Apeldoorn - Gigant


Jack Daniels Rock Nights
"Te Woepie!!"

Jan Akkerman – Catalyst “Firenze” electric guitar
Wilbrand Meischke – Bassguitar
Jeroen Rietbergen – Fender Rhodes electric piano,
Hammond XB-3, Roland JP-8000
DJ Ronald Molendijk – Electronics, sequencing

The announced “Jack Daniels’ Rock Nights” tour was an opportunity for Jan to play both new and older material featuring the two producers of his new CD.
The gig in Apeldoorn was the second one in a tour of five gigs around the Netherlands, mostly in small clubs. A well-filled Gigant in Apeldoorn greeted Jan and his fellow musicians at about 9.15 PM

Some members of the people, that went to see the gig, must have had some strange thoughts that there was no drummer on stage. Instead, from the beginning, DJ Ronald Molendijk live-programmed his sequencers and set the tone for a fascinating 80 minutes of “D-Jan-go-electro”.
I have known Ronald for years since his work for several mix-CD’s in the Dutch ‘house’-scene and, of course, his work with Soulvation and Michiel Borstlap.
From the beginning when Jan commented that nobody probably would understand why he is doing such a thing (it’s mostly the fact that he thinks it works!), this collaboration of Jan’s guitar playing and the usage of electronics sounded very loudly, upbeat and most important, very swinging!

The opening medley contained some licks from Funkology (with Jeroen’s swirling synths around the well-paced rhythms) and this segued into Bluesroot 2003, where Molendijk had some fun with Wilbrand to keep in sync with the right beat. Jan was clearly enjoying himself a lot on stage, shaking his head to the beat and doing a surprising solo ‘on the cutting edge’.

After the introductions, Cotton Bay followed, where the interaction between Jan and Jeroen became the main factor. What became a tour-the-force into the various solo’s, was the performance of “that old’ country blues’, Piétons! The drum-programming worked here very well and Molendijk was joking around with the beat. Some might say that electronic percussion can be very static and standard without too many variations, but Ronald shows that it can be creative in its own right. Jan’s broken string gave Wilbrand the opportunity to play an extended bass-solo, again with lots of variations and an excellent ‘slapping’ part, that resulted in several staccato chords from Jeroen as well.
Compared to the versions of Between the Shee(p)(ts) I got used to (that means Jan’s version with a live drummer), this electronic version sounded very coherent and this featured probably the best climaxing moment of the gig.
In comparison to that, The Zebrah was a bit too much…the rhythm was too thunderous and overblown (especially during the intro) and didn’t catch any of the magic it normally does. After an inpromptu Fender Rhodes solo from Jeroen, I’m in the Mood was the last track performed and again a highlight of this gig. The melody of this song is so ‘right on the spot’ and the interaction between Jan and Jeroen made me conclude that this new ‘direction’ in Jan’s music is both fascinating and satisfying.

Due to time limits, there was not enough time to do another song, but after this great set, you almost could not expect anything better in this form.
All I can say, is: put your expectations high for the forthcoming new CD, as those two guys from Soulvation (Ronald and Jeroen) have driven Jan again to a certain high level of performance of and lots of enthousiasm in his music.
Like Jan told me after the gig: “Het is echt te woepie!” (could be translated as something like: It’s really a gaz!)

Review by Wouter Bessels
Photo's by Nico Sijm
(taken at the P60 venue in Amstelveen)