After Thursdays laid back offerings today was quite an ear-opener. I expected a bit of volume from John Coffey, anyone listed as ‘Punkrock/Post-Hardcore is going to, shall we say, leave an audible impression. First Band onstage at the Harmonie though also packed quite a punch – due mainly to the power of Tim Vantol’s vocal chords.
Day three of the Rockpalast Crossroads Festival belonged to the Dutch. The crowd seems to grow at each of the shows and by the start it was comfortably crowded. Tim Vantol stepped onstage alongside his bass/double bass player Justin Chijsen and even with the addition of a drummer (only his third gig with the band I found out later) and guitarist I thought they would be relatively quiet. Hey, I’d read online that they were advertising an ‘In your Living Room’ Tour playing in front of c.25 people in someones house so they have to be relatively quiet? I can only say that if I’d arranged a show in MY living room the guy in the house at the other end of our street would have heard Vantol’s voice and the windows next door would have shaken – and that would have been an acoustic show!
The guy has a strong voice for sure. He also has some very strong material and a likeable onstage persona. Looking at the band, who with the exception of the new man on drums (“He hasn’t had time to grow one yet”) were all bearded, I had the impression that they shared hobby of deerhunting at weekends somewhere in the American wilderness.
The early set was more thoughtful and quiet, with some rockier moments coming later on particularly in the rolling form of ‘Wagon Wheel’ and the title track of the latest CD ‘If we go down, we will go together’ that had a good part of the audience singing, clapping and stamping along to.
When I tell bass player Justin how much I’d like to hear the band come back to Bonn with a full set he smiles and admits “That was a full set – maybe longer than normal!” . Tim Vantol also does a lot of solo gigs so I would guess that a mix of the two would be longer – and also very enjoyable. Before the last encore his enthusiasm was unstoppable as he announced on camera: “I watched WDR Rockpalast when I was sixteen years old, and now look at THIS! We are so Happy!” So was the audience.
The lively finish from Tim Vantol couldn’t prepare me for the next band though. John Coffey is LOUD. Make that word in the biggest text format possible and it still wouldn’t give an accurate impression of Coffee and his guitarists (it seemed like there were at least ten of them charging about the stage). You can count them on the live video of course and in fact there are only the standard two leads and a bass, but but you can also not get an inkling of the wall of sound that hit the audience when you watch from the privacy (safety?) of your armchair.
Bodies were jumping, jiving, and being carried around over heads in front of the stage at regular intervals. The song titles were in English so I guess that was the language they were using, but I never caught a word over the white noise that was hitting my ears. A wise man once said that ‘If it’s too loud then you’re too old’. I guess I’m too old then. At any rate I now know that ‘Post-Hardcore’ is not where I plan to check out the CD’s at my local record store. Lots of jumping around and posing on the monitor cabinets but I wasn’t totally convinced of the substance beneath the flash. Full marks to Coffey and his troops for their keeping the andrenalin high for so long but I took refuse amongst the Tim Vantol band and fans for the second half of the set. I seemed to be the only man by the bar without a beard.
Saturday is another day and promises Big Sugar and the mighty King King…
MORE PHOTOS COMING SOON…