The sun shines on the righteous, or so they say… and as BOSPOP 2016 was blessed with totally perfect weather, I’m guessing that we must have been ticking someone’s boxes since last year!
Aside from the meteorological aspects – trying saying that after a couple of Jupilers – BOSPOP 2016 was always going to rock till we dropped… like Walter Trout, Steve Vai and Carlos Santana weren’t going to blow us away with their master guitar skills? But in the big picture of things, those three performances were encompassed in a total of 26 top quality sets aka THE bargain of the year when you break down the ticket price per act.
BOSPOP #36 was in fact, my 7th visit and as I write this, my head is still full of the great music I heard and saw. So what exactly are BOSPOP’s USPs when compared to other such festivals you might be thinking…
Well, to begin with, there is definitely a sense of Bonding on the festival site and by that, I mean there is a feeling of “already knowing someone” even when you don’t sort of thing… bump into someone accidentally at BOSPOP and in my experience, they smile at you or they simply start chatting to you about the bands, their life, whatever… and if you get extra lucky, you might even learn a few key swear words in Dutch while you eat your lunch! There is also a strong emphasis on Original music and by that, I mean that most of the artists are there to perform and promote their own material.
Then there’s the Second-stage and although this is effectively like a tent you might see at the circus, the atmosphere when you are in this area of the festival site is magical. And of course BOSPOP wouldn’t happen without the People who make it all possible – this is where I get to plug and thank the mini-army of volunteers who make BOSPOP happen on so many levels and of course, the outstanding way everything is Organised.
Last, but by no means least, there is the Programme – what I wouldn’t give to be a fly-on-the-wall during the discussions that decide who will be part of the festival line up because somehow, the mixx is always perfect and there really is something for everyone.
And so to the music.
I still haven’t mastered the art of being everywhere and seeing every band’s full set because there is always so much going on but here’s an overview of miBOSPOP 2016 with a dash of interactiveness thrown in for good measure.
So, if you’re ready to join me, buckle-up and… let’s go!
Mainstage 11:30 / 12:15
Midas (Midas Treub) had the honour of launching BOSPOP 2016 from the mainstage. Performing as a solo artist these days after a run with successful Dutch band, The Fudge, Midas is working on his debut album due for release this year and if you check out his website, you’ll hear a teaser from said album as well as a voice that sounds uncannily like Neil Dann or Steely Young depending on the angle you are listening from. A name to listen out for.
Second-stage 12:15 / 13:00
Vido & Harmonie St. Antonius kicked off the second-stage programme filling the stage with his BIG band ensemble. Vido has actually been part of the BOSPOP scene right from the start in 1981 when his band was one of a grand total of four bands that were on the line up that year! Note to self: get butt into gear the next time there is an opportunity to see this performer in action.
Mainstage 13:00 / 14:00
Eisbrecher fall into the seriously “hard and heavy” genre ala similar German rockers, Rammstein but of course, with their own twists, style and sense of fun on stage. I didn’t actually watch the set although I certainly heard it as it thundered across the festival site – and beyond! But here’s the thing… German band singing in German but speaking English to a predominately Dutch/Belgian crowd? Not a problem o/a the fact that most of the Dutch/Belgian population are blessed with a minimum of three active languages… I so wish!! Here is a clip from Eisbrecher’s 60-minute set.
Second-stage 14:00 / 15:00
DeWolff made their BOSPOP debut in 2012 and I remember thinking how “young” they were when I saw them in the Press Area giving interviews. Four years later, and they still look young (to me!), but my goodness, what a hugely talented trio. Hailing from the same geographical region as BOSPOP, i.e. Limburg, the band describe themselves as a “psychedelic blues band” and have been making music for the best part of a decade. They absolutely rocked the second-stage with their impressive performance.
Mainstage 15:00 / 16:00
The Waterboys unwittingly provided the background music for a much-needed pit stop in the übercool, Crossroads section of the festival site – yes, you can actually sit down on benches or flop onto squashy bean bags or even perch yourself on used tyres that have been very cleverly cut and re-designed to provide a resting place for your weary soul if you feel the need, that is. Me? I was hungry by this point and found a fabulous burger outlet called, SmoothFood – none of your junk stuff here… just good quality, wholesome, freshly-made and more to the point, reasonably priced sustenance. I digress from Mike Scott and the Waterboys who were in the meantime doing a stellar job performing the hits they are recognised for like, Medicine Bow, The Whole of the Moon (my favourite even though it was the middle of the afternoon) and A Girl Called Johnny. Good to see/hear the ‘boys here again after a four year hiatus.
The one thing I can’t really replicate here is the din of hundreds of plastic cups being trodden on by a continuous wave of hokey-cokeying people moving in-out-shake-it-all-about sort of thing through the tent area on their way to… somewhere – the fine art of paying a deposit on your drinking cups as a way of enticing you to return them to the bar in one piece hasn’t quite reached BOSPOP – yet! Accordingly, the wooden floor tends to attract most of the debris and suffice to say, the result is LOUD!
Second-stage 16:00 / 17:00
Maria Mena walked onto the second-stage at precisely 4pm and what followed was like a scene from The Dome… you know, the TV serial where a seemingly invisible barrier lands from nowhere effectively creating a “here” and “there” situation.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Norwegian-born Maria Mena perform, my first visual impression of her was that of a real-life Pocahontas-esque image as she made her way, ever so gracefully, to the centre mic and began to sing. From that moment, it was like a shutter had come down around me and the only sound I heard was Maria’s voice and her band.
Captivating doesn’t begin to describe the hold Maria had on her spellbound audience as she performed a selection of her material including: You’re The Only One, Just Hold Me, All This time, I Don’t Want To See You With Her, Growing Pains, F*** You (Maria’s thoughts about cyber bullying) and Caught Off Guard (Floored By Love).
Actually, I was the one who was (slightly) caught off guard here because I have heard some of Maria’s material being played on the radio but hadn’t quite joined up the dots… duh! I also experienced a déja vu moment when the people standing nearest to me were singing along with Maria, word perfect to every song – in English, of course… this happened last year too when Fish performed on the same stage!
Listening to Maria singing is an incredibly intimate experience because her lyrics tell stories… soulful, eloquent, open… but above all, they are her own stories. Evocative doesn’t do justice to her work and that is just one aspect of what makes her such an incredibly interesting artist to observe and to listen to… it’s like WYSIWYG… in other words, what you see is what you get. Her latest album, Growing Pains, is a result of Maria processing painful elements of her fairly recent private life through her song-writing and as I don’t want to spoil her interview with Marc Tyley, I’ll let the MP3 take over from here.
As things turned out, I found a new best friend during the set… a local lady called Monique, whose enthusiasm for Maria’s songs was hard to ignore so much so that I will be going to Maria’s show at the end of October when she comes to Hannover and will enjoy getting lost in her music all over again.
A totally wonderful set from Maria Mena, certainly one of the 2016 highlights for me.
After the show, Maria very graciously took time out to speak to Marc Tyley who was on site with his recording equipment ready to capture the moment, as it were, for his Greatest Hits Show on Manx Radio.
Maria Mena talks to Marc Tyley
Mainstage 17:00 / 18:00
Flogging Molly could be described as LA’s answer to the Dropkick Murphys, and accordingly, changed the tempo considerably with their set of Celtic punk-style music. Moshing ain’t allowed at BOSPOP but pogo-ing, clapping, punching the air and jigging are! Fiddle, pipes, accordion, a healthy rhythm section, guitars, banjo, strong vocals, energy and enthusiasm… everything you need for a traditional Irish/American/Dutch-style knees-up and judging by the colours of the wristbands in this video clip, there were a LOT of happy campers here!
Second-stage 18:00 / 19:00
Walter Trout stopped off at BOSPOP during a tour promoting his latest studio album, Battle Scars… and how apt that album title is considering the fact that Walter was diagnosed with severe liver disease that resulted in him actually having a liver transplant and something he openly acknowledges with every breath he takes.
Emotionally-charged doesn’t begin to describe Walter’s set. To begin with, he was welcomed on stage with a rapturous reception akin to what one might expect if had scored the winning goal for the Dutch National Football Team in a World Cup Final.
Powerful doesn’t begin to describe the energy that exploded from his guitar as Walter tore his way through songs from the new album, stopping here and there to catch his breath and quietly explain a little bit of his “almost gone” experience.
Joined on stage by his son, Jon Trout, who just happens to have inherited his dad’s command of an electric guitar – and then some… long-time keyboard player Sammy Avila, drummer Michael Leasure, bassist Johnny Griparic and guest on vocals, Tour Manager, Andrew Elt… this was a momentous performance from one of The Netherlands’ favourite sons.
Walter Trout talks to Marc Tyley
Mainstage 19:00 / 20:00
The Cranberries made a return visit to BOSPOP and changed the tempo once again with their pop/rock set. Fronted by lead singer, Delores O’Riordan they quickly garnered an almighty assemblage of word-perfect backing singers as their fans joined in and assisted as and when. I didn’t see the whole set unfortunately but I managed to catch a couple of nice shots of Delores as she wandered over to my side of the stage.
Second-stage 20:00 / 21:00
Kovacs made her debut appearance at BOSPOP in 2014 and quite honestly, blew us away with her powerful vocal prowess. Although I was off being busy on another part of the festival site at this point in the programme, I’m more than happy to report that Kovacs still has the “X” factor and as you will see from the short compilation video clips from her set below, she totally took full command of the second-stage… again!
Mainstage 21:00 / 22:00
Seal’s first BOSPOP appearance totally rocked and in his own words, he hopes this won’t be his last. One high-energy hit followed another – as one might expect from an artist of Seal’s calibre . There’s a really great video interview with him that was made straight after his set by the BOSPOP video crew just as the sun was going down on the first day.
Compilation videos of The Cranberrries, Kovacs and Seal
Second-stage 22:00 / 23:00
Selah Sue is a hugely successful Belgian R&B singer / songwriter and although she was a completely new name to me, she is certainly not a newcomer to the music business having released her first album around 6 years ago. She reminded me little bit of Duffy, with her husky, soulful vocal deliveries as she brought the pulse of the second-stage down a tad as the first day was approaching its end.
23:00 / 00:30
Nena, Germany’s own Queen of Pop and she who will be forever associated with “99 Luftballons” and – if you were a Top Of The Pops fan back in the day, unshaved armpits! Nena closed day one of BOSPOP 2016 with an exciting 90-minute set accompanied by at least 99 balloons of varying shapes and sizes bobbing across the festival site while she performed. I’m sorry to say that I was already on my way back to the shuttle bus while most of this was going on but check out this video clip and I think you’ll agree it was a great way to end Day 1.
Soooooo… let’s come up for some air here…
BOSPOP #36, as in: a total of 71 festival days that have seen five different locations with a total of 648 bands from 19 countries over the years, actually began with a free-entry, warm-up party on the Friday evening featuring a fantastic line-up of cover bands on the second-stage that included: Present Danger (Metallica), AC/DC UK, All Star Gary Moore Tribute, Purpendicular (Deep Purple) and Parris – the ultimate Dutch Thin Lizzy tribute… an absolutely brilliant idea and just perfect for the many campers and non-campers alike to catch up with friends or even make new ones in a mass of some 7000+ people that turned up to enjoy the evening.
It has to be said that not all of the bands had an allocated stage slot, Heavy Hoempa for example, went walkabout ala have-instruments-will-travel, sort of thing visiting the market, the 24-hour café and the camping ground with their unique arrangements of popular rock songs.
Hell yeah, even the traditional BOSPOP owl logo has had a bit of a makeover this year that makes it look groovier… heavier even… as per the collection of guitars that surrounds it. Lovin’ the new look!
Mainstage 11:00 / 11:45
CC Smugglers is a name that I feel I should know but don’t so I did a little bit of digging around and found a link that gives a little bit of background about their musical journey this far. It has to be said that any band that ends up at the same festival as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is worthy of my future attention.
Second-stage 11:45 / 12:45
Def Americans provided the background music for my first cappuccino of the day as they performed and delivered their own unique tribute to Johnny Cash’s music. They had the look. They had the sound. They had the style. They had the second-stage crowd jumpin’ along with them when I walked past. They have a full schedule of European dates, check ‘em out if they are playing somewhere near you.
Mainstage 12:45 / 13:45
Trixie Whitley is a Belgian singer / songwriter and someone else new to me so I’m just gonna step back here and let Trixie tell her own story.
Second-stage 13:45 / 14:45
The Howlin’, fronted by Joel Gaerthé, is a relatively new, young band that is rapidly garnering acclaim for itself in Dutch music scene. Their sound doesn’t fall into any specific genre which means they’re not “tagged” and more importantly, they get to be themselves, do their own thing, create their own blend of rock, soul, folk, hip hop whatever… Joel’s twin sister, Tess joins him on backing vocals and together with the other band members, Nick Croes (guitar), Joel Dieleman (keys), Bill Mookhoek (bass) and Darryl Ciggaar (drums), they create a wall of sound that is way beyond their years. The band has a new EP called, This Road, that is currently available to download and will give you an idea of what they are about. The band were kind enough to take some time out to talk to Marc Tyley after their set and it was a real pleasure to meet them and hear their thoughts about the journey they are on.
The Howlin’ talk to Marc Tyley
Mainstage 14:45 / 15:45
The Counting Crows was another band making its debut appearance at BOSPOP and although I didn’t know it at the time, they were the opening act for Bruce Springsteen’s concert in Rome a few days later. Their set was a super-mix of old and new material and of course, the absolute highlight for me was, Mr Jones. I just love that song and its mini-epic story line… reminds me a lot of Springsteen’s early “Greetings…” material and yes, I have often wondered “who” this character is – I’m happy to say The Huffington Post has helped to clear the mystery. By this time in the afternoon, the temperature was rising nicely so when Marc was invited to interview Adam and Immy on their beautifully, fully air-conditioned tour bus, I was more than ready to assist! Great set from a great band and I hope they’ll come back again another year.
Counting Crows Adam Duritz and David “Immy” Immerglück talk to Marc Tyley
Second-stage 15:45 / 16:45
Simo / J.D. Simo is an American guitarist originally from Chicago but now based in Nashville and quite simply, rocked the second-stage with his set. The highlight for me was his meltdown version of Lennon / McCartney’s, With A Little Help From My Friends which just about took the roof off the tent!
I also found out later that Simo is a big Elvis Costello Fan and that he was thrilled to be able to meet and see Elvis at BOSPOP where they talked about…
Simo took time out to speak to Marc after his set too.
Simo talks to Marc Tyley
Mainstage 16:45 / 17:45
Elvis Costello & The Imposters absolutely wurlitzered their way through a hit-strewn set that included: Alison, Pump It Up, Watching The Detectives and Sunday’s Best to. Lots of stage interaction with the crowd, lots of crowd interaction with the stage. Elvis Costello’s career reads like the Encyclopaedia Britannica and I’ll bet his passport has more stamps than Green Shield! Really great set from a really great performer.
Second-stage 17:45 / 18:45
Bosshoss, as in where Berlin meets Nashville, kicked some serious ass on the second-stage turning up the already sweltering heat levels! Like that was never gonna happen? Sascha and Alec aka “Hoss Power” and “Boss Burns” share centre stage as they deliver and present their own distinctive mixx of country/western/rock’n’roll/pop that has kept them at the top of their game for the last ten years.
Their latest CD, Dos Bros, went straight to the top of the German and Austrian charts when it was released towards the end of last year, it did not pass GO nor did it collect €200 but it has stayed in the charts since then! One of the tracks from Dos Bros that has been getting a lot of airplay is, Jolene, the hit made famous by Dolly Parton. Fast forward to 2015 when the album was released and the female vocalist on this version is, Ilse de Lange from The Common Linnets duo that won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 for The Netherlands with her singing partner then, Waylon. Ilse does a bang-up job on Jolene and together with Common Linnets’ guitarist, J B Meijers AND the full BossHoss band, it was fabulous. After the show, Marc caught up with Sascha and Alec backstage at BOSPOP for a chat.
The BossHoss Alec “Boss Burns” and Sascha “Hoss Power” talk to Marc Tyley
Mainstage 18:45 / 20:00
The Mavericks have been on my “bucket list” ever since I heard them cover Cat Stevens’, Here Comes My Baby so it was a real treat to get to see them even though it was at the expense of missing out on Roxette whose touring plans were shelved on account of doctor’s orders concerning the health of Marie Fredriksson. However, in true showbiz style, the show went on and with frontman, Raul Malo steering fellow bandmates, the area directly in front of the mainstage rapidly turned into a scene from Strictly Come Dancing.
With their characteristic latin-style, chicca-chicca rhythms featuring, Spanish guitar solos, shakers, horns, upright bass and of course the obligatory bandandas and Fedoras, The Mavericks’ sound quickly set the pace for a dance party alright as toe-tapping and hip-swayin’ morphed into sambas, rumbas and cha-cha-chas – with or without a partner as per the notable solo dance spot from the man in the pink suit, keyboardist, Jerry Dale McFadden… way to go, Jerry! Dance The Night Away, Guantanamera/Twist And Shout, All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down… just some of the high-energy set that had the crowd yelling – albeit in vain – for more. Marc caught up with band members, Paul Deakin and Eddie Perez for a highly enlightening chat backstage after the set.
The Mavericks – Paul Deakin and Eddie Perez talk to Marc Tyley
Second-stage 20:00 / 21:00
Steve Vai was another name on my “bucket list”… a true guitar great if ever there was. Steve is currently on tour promoting the 25th anniversary of the release of his critically acclaimed, Passion and Warfare album which, by the way, is being performed in its entirety. According to Steve’s website, he can be quoted as saying that he is still dancing around his peddle board trying to remember all the patches for each song – with an added “smiley” it has to be said!
Now, if you have never seen Steve Vai perform live, trust me, his command of his instrument will leave you utterly gobsmacked… it’s like watching metamorphosis happen in front of your very eyes… no slo-mo film or replays, just real time… notwithstanding the sounds he was coaxing with every single pick or bend on the strings, it seemed to me as Steve was somehow able to actually become fused with his guitar. A stunning performance that will be long remembered by all who were lucky enough to be there.
Just before the festival, Marc spoke to Steve Vai and what follows below is a highly enlightening exchange between them as they trade conversational licks about Steve’s past, present and future career plans.
An. Absolutely. Fabulous. Listen.
Steve Vai talks to Marc Tyley
Mainstage 21:00 / 22:15
Santana was the penultimate act on the mainstage for this year’s festival which meant that they got the most beautiful sunset as a backdrop and they absolutely didn’t disappoint. Opening with their signature latin-rock-fusion instrumental, Soul Sacrifice – ala Woodstock 1969 – this was a must-see set as the band tore through a classy set of material that included Maria Maria involving switching guitars mid-way without missing a beat, Europa, Smooth, Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen and perhaps the most unexpected riffs of the entire weekend, Roxanne! This is something Santana has done before but oh my… what a totally terrific energising addition to the set. Carlos Santana delivered his own unique style and guitar legend expertise… just brilliant.
Second-stage 22:15 / 23:15
K’s Choice are a Belgian band that was founded by Sarah Bettens and her brother, Gert and guess what? Another new sound for me! But as I walked past the tent full of people singing along to a track called Not An Addict – word perfect, I may add – it made me curious enough to check out what I was missing! Consequently, The Phantom Cowboy, K’s Choice latest album is now an integrated part of my iTunes library. Always good to hear new music at BOSPOP.
Mainstage 23:15 / 00:30
Kensington had the honour of being the closing act for BOSPOP 2016 and they may have been last but very definitely, not least! Kensington are huge in The Netherlands, with three albums to their credit and chart success to match – a great move as far as keeping the festival alive and kicking right to the very end. Pyrotechnics, strobes, exploding paper-filled canons, catchy hits, pumped-up crowd… the perfect end to a perfect weekend of perfect music.
And that, as they say, was that… at least until next year that is!
Dank u wel Peter Verkennis for steering the BOSPOP 2016 ship, it was a fantastic weekend – lovin’ that Jukes baseball cap!
Dank u wel Leon Deelen for all your support, much appreciated and here’s hoping your finger gets better soon!
Dank u wel Marc Tyley for all the exclusive MP3 files and also for the bang-up job you did with the interviews.
So what was Marc taking a photograph of?? It was the sunset during Santana’s performance and if he’d like to share the picture with me, I’ll add it with pleasure.
Official BOSPOP links to photos and videos of everything and everyone!
PS I didn’t get the name of the nice man who let me take this photograph but I really liked his shirt so if you know his name, please let me know and I’ll give him a mention… never too old to ROCK… right on!