Cityrock 2017 – Leeuwarden (festival review)

Cityrock 2017 – Leeuwarden (festival review)

September 9, 2017 | Leeuwarden – Cityrock is back on its original turf, back on the Oldehoofsterkerkhof. Last year it was on ‘the Bult’ but there were too many complaints from nearby residents. Instead of two days Cityrock lasts only one day this year. As usual the lineup is a wide variety of different genres, but rock ‘n roll is the overall theme. The first half of the day consists of Dutch acts whereas the evening continues with international acts. The audience can expect some living legends today like Europe, UFO and Fischer-Z! Pictures: Oscar Anjewierden

Molstone (NL)
The weather forecast was not very favorable for today but during the performance of the opener of the show; Molstone, the sun is beginning to shine. There are very few people when the Leeuwarden based Molstone enters the stage. This doesn’t throw them off their feet and they just play very enthusiastically. Keyplayer/singer Sieberein Schaaf is putting in a lot of effort to entertain the small crowd in front of him. The volume and quality of the sound is very good and makes their bluesrock very infectious, it would have been even better if there were more spectators. They dedicate the last song to Leo van der Galien, a well-known photographer who recently passed away.

The Grand East (NL)
As the name might suggest, it is time for a band from the East of The Netherlands. All the way from Diepenheim the guys from the Grand East are here to entertain the audience with some old skool bluesrock. It becomes clear that one of their greatest influences is the The Doors, complete with a Hammond and singer Arthur Akkermans his harmonica. Akkermans is the face of the band and his voice is overwhelming. His lyrics however, are somewhat hard to understand due to poor pronunciation, but this is a minor detail. The praise they got from the press for their debut album Movana Camerata is certainly confirmed during their show this afternoon.

King Of The World (NL)
A new project from well-known guitarist Erwin Java, who used to play with blues legend Harry Muskee, is King Of The World. The stage is being filled with band members and extra brass players which turns out to be a nice addition to the old-school bluesrock. Guitarist Java proves ones again to be virtuous with his solo’s. They start their show with the song Messing With My Mind and the voice of singer/bass player Ruud Weber is constant and professional, but lacks real passion. It misses dedication and he seems more concerned with his singing technique. Nevertheless the audience is definitely entertained and hips are already shaking.

Navarone (NL)
Whilst Nancy Sinatra’s Boots Are Made For Walking is coming out of the speakers the guys from Navarone prepare themselves for their set. This formation from Nijmegen is a bit more heavy then the previous acts from today and people get drawn towards the stage. They recorded an album with producer Vance Powel ( Beck, Jack White) and they sound very professional. Singer Merijn van Haren pours his hard out during the songs, and his voice is very powerful and impressive. The instrumental parts in the song create suspense and build up in their songs. The sound of the band has some tendencies towards stonerrock, mainly due to drummer Robin Assen who plays with the timing and rhythm. They will return to Leeuwarden in November, and I suspect a full hous in Asteriks. This was a great show.

Living Colour (USA)
Time for one of the first living legends of the day, Living Colour. This New York based bluesrockband has been around for more than thirty years, but they still sound like youngsters. They have a lot more rock influences than the other acts of today and that draws people toward the stage. They seem to enjoy themselves on stage and this causes feedback from the audience as well. Living Colour has had lots of hits during their career but play less known work today, except for their epic hit Cult Of Personality. It looks like they play a lot of shows because quality wise there is absolutely nothing wrong, but the show misses some spontaneity here and there. Nevertheless, the audience is warmed up for more legends.

Fischer-Z (UK)
From blues to rock ‘n roll to new wave. Fischer-Z has worked with names like Peter Gabriel and Steve Cropper. Singer John Watts has been there from the beginning, almost forty years now. Fischer-Z is from the post-punk era and the genre they play can best be categorized as New Wave. John Watts loves to play in the rain and he thinks the audience is not drunk enough yet. Throughout the set Watts is very communicative towards the audience, a real fromtman. This act is a bit of an outcast today because of all the reggae influences. The audience seems to enjoy the set, but especially during the older material and end their show with Marliese.

UFO (UK)
The old rockers from UFO have been at it since 1969 and they prove tonight that they’re still going strong. Meanwhile the audience has had enough to drink and the square at the Oldehoofsterkerkhof is filled with people who like to dance. They get enough chances to dance during classic songs like We Belong To The Night, Lights Out and Too Hot To Handle. The songs have a nice build up and always end in a bombastic way. They play a consistent show and create a nice build up towards the headliner of Cityrock 2017: Europe.

Europe (SWE)
And now it is time for the act everyone has been waiting for, the Swedish/British formation of Europe. In the Netherlands the band is mostly known for their epic eighties hit ‘The Final Countdown’. They’ve been off the radar for a while but they return with a new album in October. Tonight they indulge the audience with mostly old material like Carrie, Scream Of Anger and Rock The Night. These hits are more recognized by the older audience member but have everybody moving. They sound amazing and very much prepared but again this takes away a bit of spontaneity. Singer Joey Tempest has been training his vocal cords because he still sounds amazing. The show is a great success and during The Final Countdown it is hard to find people who aren’t singing along. The show makes people very curious to their new material.

Cityrock 2017 was a great success, despite that the volume today was somewhat disappointing during some acts, but we can blame that on the complainers.

About the author

Sannette is reporter for PitKings – and many other magazines – in the northern part of The Netherlands.

View all articles by Sannette De Groes