Saturday, February 16, 2008

What's Going On in the Lowlands?

Bands Contest

what: The Clash of the Titans
where: dB's Studio, Utrecht
when: February 15, Friday night
how (much): 4 €

Located in a postindustrial middle of nowhere, the dB's Studio is the place where many alternative Utrechter use to go. It's here that you can listen to the most interesting local bands challenging each other gig after gig. I heard about the Tweede Halve Finale (Second Half Final) of the so called Clash of the Titans by my flatmate H who's really going into the Dutch scene.
As a self proclamed international talent scout, I couldn't miss the event. Considering how my knowledge of Dutch music doesn't go further than Shocking Blue, The Ex, Bettie Serveert and Solex I really had to be in the first row. That's why I went to the dB's together with my favorite Focus Group. We tied our bikes to the gigantic structure of a wooden billboard which looked like a wreck.
Then we came in. First impression: a Dutch diner packed with people wearing flannel shirts chatting discreetly around while looking the bottom of their glasses of Grolsch (a Dutch beer).
We paid. A guy stamped blue ink on our hands. We came into the ballroom.

Five bands were going to be on stage.

Unfortunately we missed Natureboy, the first one. According to the dB's website, they brengt jazzy funk met hiphopinvloeden compleet met trompet. Een partyband van het zuiverste water. What a pity mumbled the whole Focus Group.

Band #2: Leslie Grows
(...) mooie gelaagde composities, op professionele wijze ten uitvoer gebracht. Hier is over nagedacht zonder daarbij te veel te vervallen in indierock clichés. Three very tall and very Dutch guys and a drummer. The bass player looked like 18 years old. They played good and with a great personality on stage albeit the reaction of the audience wasn't that great. Quite original sound with a good combination of guitars and decent English lyrics. At the end of the night it happened they were the closer band to the kind of music I like. They could have a brilliant career.
Rating: 7+
RSVP: Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah!

Band #3: Reflexy
There were great expectations for them. All the crowd came closer to the stage as soon as they jumped on it. Energieke Nederhop met veel funk-invloeden. In fact they were very energetic, being the proud ambassadors of the U-Town hip hop community. Reflexy weren't that original in dressing and moving, looking like the concurrents of a Philly Spoken Word Contest, yet they were explosive in rhyming. Two MC's and a (poor) beat creator. They rhymed in Dutch, but motherfucking a lot. People were crazy for them and so was I, laughing every now and then (even if they did not piss on us at the end of the gig like I had told to my Focus Group).
Rating: 6.5 (for the music) 8.5 (for the show)
RSVP: Beastie Boys

Band #4: Alura
Combinatie van progressieve rock en met metal gebracht door een geoliede band en een zeer overtuigende frontvrouw. The melancholic side of metal, as we joked before, during and after their gig. Imagine three guys in Dream Theather and Stratovarius t-shirts in search of a good haircut and a pink-haired lady with a powerful voice and a great presence on stage. Less metal stereotyped than I thought, nevertheless not my glass of beer. I felt the pain coming upwards.
Rating: 6
RSVP: Evanescence (sic!)

Band #5: I Wish I Knew
Aparte combinatie die muzikaal klinkt als postrock/shoegazer. They were supposed to be shoegazers or something. Considering how much I like bands such as Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine,
I was very curious to see IWIK (gosh!) on stage. They built a good wall of distorted guitars. They had a fascinating female singer who looks and wears like Isobel Campbell moving herself in a hypnotic way. Yet she sang plainly, just showing traces of a charming angel/sinner double personality while screaming in a smile. Nice gig though. But guys, please change your name!
Rating: 7
RSVP: Slowdive

After an exhausting waiting of 5 Dutch minutes (55 wristwatch minutes) Alura were proclaimed winners of the clash. Together with Reflexy (yo!) they will go to the Final. Me and the Focus Group agreed the Utrecht Scene is not that bad. Then we went out cycling back home in the freezing cold.


Icepick said...

What's the venue like?

That's where King Khan and BBQ Show are playing on Thursday.

Have you checked them out yet?

vicky said...

I'll be part of your focus group anytime.