The Netherlands is full of great small venues; every town seems to have at least one new well organised club venue and Roermond in the south of the country is no different. The ECI Cultuurfabrik is a converted factory with a bar and a restaurant and several rooms used for performances and after a bit of scouting around I managed to find the lovely little 400 capacity hall which housed tonight's rock and roll bands.
Dead Man's Curse were up first. A four piece Dutch heavy rock band who were tight and together and had some great riffs and some pretty good songs. I liked the melancholy but harmonised vocals from bassist Geert Kroese and Mark Weerts and the general vibe of the band but I found myself constantly referencing Alice In Chains.
The band site them as a reference along with Ozzy and Guns N Roses but their sound is really so close to Jerry Cantrell and co it's hard to ignore. It's a shame that this makes them sound really derivative because they have so much more to offer and are well worth checking out.
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The meat in the sandwich of Dutch bands was Amanda Somerville's Trillium. Fresh from a successful European tour with Anneke Van Giersbergen it was time for them to play on what is now Amanda's home soil in the Netherlands.
Dead Man's Curse
Starting with their traditional intro tape of Glen Miller's 'In The Mood' segueing into 'Machine Gun' from the 'Alloy' album with it's cascading riff and catchy chorus they were in good form from the off. Amanda Somerville is an experienced and charismatic performer completely at home on stage and loves getting into the character and lyric of each song adding a theatrical flourish to the natural drama of her melodic metal tunes. Her vocals are strong and full of emotion; she's the complete package!
Dead Man's Curse
Guitarist Paul Owsinski is accomplished and imaginitive whether he is riffing or soloing and it all fits the songs perfectly while bassist Mark Burnash fits his nickname of Juggernaut perfectly with his solid unstoppable bass runs. Having lost their original drummer that role was filled tonight by the experienced Hans In Het Zand who did a sterling job with his immense technical style.
They brought on Only Fate Remains drummer Tom Pluijmaekers who did the European tour for one song and to be totally honest I think his less flashy, more efficient style suits the band better but both guys are awesome.
My Favourite Scar
The set list tonight was mainly from the Trillium debut adding 'Mayday' from Amanda's superb 'Windows' set and 'Set Afire' from the Kiske/Somerville album. There was an emotional tribute to original member Simon Oberender before 'Path Of Least Resistance', some fine metal posing and riffing in 'Bow To The Ego' and the usual big finish with the mighty, raging 'Coward'.
My Favourite Scar
At the end of the evening I was lucky enough to get to see Ms Somerville do a mini acoustic set with superb versions of 'Slow It Down', 'Carnival' and 'Inner Whore' in an intimate setting. During this she revealed that her grandfather had died a few hours before the show so there was some extra emotion around. and it was an amazing performance in any circumstances.
The nominal headliners tonight were My Favorite Scar, a five piece Dutch band who describe themselves as dark rock. Fairly well known in the Netherlands this was my first experience of them and they turned out to be very good, sort of Linkin Park without the rap meets a touch of Him for want of a better comparison.
They were also doing the stand in drummer thing and had snapped up the talented Martijn Peters from Stream Of Passion so had no problems keeping things on track. Tight and professional they powered their way through the next hour. Front man Jeroen Van Riet was engaging and commanded the stage well and they had some excellent songs such as 'No Love Lost' with it's powerful heavy vibe and crushing riffs. I enjoyed their set a lot.
A great evening of music with three great bands in nice surroundings. Roll on my next trip!