Subbacultcha! Presents: Hospital Bombers, Deze, Vinko Eerenstein, De Nieuwe Anita, Amsterdam, 10/10/09
Ah De Nieuwe Anita, one of those uber-trendy, yet almost Colonial havens where it is frowned upon to attempt even to speak anything but “urban” English. (Have these people not read Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One?). Never mind, once inside the comfortably shabby interior (shabby through design, not ages of use, mind) Incendiary settled down for a top evening with good friends in the shape of Hospital Bombers who were launching their splendid new single When the Cows Come Home, (and preparing for a mini-US tour) and Dutch–language garage band Deze, which is driven by the union of two underground stars; Natasha from Appie Kim and Henk from Hallo Venray.
First on the night’s bill, though, was Vinko Eerenstein, who is a man armed with an acoustic guitar and a set of wry observational songs which, (to me and my imperfect understanding of de Nederlands taal) seemed to be about his unfortunate experiences at school. He has a pleasant, deep voice that would be great to listen to in a quiet setting, though De Nieuwe Anita’s stage (being as it is on a level below the bar) isn’t really a quiet setting. Still he soldiered on with aplomb. I get the feeling I’d quite enjoy his music if I were Dutch.
Next were Deze, who have a really splendid 7” single out (with exemplary psyched-out artwork provided yet again by Viktor Hachmang) that berates drunks and c-list fame, Dutch style. Deze, as mentioned before, boasts a strong musical axis of Natasha van Waardenburg and Henk Koorn; and unites their mutual love of slobbering, angry garage-rock guitar sounds. But before we describe their gig further, a flippant aside. Watching from the balcony, we were struck that the three-piece (with an affable gent called Nick on drums) is possibly the best hair band in Holland.
They are impeccably groomed in the follicle department, so much so that they could easily sneak through a few rounds on X Factor without anyone noticing. Back to reality. Deze carved out a strong set: they’re actually quite brilliant in that they are a straightforward proposition, (think the Move’s or the Troggs’ “heavy” phases, think the Litter with proper amplification), with a weird undercurrent that is very confident in its expression. They frankly don’t give a shit, Stooges style. You do get the feeling that they could get smug, but if they tried to widen their horizons they could be epic. For now, this gig had an element of a laugh and a giggle amongst friends and like-minded souls. We’d like to see them out in the wide world.
Last up were Hospital Bombers whose night it was. The Hospies have a gentle, freewheeling vibe live which is at odds with their records. There are many stops and starts but that’s fine, it’s part of the package and when you’ve got such a strong set of melodies (and can actually play them with a fair bit of verve) it matters not a jot. After all this band is one of the few around that can pull off that quiet, innocent Johnny Richman vibe without ever sounding conceited or affected, and believe me that takes some doing. They start with the brilliant b-side of the new single, Butterfly and continue with a set packed with tunes from the new LP and yes, old favourites such as Devil’s Music. It turns out to be bassist Remco’s last gig with the band which is a shame, but you can’t see this lot being anything but big soon.
After the music, drinks were provided, Incendiary and Miss van Waardenburg discussed stone circles and the treatment of dogs, Mr Hachmang railed against the trendiness of the Anita’s art-school clientele and Subbacultcha’s Leon spurned the advantages of drinking the splendid beer known as Vedett (shame that)…
Good do all round!
Words: Richard Foster
Pics: Mariska Van den Hoven