JURASSIC PARK & PICTURE @ Cafe Calluna, Ommen - December 23, 2017

And the very last live show in 2017 for us will be in…Ommen (of all places). If you want to organize a good rock party, go the Calluna, which is the place to be in Overijssel (the Nothern part of Holland). We attended the CD release party of JURASSIC PARK there in July and this band would also support Dutch pride & glory PICTURE tonight, a combination which is too good to be true. Here’s what happened on that monumental rock night. And the very last live show in 2017 for us will be in…Ommen (of all places). If you want to organize a good rock party, go the Calluna, which is the place to be in Overijssel (the Nothern part of Holland). We attended the CD release party of JURASSIC PARK there in July and this band would also support Dutch pride & glory PICTURE tonight, a combination which is too good to be true. Here’s what happened on that monumental rock night.
Ommen is quite far away from where we live, so we decided to stay overnight, because parties like that usually go on until late in the morning. Former ice skater Reinier Paping has a hotel annex spa in the area of the station, which was a highly enjoyable stay. And we also noticed there’s a Chinese restaurant right across the street. Chinese food is always good and we totally agree with that! Well, let’s go for it and close 2017 in a (hard) rocking way….. China Tuin Ommen serves a good combination of Chinese and Japanese (read: sushi) food, so we were really stuffed, when we drove off to the Calluna. Like always, we arrived there far too early, but we had a great parking spot and plenty of time to relax before the show got on the road. There was also time to hang out with some people we haven’t seen for quite a while. When the guys of PICTURE arrived, it’s time for some talking as well. It’s always great to have a chat with these guys and the same goes for the guys of JURASSIC PARK of course. Their fans mean the world to them and therefore, they always take the time for a short chat. We did have quite a longer conversation with guitarist Jan Bechtum and we thank you for that, Jan! It has been far too long ago!! Anyway, we really came to listen to some music and JURASSIC PARK would be playing in their own backyard, so to speak. They take care of their own gear, the lights, the sound and whatever is needed to create a fantastic evening. Once they are on stage, they grab you by the balls with their fantastic sound and their down to earth rock and roll experience. Don’t mess around with these four mean rock and roll monsters, because they’ll rip you apart. I am just kidding, folks! These guys may look mean, but they’re the most fantastic guys on earth to deal with. They will do you no harm and occasionally they’ll only harm your ears, if you’ll be getting too close to the speakers. Two members have played in the Dutch cult band FRANKENSTEIN and the two other members are no newcomers as well, as they have played before in DEAD HEAD and STRANGER. There’s a lot of years of experience on stage, but these musicians also like to have fun with their fans. They want the audience to have a good time and with this attitude, they’ll always succeed. They start their show with a very fast and heavy opener and MC 5’s “Kick Out The Jams” is the perfect way to start off in the fourth gear. And in no time, the crowd, that is still finishing their drinks or conversation, gather around in front of the stage. Now it’s time for the music to do the talking. But what a nice surprise to start their show! “Solid As A Rock” follows right behind it and the good feeling atmosphere starts from there. Frontman John Scholing gives the public a good time and his humorful conversations and announcements are an important part of that. The fresh released album “Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine” is of course the main part of the playlist tonight, but there are also some nice surprises here and there, like being sprayed with carbon dioxide from a CO2-gun. These guys are always in for some good fun. “Good Man Down” already belongs to one of my favorite tunes from the album, but which song doesn’t? JURASSIC PARK’s debut album belonged to the five best albums of 2017 for me. It’s the purest rock, you can think of. “The Doctor” is unknown to me, but it mixes very well with the other songs in my opinion. “Road Fever” is also taken from the album and with “Summertime Blues” the band grabs back to the old days, when there was only hard rock music. Maybe BLUE CHEER has been the first band that could be called heavy metal. If you imagine that they also covered it from Eddy Cochran, then he deserves all the credits for this magnificent song. And it ain’t even summertime, it has to get winter first. Well, the temperatures inside the Calluna already feel like summertime by now. “Back On The Street” and “Stay Clean” will only raise the temperature. And with “Kick Ass” the band gives a boot in the direction of those, who aren’t paying attention. I must admit that it’s already pretty crowded in the front lines of the stage. And everybody is having a good time, but with JURASSIC PARK on stage, it’s almost a quite obvious thing. “Frankenstein”, the song, is on next, which is a tribute to the monster and the band. Title track “Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine” follows and with “Bad Boys” and “Good Rocking Tonight” (MONTROSE) the band will close their set. This show has already been headliner worthy, but hey this was just the amazing support act. The headliners still have to come. What a great warming up show to more rock and roll mayhem from the godfathers of Dutch heavy metal. But first it’s time for some minor chances on stage, some tuning, some gear changing and yes, have another drink or two. Rock and roll makes you thirsty and they know that very well in Ommen.

After seeing PICTURE perform live several times in this original line-up with an additional guitarist, it’s time to throw in a huge party at the Calluna in Ommen. Not an easy task, but if there’s one band who can do it, it’s PICTURE. The five rockers are back in charge and next to MARTYR, VORTEX, HIGHWAY CHILE, VANDENBERG (MOONKINGS) and GILGAMESJ, they surely belong to the true survivors in this scene. Their early shows with TED NUGENT, APRIL WINE and SAXON are still milestones in Dutch metal history. And their tour with VANDALE back in those days is also quite legendary, to say the least. The band is very huge in South America and many big festivals were glad to have them on the bill. Keep It True, Sweden Rock, Headbangers Open Air, need I say more? Even America has been invaded for that matter. They kicked those Yankees right in the nuts, because they can conquer every audience with their solid performance. From the first notes on of opener “You’re All Alone”, they show the crowd that they are back and the band is sounding better than ever. The steady riffs are causing a wall of sound, that easily reaches the back of the café. Everybody will be involved today and it’s full power or nothing at all. The list of songs contains many winners, some real classics and a few surprises as well. Long term fans will be quite pleased to hear “Get Back Or You Fall” after an absence of many years. These are the classic songs from their debut album, that have never been played in the Lovell days. That’s no shame at all, but it sure feels like a real treat to hear them again. The first few songs come in like a steam train. PICTURE likes to impress and they do that pretty easily punch by punch and every punch hits the bull’s eye. Even after only a few reunion shows, they sound like a very well-oiled machine. And they can’t leave their fans in the cold, because they have quite a reputation to hold high. Playing music is in their blood and they never go for the automatic pilot. Instead, they challenge themselves by regularly changing the songs and do something that you wouldn’t expect or even dare to dream of. “The Hangman” continues and that’s also one that you won’t hear that often. The guitarists share their solos and Laurens ‘Bakkie’ Bakker beats the crap out of his kit, while Rien oversees the operation while playing the bass. And Ronald plays with the crowd, as they were all his friends for many years. And most of them are of course. “Night Hunter” continues and when the band plays “Message From Hell”, they press the pedal to the metal. It remains one of the most furious songs. “Night Tiger” is another fine surprise and “No, No, No” is definitely one of my fave PICTURE songs. It was also the first song that I ever heard from “Heavy Metal Ears” and one of the most heavy songs on that album. In fact, it was during the radio show of Alfred Lagarde, called ‘Betonuur’, where this album was being promoted. Those were the days and they don’t make radio like that anymore in the new millennium. “Live By The Sword” is a song to sing along to. The slower pace makes it a bit easier for you. It has got a great epic feeling. “Heavy Metal Ears” is on next and after that my all-time fave PICTURE tune is on, which is “Rock & Roll / Under Your Spell”. The speed change in the middle, their love for rock and roll in the first part and then the fast bashing part of “Under Your Spell” will really make you go crazy. This is what heavy metal is all about. The king of riffs by Jan Bechtum are timeless and this man is a musical genius, as far as I’m concerned. He’s a killer guitar player and all the solos that he shares with his buddy Appie de Gelder are pure heavy metal to me. A killer guitarist, who has always been underrated, showing his skills again tonight and I’m in musical heaven, because of that. What an awesome experience hearing this phenomenal song in a live setting once again. The instrumental tune, that starts next, is an intro to “Eternal Dark”, a song that everybody sings along real loud. The front rows are shaking and PICTURE really got everybody under their spell. “Diamond Dreamer” is next and despite some difficulties with the drums, PICTURE plays on and on. Another personal fave of mine follows with “Unemployed”, simply because it’s made to play real loud. And you don’t have to explain that to PICTURE. Their sound is quite good, by the way. It’s clear and loud, like it should be. I think that next to “Eternal Dark”, most of the fans are waiting for “Bombers”. Isn’t that the ultimate PICTURE song? When I talk to people from all over the world about PICTURE, they always mention “Bombers” as being their favorite track. And it may not be missed here tonight as well. I still remember the video for this with the oldies in the crowd being blown away by the sound of the band. This footage was taken from a show at De Bonkelaar in Sliedrecht, the Netherlands. Where else, I would almost say? Sliedrecht was like their second home and I’ve seen them quite a couple of times there myself, too. It would be nice to see them live at the annual garden party of Elektra for old time sake, but if this will ever happen, remains to be seen, I’m afraid. In the middle of “Bombers”, there is this particular bass part, in which Rien always takes his moment of fame to walk through the crowd in front of the stage and gets one with them. This nostalgic feeling takes over the night, because when I look around I taste the atmosphere of every rock café in the early eighties. There is magic in the air and even “Lady Lightning” visits the Calluna tonight. A thrilling finale is coming up and starts with “You Can Go”. One more time, there’s the opportunity to sing along to this amazing rocker from their debut album. This also means the end of the gig. But PICTURE just can’t go, they have to play an encore first, because the public wants more. PICTURE are crowd pleasers, that won’t let their fans down. The audience actually wants loads more, but the night is over and we’ve had a wonderful time with two fantastic bands on stage giving it all they’ve got. Of course there’s time for one more song and it’s a surprising choice to end with “Spend The Night With You”. This is a very worthy last salute to the fans in Ommen. I wish, that it would go on for another hour. Our hotel is nearby and the night is still young. I shout for “He’s A Player” and “Rocking In Your Brains”, that would be a dream come true. But it really means the end of a fantastic night. On our way to the car I picked up some original PICTURE beer coasters. What an original piece of merchandise. We like to thank all the members of JURASSIC PARK and PICTURE and the people at the Calluna for giving us a fantastic evening. The holiday season is about to start after this. These two bands already tinkled my bells, that’s for sure.

*Text by: Toine van Poorten & pix by: Toine & Rita van Poorten.

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