Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The beauty of aging

How to describe a band no one has heard of, I didn't even know what they sounded like until yesterday, playing a style I usually don't listen to and not that familiar with (except for knowing it exists). How to write a review when you don't know the titles (except for the 3 Nederpop classics they played plus one more). As far as the band regards, they are described as being 'the Dutch oldest hippie band' (founded 1967) and posting a fairly recent photo of them below, it could give you an idea. The audience? It's fair to say, 50+, men were either grey or bald, women grey or having good dye-jobs. Add three giggling young men dragged along with their parents and their friends (who turned out to be Massive Fans) and me. In a small theatre with the most comfortable chairs. Not knowing what to expect but knowing Joost Belifante is in the band, who most notable (for me) wrote and performed Doe Maar's classic song 'Nederwiet' (a 7 minute spoken word epos on how to grow your own weed) and two other Doe Maar legends being Jan Hendricks and Ernst Jansz who is my hero in many ways. I couldn't describe them and I still can't.

So this is not about the band. Being the youngest person there for the band felt weird but I soon realised the people were incredibly nice. And really excited about the show. The anticipation was high. And the responds massive. After every song there's be clapping, not just polite but filled and fueled with appreciation. Every note was appreciated, and people waited until the last note echoed away only ti burst out in a wave of appreciation. 'Beautiful, this is wonderful' I heard so often around me. Feet stomped on the floor to the rhythm (I'll try to explain the sound, think Seasick Steve as a band). And these men, all well in their 60s, had so much joy playing the songs. They talked about them with passion. They told anecdotes, they made jokes about Amsterdam parking (Belifante was being fined for unloading his vehicle in front of the venue). It was that joy they desplayed that also came across in their playing that made it wonderful, so incredibly enjoyable. They loved it, everyone in the theatre loved it. Everyone was loving it and it felt great. And again, the appreciation, it's something you don't get that often, it's not that when I'm in a crowd at a gig I feel the appreciation from the crowd. They're loving it, sure, but don't we take the band not for granted? We expect them to play for us but where's the appreciation? It's not in record sales, downloads, t-shirt sales. It's a feeling and you can express that. It's not often I felt it before and I'm not playing holy saint that I'm always full of appreciation, I'm having a good time and loving it, love it when they play that one track I love so much. Of course there is some form of appreciation. It's hard to describe, it was just different last night.

Maybe it's because when you're older you start to appreciate things more. If that's the way to go I'm signing up. Well, I have. Officially. I told Jansz that they are truly inspiring and he said that it's all up to you whether you keep on loving music that passionately. What I'm saying is, never stop loving music. Appreciate it. Keep on going to gigs even when you think you are too old. Or too young. You love it, keep on doing it. If there was anything learnt last night, even though I already knew it, it's that. And I will. Janet Weiss said in an interview that she could see herself playing covers in a band at the age of 70 and that it wasn't a bad faith. Not at all. She's right you know.

Please note I completelty left out the surprise guest musician. Who was, I may add, golden.