterik & Marc Scherer Risk Everything USA
5 Pyramaze Disciples of the Sunhoger USA
6 Vintage Trouble 1 Hopeful road USA
7 Warren Haynes Ashes & Dust USA
8 Faith Healer Back to zero Holland
9 Lonely Robot Please come home UK
10 Radioactive Four Sweden
11 Lifeline Scream UK
12 Muse Drones UK
13 Orange Outlaw Desert Wolf Holland
14 The Staves If I was UK
15 Atlas Road Crew Halfway to hopkins USA
16 Eclipse Armageddonize  Sweden
17 Dawes All your favorite bands USA
18 Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall Kingdom Of Rock Sweden
19 Disturbed Immortalized USA
20 Ryan Adams 1989 USA
21 Northcote Hope is made of steel USA
22 Ghost B.C Meloria Sweden
23 Surfjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell USA
24 Father John Misty  I Love You, Honeybear USA
25 Selwyn Birchwood Don't call no ambulance USA
26 The Night Flight Orchestra  Skyline Whispers Finland
27 Revolution Saints Revolution Saints USA
28 Station Station USA
29 Yukon Blonde On blonde Canada
30 Leon Bridges Coming home USA
31 Iconic Eye Hidden in plain sight UK
32 Steven Wilson Hand cannot erase UK
33 Talon Fourplay USA
34 Spock's Beard  The Oblivion Particle USA
35 Bill Gable No straight lines USA
36 Strung Out Transmission alpha delta' USA
37 Wolf Alice My love is cool UK
38 Nelson Peace out USA
39 Dirty Streets White horse USA
40 Find Me Dark angel WORLD
41 Martina Edoff Unity Sweden
42 Tigernite Tigernite USA
43 Time Horizon Transitions USA
44 Dellacoma South of everything Australia
45 Robyn Cage Born in the desert USA
46 Tommy Castro and the Painkillers Method to my madness USA
47 Brother And Bones Snow UK
48 Khymera The grand design WORLD
49 All That Remains The order of things USA
50 The Dead South Good Company Canada
51 Def Leppard Def Leppard UK
52 Reach Reach Out to Rock USA
53 Symphony X Underworld USA
54 Jason Isbell Something more than free USA
55 Epic Like a phoenix USA
56 JD McPherson Let the good times roll USA
57 Sean McMorris  Elecated man USA
58 The Coffis Brothers Wrong side of the road USA
59 Raglans  Raglans Ireland
60 Champlin Williams Friedsted CWF USA
61 My Morning Jacket The waterfall USA
62 Joe Pug  Windfall USA
63 Avatarium The girl with the raven mask Sweden 
64 Deepshade Everything popular is wrong UK
65 Hasse Froberg and Musical Companion HFMC Sweden
66 FM Heroes and villains UK
67 Kiske / Somerville City of Heroes  WORLD
68 Tame Impala Currents USA
69 Mike Thompson Out of my head USA
70 Iris Divine Karma sown USA
71 Joel Hoekstra's 13 Dying To Live  Joel Hoekstra's 13 Dying To Live  USA
72 Heather Nova  The Way It Feels Bermuda
73 Julia Holter Have You in My Wilderness USA
74 Lunden Reign American stranger USA
75 Midori and Ezra Boy Midori and Ezra Boy USA
76 The Amorettes Game on Scotland
77 Jarekus Singleton Refuse to lose USA
78 Guster Evermotion USA
79 Lawless Hearts Creatures of habit USA
80 Downpilot Radio ghost USA
81 Corvus Chasing miracles UK
82 Naked  End game Sweden 
83 J.P. Edwards Hearticulate USA
84 The Editors In dream UK
85 Girl In The Middle Magnolia street USA
86 Erik Sitbon and the Ghost Band USA
87 Neal Storme and the Band of Amazing Friends Ay B Si USA
88 Hemming Hemming USA
89 Unified Past Shiftling the equilibrium USA
90 Halestorm Into The Wild Life USA
91 The Whiskey Charmers The Whiskey Charmers USA
92 Freddy and the Phantoms Times of division Denmark
93 The Darker My Horizon  Acquiesce UK
94 Whitehorse Leave no bridge unburned Canada
95 Diemonds Never wanna die USA
96 Nightwish Endless forms most beautiful Finland
97 Stryper  Fallen USA
98 Breaking Benjamin Dark before dawn USA
99 JJ Grey & Mofro Ol'glory USA
100 John Grant Grey tickles, black pressure USA

On one of the very first summer ish days of the year, the first day of the 2-day festival Motel Mozaique took place in Rotterdam on Friday the 10th of April and without a doubt, it was set to become once again an interesting and exciting event, which as always is filled with an almost 36-hours non-stop ride of arts, music and performances. The main focus of delivering as many as possible of the latest upcoming new international acts is especially this year much more than during previous editions. Sadly 2 main acts of day 2, the Saturday, they cancelled and replacements were found with some Dutch acts (DeWolff) and there was some rescheduling in the timetables.

Anyway, Friday took off in the afternoon with music and arts performances of acts on the Schouwburgplein, where several bands did a short gig as a sort of try-out for their evening performances in one of the concert venues. The place got crowded when the Hardcore/Gabber music was played loud in the outdoors, but for us that was time to get into the main place, the Rotterdamse Schouwburg, where the first band Virginia Wing from the UK did their performance, which sadly sounded like a bunch of noise, but that is usually the case when playing in the main hall of this venue. A lot better was Mister and Mississippi, the much-praised Dutch band, whom were playing in the big concert hall. I saw them a couple of weeks ago during an in-store, which sounded very impressive, but here they played in a much bigger concert venue and sadly sounded quite standard and modest to be honest. Not really giving you the impression to stay until the end, so we left early to catch the acts in the Rotown/Paradijskerk area, because a lot of praise has been going on around the American singer/songwriter Jessica Pratt.


Jessica Pratt in the Paradijskerk, that sounded like a good combination and indeed the result was also quite nice, although I have experienced better concerts in the most beautiful venue of Rotterdam. In fact, later that evening I would witness my finest concert ever in this church! Anyway, Jessica is the kind of singer/songwriter people either love or get bored after a while, because not much happens on stage, where she is sitting on a chair with next to her a male guitarist and she just performs more or less similar sounding folkish singer/songwriter kinda tunes as if it was still 1969. It does sound good of course, but after a while it gets boring and same ish, so more and more people leave and only the die-hard fans and people who are into Joni Mitchell kinda singer/songwriters will stay from start to finish. How different it would turn out just one hour later when we are pleased with perhaps one of the greatest performances in ages on the Motel Mozaique festival.


Before that would happen, we got into Rotown to watch another praised act with a highly commercial sound. The act is called Nimmo and their music was very retro ish sounding, yet modern pop enough to become huge radio hits. Imagine an early 80s retro dance-poprocksound, with choruses out of the 80s Madonna book, yet updated with a touch of the modern art, then you’re close to Nimmo’s sound. The act consists of 2 female singers and the place is crowded and everyone is really enjoying this a lot. With a bit of luck and some pushing from the radiostations, this act could easily turn out to become huge, because they definitely deliver here, although it all sounds very commercial and way out of line in such a small venue as Rotown. This is music for the masses at big locations, crowd pleasers they are and definitely a real summer-outdoor festival act!


Closing day 1 for us was a British musician called Jake Isaac. Not heard of him before, but as he would perform in the Paradijskerk (church), we were very interested in checking out this artist. We were the very first to wait in front of the church doors and at one point I honestly thought if the performance would not be cancelled or something, because so few people were waiting just 20 minutes before it would start. Well, as we entered the church, more and more people would gather and join us and eventually the whole place was packed. On stage there was a piece of a drumset, a few guitars and a keyboard, besides of course the microphone. At exactly 22:30 Jake came on stage, looking around a bit, waiting until everyone was quiet... He moved behind the keyboard and starts playing a few notes until he finds the right key and melody of his first song, which then already sounds pretty impressive. However, when he starts singing, the whole audience is in awe, because what an incredible voice!!! This guy sounds like the next big thing for sure, a true soul/r&b/rock combination is what is inside of this musician. John Legend, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, John Mayer, Sam Cooke, Raul Midon, with a touch of Seal and that kind of direction is what you must think of here. The man’s songs are quite good, but it is clear that Jake has just started his journey and we can expect a lot more in the near future. He does not even have a full-length release so far, so we are looking at someone in his early shoes, but after tonight it will only go up for this guy, trust me…


Jake is also instrumentally speaking a huge talent, because switching from guitar, keyboard and adding the rhythm with his feet, while singing and entertaining the audience, that is only possible when you’re a natural. He jokes and fools around, asks if it is any good what he is doing, so he is very modest and polite too, which makes him a true audience winner and unlike other performances on the Motel Mozaique Festival, during the 45minutes Jake performs, nobody has any intention to leave the venue. The absolute highlight is the moment when Jake walks off stage into the path that leads to the altar of the church and starts singing without a microphone, with the lights turned out and all you could hear (and see!) was Jake’s voice. I have seen many gigs and performances, but this was as intimate as possible and also absolutely stunning. The guy has one of the greatest undiscovered voices at the moment and blows away any The Voice or that kinda tv show participant! It was a pity that his first official vinyl release, a 45” single, would be released a few days after the gig, because I would definitely get myself a copy and when he is in town next time, he will definitely reach more people, because the word is out on Jake Isaac after tonight. He is such a talented man and it is not a matter of if he is going to breakthrough, because it is a matter of when this will happen. Perhaps in a few years he will be headlining North Sea Jazz, but somehow it will probably never be as good as his performance on a warm Friday night at the beautiful Catholic Church in downtown Rotterdam on the Motel Mozaique Festival…


After a good night’s sleep, Day 2, Saturday, it started with completely different weather, because rain, wind and coldness replaced the sunny warm weather of Friday. Nevertheless, the whole afternoon there were once again live music acts on the Schouwburgplein. Starting with the Irish The Villagers, whom delivered a nice acoustic set, the place featured a few different stages, so one could hear and watch live bands all the time, although with the rain pouring down sometimes, it was not so enjoyable to watch the outdoor gigs. Nevertheless, the afternoon gave us a lot of nice interesting acts, some more established international ones in the big tent, while outside upcoming small local bands from all over The Netherlands were able to show their talents.


Arcade Fire’s main man Will Butler gave away a nice performance, although his way of singing is something you need to get used to and actually it all sounds quite messy, both vocally and songwise. Of course there were the bunch of die-hard fans whom love everything this man does, but after a while you’re done with it and want to move on to a next band. Outside an exciting new Dutch band called The Indien was playing and despite the horrible weather, one could hear and see a strong band performing soulful melodic poprock. The band comes out of The Hague and features a really wonderful singer and I hope to catch them live in a much better weather condition setting in the near future, because it became painful after a while to stand in the pouring rain.


I expected that the Dutch all-star band The Mysterons would deliver a strong set, but there was not really a spark to be found. The music of the female fronted band is a sorta psychedelic progressive hardrock adventure that is musically very interesting, but the vocals weren’t that strong I am afraid, especially if you compare it to those of the previous female singer of the band The Indien. The songs were sounding quite o.k., but I think in the future this will all improve and also the sound in the tent was not that enjoyable, so this was one of those gigs that you most likely forget about. It was the next band I Am Oak to deliver a nice folky set, but due to the rain we decided to stay in the tent and watch the UK band Menace Beach. These guys sounded like a typical alternative rockband and a really loud one actually, with a mixture of male and female vocals, some clear Nirvana and REM comparisons, but they threw in some powerpop to make life a bit more fun. From the afternoon set of bands, they were probably the finest and most professional, but on the other hand I am not convinced these guys will eventually make it really big.


Inside the Schouwburg it was all about to happen with The Staves, a band from the UK featuring 3 sisters (Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor) whom are playing perfectly streamlined melodic westcoast pop/rock, with a folk touch and bittersweet beautiful harmonyvocals. This was music to fall in love with instantly and makes you dream of those long summer sun days. Of course on a festival like this, people will complain that The Staves are far too commercial and they are just doing their thing without making it too exciting, but what they are doing is of such a high level, I am completely convinced that the band will move up to much higher stages in the future. They remind us of a cross between The Corrs, Fleetwood Mac, Webb Sisters, First Aid Kit and The Pierces, so not that original, but the combination of the 3 sisters’ vocals make it sound just so perfect here live on stage tonight that you only want to hear more and more of the wonderful sound of The Staves. I already had seen them a few years ago in a jam-packed Rotown in Rotterdam, where they convinced 100% and tonight they delivered an even stronger and more professional performance (with the help of 3 male musicians on drums, guitars and keys), although I have to admit that there were no surprises at all, but who cares if it is done as well as during tonight’s gig.


Inside the hall of the Rotterdam Schouwburg we witnessed more bands, of which the finest was definitely an upcoming new Belgian rockband called Tubelight. This band sounded tight and quite strong, like many other new Belgian bands at the moment whom seem to follow the footsteps taken by Triggerfinger. Tubelight rocked hard and featured a charismatic strong lead singer (sun of Guy Swinnen from the legendary Belgian band The Scabs!). Musically speaking they came across like a sorta heavier version of The Doors/Velvet Underground, so late 1960s psychedelic rock was the name of the game here and I believe they did not have a release yet, so keep your eyes open for this band in the future.


Up next in the former Lantaren Venster venue (where once in the very early 1980s bands like U2, Simple Minds, UB40 and hundreds more played before they had their breakthrough) was a very short 30-minutes only (she quit earlier than expected!) there was a performance by British singer/songwriter Holly Lapsley Fletcher, who comes out of a place called Southport. She is a talented18-year-old multi-instrumentalist with a classical background, playing the oboe, piano and guitar and singing exactly like Adele. The music was hi-tech ish and despite it all sounded quite impressive, she has a long way to go and I would highly recommend a more traditional way of the instrumental back-up, because what we miss here is a real rhythm section instead of 2 keyboards. She can sing like a Goddess, but at this point the songs are way too standard to impress and I feel she can do much more variation in her way of singing than sounding like a Adele copycat in a hi-tech mode.


The American band BC Camplight was something I was looking forward to, because this was a sorta early 80s sounding heartland-rockband, with influences from westcoast, aor and powerpop, but sadly live on stage they did not impress tonight. The band reminded me of countless acts from the early 1980s, such as Aerial, The Sparks and even a bit Michael Stanley Band, but somehow it all sounded a bit messy and there was not a single moment I personally was able to get caught up in the gig, which actually only happened on this Motel Mozaique edition during the performances of The Staves and Jake Isaac. Nevertheless, it was a nice standard gig that will not go into the books as legendary, but just another nice unknown American rockband you could see when entering a bar somewhere in the Midwest of the USA.


As already mentioned before, 2 acts cancelled and replacements were found and in the Paradijskerk (church) we went to see Half Way Station. This Dutch band was sort of Gothic Rock orientated and was a bit too loud for the venue, but on the other hand, the atmosphere was once again really great and especially the combination of the darkness and the light works so magnificent that any act will rise up in this church to higher places.


The Saturday was clearly focused on the more electronic and hi-tech synthesizer based acts, because Lapsley, The Notwist, Ghostpoet, Sea Change (also in the Paradijskerk and by far the best of all the acts in this genre), Fyfe and headliners Purity Ring from Canada (an almost Disney like show accompanied their music) all were present within a few hours of each other and that is perhaps a bit too much if you ask me, so let’s hope next time there will be a little more variation in the music. As a rock orientated journalist, I would definitely prefer some more rocking acts next time in the schedule, because despite we did witness a lot of smaller rockbands, there were no rocking headliners and that could make a difference for sure on a future edition. Purity Ring might have all the ingredients to become a major stadium act, it also narrows down the excitement for many people to see a traditional musician’s band, because after all, Purity Ring is more focused on image and visual aspects than on the music and instruments itself, so who knows this act becomes the next Lady Gaga or something.


Anyway, despite this was not the strongest edition of Motel Mozaique, there was a lot to enjoy and especially the performances of The Staves and Jake Isaac were memorable and those are in the memories of all the people that witnessed these legendary shows. We are already looking forward to the next edition of this wonderful Rotterdam based music friendly festival…

2014 year in review


Personal highlight in 2014 was finding the love of my life, Marieke. She was the missing piece of the puzzle in my life and I cannot imagine a life without her anymore. Climbing the Alpe d’huez on my racebike 3 times in June of 2014 was definitely another highlight, which will forever bring me beautiful memories of my anticipating in this good cause. My passion for writing about music will also never die and besides cycling 2000km for a good cause in The Netherlands in 2015, I will continue to write many more music related reviews/articles/interviews. What's been on the repeat mode this year on my phone while on my way to work, gym or whatsoever and what’s been playing on my vinyl record player (and CD player, feeling ashamed, but some albums are not released on vinyl!) at home are the following 2014 releases:


Top 20 Albums of 2014:

1          Allen Lande - The great divide

2          Threshold - For the journey

3          Harem Scarem - 13

4          Blues Pills - Blues Pills

5          War On Drugs - Lost in a dream

6          Temples - Sun structures

7          Brother Firetribe  - Diamond in the firepit'

8          Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams'

9          Ronny Lee  - Original retro

10        Royal Blood - Royal Blood

11        Lucius - Wildewoman

12        Enchant - The great divide    

13        Overland - Epic

14        Bear's Den - Without/within'

15        Brian Barnhouse - Clarified

16        The Black Keys - Turn blue

17        Marissa Nadler - July'

18        Dum Dum Girls - Too True

19        Audrey Horne - Pure heavy

20        Work Of Art – Frame of work 


Albums which need to be played more often:

Ex Hex – Rips

Sky Pilots  - Sky Pilots

Within Temptation - Hydra

St. Vincent - St. Vincent

Sharon van Etten – Are we there

Transatlantic – Kaleidoscope

Flying Colors - Second nature

First Aid Kit – Stay gold

Real Estate - Atlas

Bruce Springsteen  - High hopes

Riot V - Unleash the fire

Iced Earth - Plagues of Babylon

Elliot Brood - Work and love

Axel Rudi Pell - Into the storm

Dragonforce - Maximum overload

Toumani & Sidiki - Toumani & Sidiki

Hurray For the Riff Raff - Small Town Heroes


Classic re-issues on Vinyl:

Led Zeppelin   - First 3 albums

Threshold - Hypothetical       

Enchant -A blueprint of the world     

(looking forward to Nocturnal Rites next year)


And in the gigs/concerts/performances category, the following made an impression on yours truly:

The Scorpions – Ahoy, Rotterdam

Motel Mozaique (including Temples - De Rotterdam, Rotterdam   

North Sea Jazz day 3 (including Hall&Oates, Neneh Cherry) – Ahoy, Rotterdam

Songbird Festival day 2 (including Raul Midon, Hozier) – De Doelen, Rotterdam

Radkey - Rotown, Rotterdam

Cityrock/Into the grave Leeuwarden (including Vandenberg’s Moonkings, Within Temptation, Megadeth, Flotsam and Jetsam) - Leeuwarden Open-Air

TransAtlantic - 013, Tilburg

The Dictators - Rotown, Rotterdam  

Jeff Scott Soto - De Boerderij, Zoetermeer

Lucius - Rotown, Rotterdam



Live Gig Report by Gabor Kleinbloesem (Journalist/Writer/Contributor), lay-out by Myglobalmind Webzine


Saturday, 1th June 2013:

TOTO 9:00 p.m

SURVIVOR 7:15 p.m



FM 3:00 p.m

Entry 1:30 p.m


Sunday, 2nd June 2013:


JOURNEY 7:30 p.m

EUROPE 5:45 p.m


H.E.A.T 3:00 p.m

Entry 1:30 p.m


If there’s one location in the world where the sound during concerts is absolutely picture perfect and the views are breathtaking, then it should definitely be the Loreley location in Germany. Every summer this location is home to festivals and concerts featuring some of the most well-known acts in the music business, from the past to the present. The Loreley is an UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE, so a lot of foreign visitors come to see this beautiful part of the world. The venue is actually an outdoor-amphitheater at the top of a hill, standing tall at 150 meters. The closest village is the typical German Rhine River town of St. Goarshausen, where everybody comes together during the weekends before going up the hill to see some memorable performances in the afternoon and evening.

Anyway, the first weekend of June 2013 brought us the HI ROCK Festival, which is more or less a similar festival to the ROCK THE NATION and ARROW ROCK festivals of the 2000s. 2 days of live music (mainly covering the Classic Rock, AOR and Melodic Rock genres) at such a beautiful location is a must-see, especially when the weather conditions are summer ish, but in the few days the festival took place the biggest concern was the weather. However, believe it or not, not a single drop of rain fell during the festival, but the flooding of the rivers, caused due to the heavy rainfall elsewhere in Germany, this made it quite an adventurous trip. The day after the festival the whole town was under water, so if that had happened just one day earlier, the second day of the festival would probably have been cancelled. This did happen to the counterpart location of the same HI ROCK festival that took place in South Germany (Inzell), where the water in the rivers caused a lot of damage to the towns, with many flooded streets and roads. It was supposed to be a festival taking place on 2 days at 2 different locations, with a switch of the full line-up, so the Saturday acts of the Loreley location would move to Inzell for the Sunday schedule and vice versa the Saturday Inzell line-up play on Sunday at Loreley. Sadly the Sunday in Inzell was cancelled, but thankfully the Loreley festival location didn’t face any problems and so it was 2 days of high class live music.

The weather itself wasn’t too bad, although there was a major difference between Saturday and Sunday, because on Saturday it was freezing and bitterly cold, with winterish ‘feel’ temperatures far below 10 degrees, while on Sunday it was extremely hot with full-blown sunshine all day. Anyway, the festival consisted of a line-up that featured FM, RICK SPRINGFIELD, SURVIVOR and TOTO on Saturday and H.E.A.T., BLACK STAR RIDERS, EUROPE, WHITESNAKE and JOURNEY on Sunday.

FM opened the festival and it was good to see that right from the start a large crowd was enjoying this wonderful British AOR band. They performed at the same location 2 years ago and it felt like this time they sounded better and made a bigger impression. Lead singer/guitarist STEVE OVERLAND still has one of the greatest voices in Classic Rock/AOR and the overall performance was musically speaking picture perfect. The songs from especially their first album ‘Indiscreet’ sounded very close to the original version and that might just be the only negative remark to be made about FM, because everything sounds really excellent, but there’s hardly any improvisation. Nonetheless, it is fantastic to hear AOR classics like “Face to face”, “I belong to the night”, “That girl” and ”Other side of midnight” live at such a beautiful location, while also the cover “I heard it through the grapevine” and the newer songs “Over you” and “Crosstown train” should be mentioned as being the highlights of this strong performance by FM. The sound was so perfect and with the hills around the Loreley in the background, it feels a bit like we are “Closer to heaven”, one of the surprising songs played during the 1-hour performance of FM.

Up next was RICK SPRINGFIELD, who hasn’t performed in Germany since 1985 (!), so it was a nice welcome back for this legendary Australian singer-songwriter. It was also clear that a lot of people came to see his show, because normally speaking Rick only performs in the USA and just recently he started to also focus on the European continent. Anyway, if you never witnessed a show of Rick before, then you have no idea what to expect and so a lot of the visitors were entertained at a very high level for more than 1 hour. The sound board was not as good as during the FM show, because there were some troubles with the mixing of the vocals and the tuning of Rick’s guitar during the beginning of the show, but basically this was a true Rock and Roll show like you don’t see that often. Especially the interaction with the audience was remarkable. Rick went into the crowd during “Human touch”, walking like a madman through the audience and eventually trying to find his way back to the stage. “Don’t talk to strangers” featured a sing-a-long part for the audience, where he challenged people to sing the chorus and this led to a young child standing alone at the stage singing the chorus in front of thousands of people. Rick himself was running all over the stage, throwing guitars in the air and from a distance you wouldn’t think he was already 64 years old! Besides a string of the classics from the past (“Jessie’s girl”, “Affair of the heart”, “Living in Oz”, “Celebrate youth”), also a couple of new songs were played, including the recent song Rick wrote with DAVE GROHL from the FOO FIGHTERS for the SOUND CITY movie. In contrary to the FM show, this was entertainment at a high scale, although the difference might be that musically speaking FM was better than Rick. I guess you can say that both were a must-see/hear, with FM being a must-hear and Rick a must-see.

Then it was up to SURVIVOR to put on a show they haven’t done in ages, because usually they play in front of a few hundred people in the USA and now they had a huge crowd to perform for and secondly, they had a very interesting recent line-up change. 2 years ago they cancelled their show at the Loreley, but now they entered the stage and performed a full show. Just a couple of weeks ago their original lead singer DAVE BICKLER joined the band and so it was beforehand going to be an interesting performance, because also JIMI JAMISON was present as lead singer. This way, guitarist FRANKIE SULLIVAN could easily switch between old and less older material from the SURVIVOR catalogue, but also dig out some of the more rare stuff from the glorious SURVIVOR past. Although Jimi is much more a frontman and a better singer than Dave nowadays, it turned out to be a great gig with both singers doing quite well. The soundboard during the first couple of songs was a bit messy and so we had to wait until the 2 surprises before we could really get into the show. “Rebel girl” was actually a major surprise, because not only is this is a great classic SURVIVOR tune from the early days, but also the performance of the song with Dave on vocals sounded sensational. Jimi’s answer with “It’s the singer, not the song” was another highlight in the setlist. It almost felt like SURVIVOR was about to become the winner of Saturday when the keyboards signaled the intro of “I’m not that man anymore”, but sadly it was only a glimpse of that classic tune, because the tempo was slowed down and “The search is over” was played. Despite this is a classic SURVIVOR ballad, the performance on the HI ROCK FESTIVAL was a boring version that sounded like an old vinyl single being played at 33 RPM instead of 45 RPM! The Rocky anthems “Burning heart” and “Eye of the tiger” were of course played as well and they got the audience back on their feet again, jumping up and down and singing-along enthusiastically. After the show, there were clearly mixed feelings about the performance, because it had its fair share of ups and downs, but overall it was a memorable SURVIVOR concert. I think they need to practice and improve a bit more, work on the setlist and make advantage of the unique selling point of having both SURVIVOR on stage. Likewise we will always miss the energy of JIM PETERIK on keyboards, because without him it’s just not 100% SURVIVOR, but compared to earlier performances of the past 10-15 years (such as the dreadful Arrow Rock show or probably any ROBIN MCAULEY fronted gig), this must have been the best SURVIVOR concert since the early 1990s.

25 minutes before TOTO was scheduled to play, they already entered the stage, because apparently the band couldn’t wait longer. Right from the very first minute it was also clear that this was by far the best act of the whole festival. Everything sounded and looked perfect and actually it seemed like this was the best TOTO line-up ever, because lead singer JOSEPH WILLIAMS never sounded better and instrumental the bandmembers were definitely reaching the best you can get in musicianship. The sound was crystal clear and visually it looked absolutely amazing, with the glorious landscape and mountains in the background, this TOTO concert belonged to one of the best I have witnessed in ages. The setlist was also interesting, because besides the typical classics (“Rosanna”, “Africa”, “Hold the line”, “Home of the brave”, “Stop loving you”, etc.), especially the beginning of the concert featured some of the more rare material of the band’s back catalogue (“On the run”, “Goin’ home”, etc.). Not a single negative remark can be said about this TOTO concert, because everything ran smoothly during the 100+ minutes counting adventure. It felt like a beautiful movie we were all part of, really taking you into a long journey that taught you a music history lesson, because that is basically what TOTO is all about, combining all music genres and still making everyone happy. For me personally, TOTO is the ultimate live and also the most diverse AOR band ever, easily beating the somewhat standardized JOURNEY. Towards 22:30 it was completely dark outside and the TOTO show ended. Without a doubt, it was clear that it would seem unlikely for any other band (on Sunday) to beat TOTO.

Whereas the Saturday was an AOR/lightweight Poprock affair, the Sunday was a Hardrock orientated line-up, with as only real AOR band JOURNEY whom actually closed the festival. The summer sun already began to shine during the morning, so everything looked perfect for this 2nd day. The Swedish newcomers of H.E.A.T. kicked off and it was clear that they wanted to show an even better performance than 2 years earlier when they were part of the Loreley festival ROCK THE NATION. The energy of the band was really appealing, just like the performance by RICK SPRINGFIELD the day before. Musically the guys bring 80s type of fun uptempo DANGER DANGER/BON JOVIish Melodic Rock that is made for Arena’s like this. Although vocally it is not 100% picture perfect, H.E.A.T.’s 1 hour concert is very entertaining, with quite a nice selection of songs from their catalogue, such as “100 miles”, “Falling down” and “Living on the run”, which are all easy to sing-a-long tunes that feature clever infectious melodic choruses. The combination of warm sunny weather, beautiful women, a fantastic landscape as background and some great live music, that makes this 2nd day visually better than the 1st day.

blackstarriders 2 300x199 HI Rock Festival at Loreley, Germany June 1st and 2nd, 2013blackstarriders 1 300x199 HI Rock Festival at Loreley, Germany June 1st and 2nd, 2013

However, the 2nd act BLACK STAR RIDERS is more or less musically not as good as one might expect when learning about the fact that this actually concerns a band made up of ex-THIN LIZZY guitarist SCOTT GORHAM, vocalist RICKY WARWICK, guitarist DAMON JOHNSON, bassist MARCO MENDOZA and drummer JIMMY DEGRASSO. Although they are said to be a homage to THIN LIZZY, with many songs of that band in their setlist and a full album worth of original material in the style of the old THIN LIZZY, this concert was nowhere near the legendary THIN LIZZY concerts. Spell breaker is definitely vocalist RICKY WARWICK, who just is not able to sing very well and the only time the band has something of interest to offer are during the THIN LIZZY classic “The boys are back in town” and the band’s own song “Bound for glory”. Especially the part where Ricky invited the crowd to sing-a-long was not something to be proud of at all. Anyway, a lot of people thought differently as much closer to the stage there were quite a lot of enthusiastic fans.

Although JOURNEY eventually became the headliner of the Sunday, it was clear that EUROPE and WHITESNAKE were also headline status acts and especially EUROPE completely blew away most of the other bands on Sunday. The only slight remark one can make about them is the standard setlist, because EUROPE has a huge back catalogue, but has been playing the same songs ever since their comeback (kind alike JOURNEY actually) and only adds a few new tunes whenever a new record is released. Nonetheless, the show of EUROPE is pure masterclass, the way a good entertaining Hardrockshow needs to be. Of course the classics pass by and despite a slightly manufactured version of “Carrie”, the band truly rocks during the songs from the first couple of albums (“Seven doors hotel” and “Scream of anger”) and the newer bluesy melodic hardrock material, but to most people the absolute highlights are of course the anthems “The final countdown”, “Cherokee” and “Rock the night” when nobody was able to ignore singing along. JOEY TEMPEST is a fantastic frontman and JOHN NORUM a must-hear for any guitarists, so combined with a tight performance and high quality material, EUROPE should now be considered as a Classic Rockband that should last until the end of time!

whitesnake 1 300x199 HI Rock Festival at Loreley, Germany June 1st and 2nd, 2013whitesnake 2 300x199 HI Rock Festival at Loreley, Germany June 1st and 2nd, 2013


For me personally WHITESNAKE is over and out, because DAVID COVERDALE is not only the weakest link in his own band, but also the full line-up of the band does not make any sense to still call it WHITESNAKE. Of course it is David’s band, but after the performance here on HIROCK it is clear that there is no future left for this band, in contrary to previous act EUROPE. First of all, the sound/mixboard in the beginning of the concert was extremely loud and must have turned people deaf who were standing upfront. And David’s continuous screaming through his mic didn’t help either, so the first couple of songs were quite annoying actually. It became a little better during “Is this love”, although this classic sounded quite boring, with David singing in an uninspired low key. More WHITESNAKE classics followed, all performed instrumentally quite well, but vocally (especially during “Still of the night”) sounding very weak. Also the endless drum- and guitar solo’s couldn’t prevent David’s vocal problems, so all together it was quite an embarrassing performance that was completely overshadowed by the excellent performances of especially TOTO, EUROPE and closing headliner act JOURNEY. 

JOURNEY put on an almost similar performance to their appearance 2 years ago when they also headlined the similar ROCK THE NATION festival at the Loreley location. Of course vocalist Arnel Pineda is not STEVE PERRY and he will never ever be able to replace him, but the high energy and fun of a JOURNEY show is always entertaining and without a doubt, from start to finish this is a high quality performance. It has all the tricks and trades one expects from a good solid rockshow. The setlist is focused on the older STEVE PERRY sung AOR Classics from the 1978-1983 period and here you get to hear and see them all, with of course “Separate ways”, “Don’t stop believin’”, “Open arms”, “Only the young”, “Stone in love” and so many others being the absolute highlights and perfectly ending this successful HI ROCK FESTIVAL at the stunning Loreley location.

Please find all additional info on the festival at their websites at: and  




Ending the year with a hot new female fronted AOR sensation from The Netherlands named M-GENES, featuring Mike van Mulukom on guitar and Maaike Janssen on vocals. If you like JACKLYN, FIONA, TORONTO, HEART, IF ONLY, PAT BENATAR, etc. then you are going to love this a lot. I was blown away by the incredible high quality of these 2 gifted musicians, whom are combining superb guitarwork with beautiful melodies that are sung brilliantly. Maaike has got an incredible tone in her voice and every fan of the classic 80s female aor/melodic rocksound will fall in love here! I am already looking forward to 2013, when they will release a first full-length CD (hopefully also on Vinyl), so to speak I feel very confident to promote this sensational act from my own country in the forthcoming months. In the meantime check out their video of their song "Rat race" below... 






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The good old LP / Vinyl record faced a difficult time during the 1990s and 2000s, but since the beginning of 2010 it seems the LP is making a huge comeback and now in 2012 it is the only format within the music industry that seems be heading for a bright future in actually making profit, especially compared to the downward trend of sales in the CD market. Personally speaking I have always been more of a vinyl junkie than a CD collector, but between 1991 and 2009 hardly anything of the new releases was released on LP, so the only existing format one could turn to was the CD. One way or the other, money making recordlabels are now aware of the fact that they can make more profit with a vinyl release than a CD release, so at the moment a lot of new albums are released on both formats and I do suspect that in 10 years from now the CD will be beaten by the LP/Vinyl record again. Although I am more than happy this change of music format climate has happened, I feel quite concerned about the quality of some of the releases, because some of the re-issues do sound quite awful. For instance the 1980s METALLICA re-issues on LP from a few years ago were really awful, both the sound of the vinyl and the artwork did not have any soul, so be especially aware with any vinyl re-issue.

However, also some of the vinyl releases of new albums seem to be a cash-in/rush-hush effect and that is of course not a good thing, because if you listen carefully to some of the 1980s original LP releases, one can clearly hear that vinyl is able to provide you the best possible sound quality. The most annoying thing about new vinyl is that the volume of the music has a real soft sound, especially compared to the old vinyl records and almost every new vinyl record requires you to turn up the volume up to max in order to really hear the included music.

I do feel that it’s all a matter of money and passion for the love of vinyl that can make the difference and happily there are still enough people out there who do care in bringing a high quality vinyl release of a new album. Anyway, I have myself bought these past few years over 100 new vinyl releases and although some did sound a bit so-and-so and are perhaps overshadowed by a higher quality CD release of the same album, the incredible almost “happy-child feeling” one gets when opening the sealed record, putting the album on the turntable and looking at the artwork is the same feeling you get when you get home after a long day of working hard!

Anyway, I already own a huge collection of vinyl records dating back to the 1968-1993 period, of which most were actually bought during the 1990s, when there was a major clear-out of vinyl at record stores and trades. Now it is nice to see all these new albums being released on vinyl, so the collection can grow with newly recorded material and that of course is really interesting, also to share on Strutter’zine. Below is a short overview of the records I bought myself these past 2 or 3 years, with a small review/comment on the album.

A few of the specialized labels really jumped on the vinyl releasing business, because especially NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS, ROADRUNNER, AFM RECORDS and FRONTIERS RECORDS are delivering a lot of vinyl records of their most well-known new album releases. It’s no wonder that these are all high quality releases, which you can easily purchase. AVANTASIA’s ‘The Metal Opera’ has been very nicely released as double-vinyl sets each part and all of them look and sound very collector-ish, so definitely something to check out, especially since they were never available on vinyl and without a doubt, the artwork looks so much better now than on the tiny crappy CD covers. Also highly recommended are the 4 vinyl releases that were released of all the PSYCHOTIC WALTZ albums, because the artwork and also the included Progressive Metal is just amazing. This American band one of the most underrated bands in this genre and their reunion live performances earlier this year showed this band is still able to provide high quality music that was far ahead of its time in the early 1990s. The NWOBHM genre is one that simply screams for vinyl releases and we have seen many releases on the LP format the past few years, both independently and on the NWOBHM specialized label HIGH ROLLER RECORDS. On this label a lot of old/early 80s ‘rare’ NWOBHM bands’ recordings are released on vinyl, usually a collection of demos, singles and rare live recordings. These are visually always high quality releases, but the sound/production is not always picture-perfect, because some of the releases suffer from a weaker sound quality due to the fact these are rare homemade recordings from 30+ years ago. Nevertheless I did enjoy my purchases of the album releases by AXIS, SPARTA and such. More interesting however are the wave of new NWOBHM style bands that emerge from all over the world and their new albums sound really great on vinyl. I am talking about CAULDRON (‘Burning fortune’/Canada), GHOST (‘Opus eponymous’/Sweden), IN SOLITUDE (‘The world: the flesh: the devil’/Sweden), SKULL FIST ‘Head of the pack’/Canada), WHITE WIZZARD (‘Flying tigers’/USA), VANDERBUYST (‘In Dutch’/Holland) and TWISTED TOWER DIRE (‘Make it dark’/USA), 6 highly recommended albums with excellent artwork as well. All sounding like a cross between the classic sound of early IRON MAIDEN, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, TOKYO BLADE and JAGUAR. The vinyl world is very kind to this genre, releasing new albums of old (30+ years!) and new (2011) recordings.

Almost any major act from the past, whom haven’t released anything on vinyl the past 20 years and/or any of the bands that have been active the past 20 years, they are all now jumping to vinyl and the ones I bought the past few years are the new albums of JOURNEY, MAGNUM, THE SCORPIONS, STRATOVARIUS, URIAH HEEP, MR. BIG, NEVERMORE, BLIND GUARDIAN, KAMELOT, OPETH, ORPHANED LAND and several others. Although some of these are really not groundbreaking musically speaking, this year’s new albums of MR. BIG, URIAH HEEP, SYMPHONY X (gotta love those Gatefold records!), PAGAN’S MIND (one of the highlights in progmetal this year) and OPETH are worth checking out definitely. OPETH seems to be a pure progband on their new record ‘Heritage’, which is an incredible progfest in the style of SPOCK’S BEARD and TRANSATLANTIC and perhaps might become the finest progalbum in 2011 and without a doubt, you gotta get the vinyl version, which comes as a beautiful gatefold record.

Across the Atlantic, the US Major Labels were quite desperately a few years ago before the Vinyl Explosion, because the music industry drastically changed regarding sales in CDs, but of course the Americans surely know how to make or create new business again and so almost any major release is now pressed onto Vinyl. It is however a huge pity that a lot of these releases do not make it to Europe and are only available for expensive prices through the Internet. Luckily I managed to get some of the rare US Import Vinyl releases, such as WE ARE THE FALLEN (EVANESCENCE members with a superb AMERICAN IDOLS finalist as singer, sounds heavier and more akin to the European Female Fronted Melodic Metalsound), THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM (cool traditional US Rockband), CASTLE and ROYAL THUNDER (Underground Doom sounding, female fronted bands a la THE DEVIL’S BLOOD), NEON TREES (typical modern sounding New Wave ish Poprock, quite melodic and sometimes filled with 80s AOR like melodies), STEEL PANTHER (although they just released their new album, their debut is so much better, a classic in the parody genre, easily beats any SPINAL TAP release!) and the bunch of ROADRUNNER RECORDS releases of DREAM THEATER (haven’t bought the new one yet!) and modern-day American Nu-Metal releases of BLACK STONE CHERRY, ALTER BRIDGE and STONE SOUR that all sound way more melodic than anyone would guess!

Really major acts like WITHIN TEMPTATION and FOO FIGHTERS also deliver some great new Vinyl records earlier in 2011 and I do have to remind anyone to try to pick-up any of the Picture Discs that have been released by the Swedish label INNER WOUND RECORDS whom deliver really excellent collector item’s for the AOR/Melodic Rockfans among us, namely the latest albums of GIANT, W.E.T and DANGER DANGER, with high hopes for more releases in the near future.

Although the artwork looks quite stunning most of the time, sometimes the sound is not always crystal clear and I can only hope that in the future new material will be recorded specifically for a Vinyl release and if necessary is printed on CD afterwards, because now some of the releases seem to be taken just from the CD mastering tapes and one can clearly hear that. Another remark that should be mentioned is regarding the diversity in Vinyl appearance, because you never know what to expect. In the past and especially during the 1980s records were almost only released on the well-known black vinyl format, which is by far the best sounding format for Vinyl. However, the new releases seem to be coming in all kinds of colours (orange, blue, pink…) and then there are the PICTURE DISCS… it all looks very nice, but personally I prefer the good old fashioned black appearance, because that provides the best possible sound quality and does not make you go confused when looking at the turntable as the record is making its 33 inch spinning!

Concluded, we still have a long way to go, but the trend is clearly pointing in the right direction, which is an acceptance of the comeback of the vinyl record and more and more new albums are pressed onto it. It only seems that quantity is getting an issue, because there are so many new Vinyl releases done each week, it is hard to get track of every release and also which of them are really quality releases. If anyone actually read my essay here and is interested in more info or in-depth reviews of new vinyl releases, then feel free to sent a message to: also if you have an LP you want to see reviewed by us, please sent a copy and we will always do a full in-depth review...