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GIG REVIEW

GIG REVIEW: Pete Philly at Ekko, Utrecht

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GIG REVIEW: Pete Philly at Ekko, Utrecht

The first (and last) time I saw Pete Philly perform was 8 (!) years ago! After that, he stopped his collaboration with Perquisite and kind of disappeared. I spotted him recently on the Red Bull Music Netherlands Instagram channel where he announced new material and his comeback tour.. woah! I was really curious what he was up to and how his sound had evolved! He was playing quite small venues and they sold out really quickly, but since I follow him on Instagram, I saw that he was promoting a secret 'trial' gig at Ekko in Utrecht on his Instagram stories. The ticket was something like 8 euros so it was a no brainer! I bought tickets straight away. 

Something that had evolved about Pete Philly was his overall swag. His clothes and moves were full of cool and charisma. He had his producer set up on a laptop behind and his 4 b(l)ack up singers, 2 girls and 2 guys who each had their own dance style which was funny to see. 

He sang his latest singles Favorite Song and Come Together and for a small venue, really got the crowd going! Everyone was really dancing along. It was really great to see such a great reaction to an artist who needs to present himself again after so long.  

Check out more about Pete Philly:

Official website: https://www.petephilly.com/ and below his Red Bull Music Live Session. 

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GIG REVIEW: Camille at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels

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GIG REVIEW: Camille at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels

I first saw Camille in 2009 in Melbourne when she toured with the album Music Hole, and without exaggeration it was one of the top 2 concerts I have ever seen in my life. Knowing this, and also listening to the latest album OUI, I was a bit skeptical that seeing her ever again would be ever as great as the first time (in my experience this is the case and now I don't tend to re-see artists). But I decided to hunt down a show anyway and see for myself. She was not touring anywhere in The Netherlands so I started looking at shows in France and Belgium. Finally I decided on a long weekend away with Bianca to Brussels including a concert to see Camille! 

Firstly, the venue, Ancienne Belgique was really clean and caters for everyone. There were around 20 rows of theatre seats at the back (mostly filled with people with white hair!), then 2 or 3 balcony levels which were for the smaller members of the audience (like us and children!) and also place for disabled. I was actually very surprised to see how age-diverse the crowd was. Although if you asked me, I couldn't pin-point what kind of crowd Camille appeals to. 

What I really liked about the concert was that it was a full show, with details on the lights, colours, clothes, and performance of all singers and musicians, not just the musicality. And this was really impressive. The percussionist had a drum with a light shining on it which looked like the moon. The percussionist had a whole kit with electronic drums with different samples. At one point, the whole band turned into a marching band and walked through the whole crowd. Then Camille asked the audience to come up and sing with her. Everything about the whole show was engaging and Camille herself was so crazy, but perfectly controlled. She is really a genius and true performer. 

What added even more to the buzz was that the crowd was so amazing. They were respectful (not talking like the Dutch) and cheered SO loudly that the reverberation of the hall echoed everywhere and gave so much energy to the band and Camille herself. 

I have to say, although I already kind of had an expectation about the concert, I was definitely NOT disappointed. In fact, very happily surprised, and next time I know not to ever ever doubt Camille..

With a strike of luck, I even picked up the set list :-)

More about Camille:

Official website: http://www.camilleofficiel.fr/

If you are on a phone, watch the below (the song is called Je ne mâche pas) with headphones. It's shot so you can see 360 degrees and it is absolutely brilliant.

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GIG REVIEW: Henrik Schwarz and Metropole Orkest | TivoliVredenburg

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GIG REVIEW: Henrik Schwarz and Metropole Orkest | TivoliVredenburg

I heard about Henrik Schwarz performing with Metropole Orkest a couple of years ago because they were the opening act for ADE 2016 (Amsterdam Dance Event) but back then I didn't manage to see them. Finally, together with a small gang of girls, I went on a little road trip to Utrecht. First stop: frites inside the very nice and new Hoog Catharijne mall! 

I was very curious to see how the orchestra would combine with Henrik Schwarz's techno music. There were some very interesting parts of the show: the cello solos! They were lovely, and played by Annie Tangberg who was unfortunately sitting at the back so she was nowhere to be seen from where I was sitting. Another interesting element was the use of a Dutch city bike as an extra percussion. The percussionist turned the wheel and his brushes rattled against the spokes. 

In terms of combining orchestral and techno, it was not the case, until closer to the end of the show, where you could hear some beats that got the crowd moving in their seats. The first half of the concert was mostly orchestral, and it was a wonder what Henrik was actually doing on the stage. Even if he was the composer of the whole set, it was not clear what his role was in a lot of the songs. Was he a live mixer for the orchestra or playing something? It was a pity that there were not more electronic elements, even though I don't think it was the point. I had listened to Henrik's 2015 album "instruments" and it was exactly what we were watching live i.e. his compositions without his traditional electronic elements. However, he somehow lost himself by not being the star of the show.. 

Anyway, still a very inspiring and fitting concert in my journey to combine the cello and electronic music myself! 

See below a full live set from ADE 2016 by Boiler Room: 

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GIG REVIEW: Lady Gaga at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Lady Gaga at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

I finally saw Lady Gaga live! It was a really long wait. First, I bought the tickets in early 2017, waiting online with a computer, a mobile and multiple browsers to make sure I could get tickets. It was sold out literally within minutes and I was lucky to score a pair of seated tickets in a good spot! Then, I thought I only had to wait 5 or so months until the concert, but unfortunately Lady Gaga has been ill and she had to postpone her European leg of the tour from October until January 2018. So indeed it was a very long wait! 

But lucky us, she came and rocked the stage(s)! There were stages placed in the centre of the floor area and during one part of the show, these bridges came down from the ceiling and Lady Gaga and her dancers came walking over the bridges to the other stages, and finally a stage at the back of the standing area (which was in front of us!) which had her electric grand piano. She laughed at the die hard front row monsters and said that they thought that they were at the front of the stage and now they were at the back! 

Although Joanne the album is quite chill compared to her earlier synth pop hits, she still put on a huge show especially for her old hits. It was like a theatre play, like the Wizard of Oz with dancers and costumes! But my favourite moment of course was when she was with just her and the piano. That's when she really shines. 

The last song Lady Gaga performed was Million Reasons. She put her pink hat on the side and after the song was over, the piano (and her) started to sink down under the stage and she just disappeared without a word, leaving her pink hat behind. Then the stadium lights turned on. It was so sad because we didn't even have a chance to cheer her or say goodbye. And there was no encore either. Wow, it was such a powerful ending and I felt like a piece of me just left! 

Thank you Lady Gaga for putting yourself out there for us, and hope you get well and strong soon. 

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GIG REVIEW: JAIN at Melkweg, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: JAIN at Melkweg, Amsterdam

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JAIN had such a groove, and she was just alone with her laptop. I'm always a big fan of independent singers who combine loop stations or technology to enhance their show. The fact is though, this girl makes the music herself and it's so obvious! I loved the show. I took my best Dutchy Viv and we grooved along all night. JAIN has a real innocence about her, (well she's just 25), but she has lived in different countries all over the world for example Dubai, Congo, Peru and you can hear these influences in her beatsy and touch of world-music flair. Her music is up-beat and fun, but rhythmic and clever. She combines her voice with layering and electronic programming sounds which is a modern-day twist. She reminds me a bit of a younger Camille, or at least a pea who comes from a similar pod. And she is so incredibly sweet and loves to involve the audience to help her with her looping. She was even giggling at some point because of the audience member who she recorded for the loop. 

All in all, great first show for JAIN and can't wait to see how she progresses as an artist. 

Check out more JAIN:
Official website: http://www.jain-music.com/en/

Check out this live version below of JAIN performing "Makeba" - Victoires de la musique 2017

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GIG REVIEW: Sabar Challenge Afterparty at Sociëteit SEXYLAND

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GIG REVIEW: Sabar Challenge Afterparty at Sociëteit SEXYLAND

After going to see Dele Sosimi a couple weeks ago and not being too inspired, I went to the afterparty of the Sabar Challenge Festival 2017 (dance style from Senegal) with Bianca, Gaëlle and Gwen on invitation from our percussion teacher, Martin. 

Now, THIS was more like it! African bands and dancing! 

First up was a band called Nusodia, a West-African percussion and dance group, based on the traditions of Burkina Faso. As a coincidence, the guy who Bianca and I bought our djembe from (and his girlfriend) were both in the band! 

They had many different percussion instruments including djembe and the dancers were playing this wooden 'salad bowl'-shape with beads on the outside and each time they threw the bowl and spun it around it would make a sound. But more than the percussion, their unique sound comes from the melodic instruments called 'balafon' (xylophone) and the 'ngoni' (African harp). 

Other performances that evening were Sysmo (percussion group using a unique system with more than 100 hand signals), Taneber dancing and Ussu & The New Balansa

More about Nusodia:
Facebook

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GIG REVIEW: Dele Sosimi at Bimhuis

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GIG REVIEW: Dele Sosimi at Bimhuis

Since starting a world percussion course at CREA in February, I tried to find some concerts that would have a touchpoint to African artists and/or African percussion. It's quite a broad spectrum, so the search didn't take too long before I found a concert of Dele Sosimi at Bimhuis in Amsterdam. He is one of the most active of the original Afrobeat scene, founded by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He played keyboard with Kuti for 7 years. 

If you removed the vocals, the music was pretty much funk. So interesting how vocals can make such a unique spin on it. The band was amazing, along with the solos from the trombonist and tenor saxophonist! Dele himself was very energetic, positive and a good band leader. 

The concert was a seated one, and was hard for some audience members to sit down, so they got up to dance at the back of the hall! Soon enough the vibes were running through the whole crowd and we ended up all getting up for a little dance.

One thing I did think was missing though, was more use of (West) African drums. The saxophonist sometimes played a hand percussion which was a wooden block, but I really missed some djembe or conga or bongo drums... Another was the female back-up vocalists/dancers. The trombonist and drummer doubled as the choir which sounded quite good, but just wasn't the real deal, if you know what I mean. 

The Bimhuis broadcast the concert on Bimhuis Radio and can be found here on Mixcloud. If we had known earlier, Bianca and I would probably have agreed that it would have been better to have a glass of wine with the music playing in the background. 

More about Dele Sosimi:
Official Website: http://www.delesosimi.org/

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GIG REVIEW: Tegan and Sara at Paradiso, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Tegan and Sara at Paradiso, Amsterdam

It has been 7 years since I last saw Tegan and Sara in concert. It's amazing to see the identical twins from Canada are still going strong internationally after so many albums. It was not a sold out concert, but the crowd was full of girls and a few tall guys at the front who were big fans. 

Tegan was the main one of the two, the main talker, the one who played guitar, the main songwriter but all of my friends who came along all agreed that Sara was the cuter one and because she's more introverted. Both seem incredibly down to earth and entertained the crowd with stories and engaged with members of the audience who recently had heartbreaks. 

They played their new songs (my favourite one is called 'Boyfriend') and my old faves such as Walking With A Ghost, Back In Your Head, Alligator and Closer. 

All in all it was a cute concert. Wouldn't die to see them again during this tour, but maybe in 7 years again! Thank you to my special Bianca for taking me along! <3 

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GIG REVIEW: 2CELLOS at Palais Theatre, Melbourne

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GIG REVIEW: 2CELLOS at Palais Theatre, Melbourne

After missing 2CELLOS concert in Amsterdam Cello Biënnale in 2014 due to a vacation, and then missing them for the second time this year due to travel plans (!) I just let go the idea that I would ever see them live. Until I received a letter in the mail from someone dear to my heart with a ticket to their sold-out Melbourne show! WOW! 

I arrived at the gorgeous Palais Theatre, one of my favorite concert hangouts in Melbourne, and took my seat. The support act, The Twoks, consisted of an ex couple, the lead singer/violinist and drummer who sang quirky love songs about their break up and other trivial topics. 

When 2CELLOS came on stage they just did their thing like clockwork. Both Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, who have been classically trained by the best (Luka finished his Masters at the Royal Academy of Music in London and Stjepan at RNCM in Manchester along with winning many international competitions and studied with the top cellists of this age) were so technically sound but then like supermen on top of it. They were like super cellists. Luka is the introverted, gentle and "quiet achiever"-type who plays the bass (he tunes the C string down to a low G) and the rhythm, while Stjepan plays the joker, flirter and "wild guy" and during the rock half of the concert he wore his electric cello with a custom rig and rocked the stage. They also brought out a drummer in the rock half of the concert. During Michael Jackson's Human Nature, one guy from the audience shouts out "WHAY WHAY" in the most Australian accent and continued to do so until the end of the song and in the end became the hero of the night. 

2CELLOS were absolutely mindblowingly amazing. 

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I MET GRACE CHATTO FROM CLEAN BANDIT!

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I MET GRACE CHATTO FROM CLEAN BANDIT!

Can't believe I met Grace Chatto, the cellist from Clean Bandit. I saw Clean Bandit perform in 2014 in Utrecht and when I saw Grace playing her NS Design electric cello I knew it was the one for me. It took me one year to save up to buy it and now I finally have it. I called it Grace. 

Anyway the night before I was supposed to fly to Germany for the yearly adidas Global Brand conference I was reading the lineup for the festival they organised and I saw CLEAN BANDIT on the list. WTF!!! Wow I was so happy! I was going to try to meet Grace! 

As I arrived at Nuremberg airport I was thinking about how I could meet Grace and who I could contact... I came up with a plan and 1 hour later I was snuck in and was watching their sound check! After a long rehearsal (they were not really warmed up yet and the singer was still finding her flow) they finished and as they were about to leave, I was invited to come and talk to Grace. I nervously chatted about having the same cello, and she said she was still not used to it yet and had to look at the frets. It was a bit awkward and very quick, but I thanked her for inspiring me and got a photo together. That was enough! 

It was a cool festival. Jungle was the first act, followed by Clean Bandit and then Stormzy. There were food trucks in city themes, and a hot air balloon on a crane. It was an amazing show put on by adidas, and leaves us feeling proud and inspired. 

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GIG REVIEW: Lianne La Havas supported by Roseau at Paradiso, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Lianne La Havas supported by Roseau at Paradiso, Amsterdam

I had the privilege of seeing these two London beauties, Lianne La Havas and her good friend/support act Roseau, perform a sold-out show in Amsterdam's iconic Paradiso. I played with Roseau on the small stage of Paradiso in 2013, when she performed in duo Peter & Kerry. Roseau's (Kerry Leatham) new act is more electronic, introverted and less 'singer-songwriter' than Peter & Kerry. The music is definitely closer to her heart and comes from within. 

The last time I saw Lianne was in the Summer at Lowlands 2015. Lianne was great. The crowd was a mix of very young fans at the front, dads in the back, and other mainstreamers (including me and my date for the evening) from 20-35. The crowd was super attentive and very quiet when Lianne played with her guitar alone. Lianne's old tracks were a hit with the crowd, and some of the new ones had a different feel, some more happy, and some more rocky. It's cool to see her experimenting a little with styles. 

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REVIEW: Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Carré, Amsterdam

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REVIEW: Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Carré, Amsterdam

Australian classic movie The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert was turned into a theatre production, starring Neighbour's very own Jason Donovan. Drag queens, blokes and songs by gay icons such as Village People, Kylie Minogue, CeCe Peniston, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin made the show extraordinarily energetic, and even the usually dull-Dutch were clapping along and gave a standing ovation to the cast & crew, in the last show of the Amsterdam tour. I thought it was great! I've been to Paradise but I've never been to me. 

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GIG REVIEW: Chvrches at Melkweg, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Chvrches at Melkweg, Amsterdam

Arrived a little late but managed to catch Chvrches' support act, Australia's homegrown Mansionair, who's song 'Hold Me Down' is really catchy. They seemed a bit fresh though and I was really there to see Chvrches. 

Chvrches' music is really strong, and the music production is really good. One can tell their band has some experienced backbones. Singer Lauren Mayberry has a crystal clear voice and despite her petite stance on the stage, she still manages to make a presence. But for me it's the music that makes Chvrches so successful. The beats and electronic sounds are so powerful. 

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GIG REVIEW: Christine and The Queens at Melkweg, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Christine and The Queens at Melkweg, Amsterdam

I first stumbled the French Christine and The Queens at Lowlands festival earlier in 2015. I was walking towards another stage and literally had to stop because I heard amazing beats from the stage. So when I saw she was giving a concert in Amsterdam I bought tickets straight away, so I could see her perform a full set where she was the headliner. 

Christine, (real name Héloïse Letissier) has a very unique way of performing. The show was a visual feast full of movement and strobe lighting, and it was definitely not only about the music. She is much better live than by listening on Spotify by the way. Together with her dancers she has a modern choreography which is more about moving the whole body and not your typical "hip hop" or "pop" style moves. 

Since I had already been blown away once, it was hard to be blown away for the second time, since I already had a first impression and therefore expectation of the amazing performance. The Lowlands stage was much bigger and the screens were also bigger so the light show had more impact. 

Christine is a curious being. She reminds me of a younger version of Camille, my favourite French singer who is crazy in an eccentric way. She is openly queer and sings about gender fluidity (read this interesting interview!) and is just an inspiration that you can be good as yourself. 

Photos by Podium Info (because my phone literally died and erased itself during the concert! It never happened to me before but I was so sad)

More about Christine and The Queens:

Official website

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GIG REVIEW: Ariana Grande at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Ariana Grande at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

I love Ariana Grande so much! The first time I saw her perform was at the MTV EMA 2014 in Glasgow, and she was definitely the highlight of the awards. 

It was one of those awkward things where I knew none of my friends would want to go to the concert with me, so I asked on Facebook if anyone would come with me... a friend said her 14 year old daughter would go with me! Well that was better than no one! 

On the day of the concert I was extremely sad because I was having a problem with my relationship and I didn't want to talk before the show. I just wanted to enjoy myself and then deal with it. But it became complicated and I was upset on the tram on the way there. Trying to wipe away my tears before meeting my 14 year old friend! We met at Bijlmer and there was another Dutch festival going on at the same time (Oranjefeest or something really trashy) and Burger King was so packed we had to go find food somewhere else. And it was raining so we were running to the food trucks trying to find a cheap burger (ugh). 

We got in and found our seats. I went to get drinks and also wanted to buy some merch. The sweaters were all sold out in small sizes so I just bought some tiny badges, and shared half with my friend. She took the Japanese ones. 

I loved the concert! I really loved the dancers (Brian and Scott Nicholson), and especially the string players (my favourite: the violinist Chysanthe Tan who I have been following on Instagram and Twitter every day during the tour). Ariana was amazing as expected. She's such a talent.. ever since I saw her YouTube video singing Imogen Heap's Just For Now with the loop machine I have so much respect. 

After the show I was tweeting with Chrysanthe Tan and Adrienne Woods (the cellist) mocking Adrienne for poking the air with her bow off-beat. Chrysanthe stuck up for her saying that she was just doing it a different angle and she was 'slicing the air' instead of 'stabbing'. hahaha I know they thought I was annoying.  

I'm openly an Arianator and have been and will be promoting Ariana forever. Even if she licks a donut... I don't care. I'll defend her :) 

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GIG REVIEW: Rudimental at adidas headquarters, Germany

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GIG REVIEW: Rudimental at adidas headquarters, Germany

Every year at the annual adidas Global Brand Conference (GBC) there are always top guests and often a top performer on the opening day party line-up. Last year Kanye West was the special guest (and I'm still gutted that my manager told my team not to come because there was nothing exciting going to happen.. yeah..). 

This year's theme was 'theme park'. It was so cool! Usually we sit in a huge exhibition hall all week and then the party happens there, DJ or musicians up the front,  and us on the dance floor. This year, the whole adidas campus was transformed into a playground for all of us, with a ferris wheel, food trucks, and different games and fun activities to try. It was the first year that it really felt like the event was for us, and not us just stuck in a big conference hall with presentations all week. 

There was even a stage, and as adidas employees, we had the opportunity to audition to perform in front of all our international colleagues. After a Russian band played, I saw my Amsterdam colleagues up there DJ'ing and then the special guests of the festival.. I mean conference.. Rudimental from the UK! Our London EIM team is the best! 

I'd been following Rudimental for a few years already, and it was the first time I saw them live. They were so impressive and brought so much energy to the crowd, especially with the live musicians and a whole gang of singers all decked out in adidas Originals gear. Such a cool way to end the opening party. Thank you adidas! 

Check out more about Rudimental:
Official website: http://www.rudimental.co.uk/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/RudimentalUk
 

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GIG REVIEW: PHOS album launch at Bitterzoet, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: PHOS album launch at Bitterzoet, Amsterdam

Eveline Vroonland, former solo artist and amazing vocal looper (check out Doin' It Right - Daft Punk cover) is now under the moniker PHOS, a three-piece electronic wonder under the spell of producer Skiggy Rapz. Their album launch was small, but intimate with a supportive network of friends and music appreciators. There was no loop involved, but new tunes to get used to. I told Eveline afterwards that I missed her loop, and she said maybe soon she'd bring it out again. From our last conversation at the Volkshotel opening party, she said she felt restricted standing behind a machine pressing buttons. It's obvious she loves to feel the music through her whole body by the way she moves from head to toe. It's a magical movement to watch and adds to PHOS' performance. I wish PHOS all the best in their new adventure. 

Thanks to Croque-Bulle for the great company and for some of the photos below. 

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GIG REVIEW: Jessie Ware at Paradiso, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Jessie Ware at Paradiso, Amsterdam

Jessie Ware is a funny character. I find her very down to earth, wearing KLM air stewardess-like heels (i.e. very practical). She was even making fun of a couple in the front of the crowd for making out during her song! It's something I have seen also in other UK artists, such as Adele, music so serious but as soon as they open their mouth, you're cracking up with laughter. 

Jessie Ware's new album, Tough Love is really really good. This kind of electronic-pop is really popular right now, but she gets it right and the album is really well produced too.  

Something really freaky I saw was a man's head reflected in the drummer's transparent barrier but it totally looked like a theatre prompter. hahaha I was speaking with a colleague just recently about this phenomenon as I didn't know such a job existed! 

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GIG REVIEW: Elliphant at Paradiso, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Elliphant at Paradiso, Amsterdam

If there's someone who rocks a stage with just her and one DJ, it's Elliphant. Seriously. And for playing in Paradiso small hall with a crowd so tiny, her energy filled a sold out stadium. And my date for the evening Camille and I danced like we were at a dance festival. It was a crazy good vibe and set. I'm really impressed by Elliphant and her spontaneous and filterless energy is hard not to catch. 

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