* November 19, 2011 *

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

De Meester, Almere, The Netherlands

What lacked the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival this year, according to many people, was put straight this very evening. The Dutch heavy metal scene was presented here so much better. Not one, not two, but even three Dutch heavy metal bands, who are already very successful are on the bill of tonight’s festival. A real Dutch heavy metal evening with three headliners, where else do you find something like that? Three bands, that have proved to be successful one way or another in the world of heavy metal.

ANGUS is definitely not a newcomer in the scene and after playing a few other gigs in our country, it is now time to show Almere, that they are still capable of delivering the goods after all this time. The intro tape is the well-known version of “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, what has been used before by artists like DAVID LEE ROTH in the past. This raging storm is of another caliber though. When the band starts off with “When Giants Collide” and the mighty “Track Of Doom”, it has become quite obvious to me: ANGUS is back in the front line again. Guitar player Patrick ‘The Axe’ Kruijer, dressed with a funny looking hat, shreds like a madman, like it’s the most normal thing in the world. The only original member of the band tonight is drummer William Lawson, who almost gets arrested tonight for beating up his drum kit . The executioner of ANGUS beats the shit out of his kit during “Heavy Weight Warrior” and “Leather & Lace”, that are received very well by the hungry public. Their young singer Nolly Green looks a bit uncertain in the beginning, but he’s a good singer who eventually receives both thumbs up from the fans during the gig. Bass player Rene treats his bass not only as a musical instrument, but he transforms it into a weapon, that can be felt throughout your stomach. Do I need to explain myself closer here? I guess not! After the regular set, ‘The Axe’ does a flashing solo spot, proving that he can be shared among the big names in the heavy metal scene with influences of Randy Rhoads. After this, the band returns for two more well-deserved encores. Okay, we have heard these songs before in the beginning of the set (They play “When Giants Collide” and “Heavy Weight Warrior”), but to let this band disappear without playing encores would be very inappropriate. ANGUS is back and tonight they kick some serious ass!!Welcome back, guys!

Whenever you see GILGAMESJ on the bill, you’ll know that there is high quality hard rock in the house! Their show in Lopik a few weeks earlier was sadly missed by yours truly, because we’d already bought tickets for the NWOBHM sensation DEEP MACHINE in Aalst, Belgium. I was glad to be at their revenge show in Almere though, because the guys are in a perfect shape this evening. The rules have been changed tonight: don’t talk bullshit, just play music is the band’s motto. There’s no place for giant egos, because they just want to deliver high quality hard rock and you can’t do that in a band, that is dominated by people who think that they are the one that matters. When the band opens with the HUGHES // THRALL classic “Muscle And Blood”, it becomes clear to me, that the band has got a crystal clear sound tonight. That’s the advantage of bringing your own sound man to a gig like this.“Right Here, Right Now”, “No Contact” and “Down The Road” continue almost smoothly. Oldie “Lightning Strikes” has received a make-over, that has worked out very successfully indeed. After “Lost Horizon”, I hear someone say that this sounds like having good sex, only with instruments. The band is very content with the gig so far, as you can see on their smiling faces. Vocalist Frank sounds like a young god. With a voice like that, you easily leave all the possible competition behind. When the band starts playing songs from their well-known EP “Take One”, like a great performance of “Daybreak” and the flashing “Oppression”, the hall turns into one sweaty swing palace. Everybody is moving around to the sound of the music with GILGAMESJ being the masters of the ceremony at this great party. What a coincidence to become some kind of ‘master of ceremony’ in a hall, called the master (translated from Dutch to English). The masters are on stage right now and for a moment I am in my own private dream world, when the band starts the GAMMA cover “Voyager”. That’s what I say……GAMMA! Who remembers them from a long time ago?? Guitar players Silvester and Gerrie lift this song up to a very high level, what can only be reached by the very best in the scene. Highlights of the evening are “Ticket To Heaven”, which is dedicated to the late bass player Jan Vos, and of course “Revolution”, including some revolutionairy guitar riffs. Originally, they didn’t plan any encores tonight, but a magical moment can’t be finished without an encore and so the decision was made to play “Lost In Paradise” as a bonus tonight. The old folks home, where these rock dinosaurs live, can be proud of their inhabitants, because this was a very high class performance tonight.

DIAMOND DREAMER is a newcomer tonight, although this may sound a little bit disrespectful for a band with a headliner status. Guitar players Jan Bechtum and Rob van Enkhuizen are very experienced musicians with a long history. Still, this is the first gig of DIAMOND DREAMER ever. Rob had to recover from a hernia, which caused the cancellation of an earlier announced gig. Is it a wise decision though to let this band fulfill the role of headliners tonight, you might say?! The answer to that question would be an unqualified ‘yes’. Who didn’t grow up to the sound of all those songs, that are played here tonight? I prepare myself very well and find a suitable spot, where guitarist Jan is lined up, so I won’t miss a single note from his amazing riffs and solos. After the presence of three potential highlights such as “Heavy Metal Ears”, “Diamond Dreamer” and “You’re All Alone”, it is clear that the crowd isn’t really convinced at all and has some reservation towards these first songs. The band throws in a brand new song, called “Desert Knights”, followed by “Tell No Lies” and “Wings”, which is also a new song. “Celtic Cross” is on next, which is a very catchy song, taken off of the last PICTURE album ”Old Dogs New Tricks” with Jan and Rob. After the ballad “I Feel Lost”, it gets very quiet in the hall, that was so packed and full of life, the whole evening. I hope, that’s a good sign. Rob already warned me, that there would be a new ballad in the set tonight, knowing that I am not very much into ballads at all. “Minute Man” is about men, that come too fast. Here, it takes the band just a couple of minutes. After “Blood Out Of A Stone”, we’re treated to an oldie from the PICTURE days with Shmoulik, called “In Your Face”. That must have been the ‘minute man’, I guess, who could only hold on for one f*cking song (lol). Anyway, a huge thanks for this nice flashback, gentlemen! What a great surprise! “Lady Lightning”, “Still Standing” and “To Live By The Sword” close the regular set in a very pleasant way. Clearly, DIAMOND DREAMER won the hearts of the audience tonight. Sceptical people may seem to forget, that this was the very first gig ever of the band. DIAMOND DREAMER proved to be no PICTURE cover band or tribute band. They create a style and a face of their own, which will take shape during a longer period of time. For the encores, the band makes sure to give the crowd the well-known knock out punch. And during “Bombers” a giant group of Heavy Metal Maniac members rushes up the stage to jam with the band, leading to a bit of frustration by some people in the DIAMOND DREAMER camp. However, Hans Pendavingh of the Maniacs and one of the organizers of Meesterlijk Metaal, assures the band that this is some kind of tradition and nothing will happen to them. Nobody will get hurt, but this is their way to show the band their appreciation. Photographers take their camera for a final shot of this wonderful tradition. The band is enjoying themselves for a full 100% and give their very best right now. They have definitely won this race, that’s for sure. “Message From Hell”, the old HAMMERHEAD classic and one of the most well-known PICTURE songs from the “Diamond Dreamer” album, is played in the best way possible. The final encore has been saved for “Eternal Dark” and all the Maniacs jump on stage one more time to honour their big heroes. Nothing can stop this disorderly mass anymore, I’m afraid.

Dutch heavy metal comes alive in De Meester in Almere. My sincere thanks go out to all three bands, that worked very hard tonight to give everybody an unforgettable show. But also I’d like to thank Hans Pendavingh and Jeroen Kroon, who organized this unforgetable evening and proved, that Dutch metal ain’t dead yet. For the upcoming edition of this festival we have EAR DANGER and EMERALD on stage here. When the organization is as perfectly arranged as tonight, nothing can stop us from another perfect night of Dutch heavy metal. Nights like that can make a die hard heavy metal fan really happy, which is very special in the hard life of today!

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/December 2011
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten/

Setlist ANGUS:
Wjen Giants Collide
Track Of Doom
Heavy Weight Warrior
Leather & Lace
If God Is In Heaven
Money Satisfies
Dragon Chase - guitarsolo
The gates
Warriors Of The World
When Giants Collide (encore)
Heavy Weight Warrior (encore)

Muscle And Blood (HUGHES // THRALL cover)
Right Here Right Now
No Contact
Down The Road
Lightning Strikes
Lost Horizon
Voyager (GAMMA cover)
Ticket To Heaven
Lost In Paradise (encore)

intro (Metal Dance)
Heavy Metal Ears
Diamond Dreamer
You're All Alone
Desert Knights
Tell No Lies
Celtic Cross
I Feel Lost
Minute Man
Blood Out Of A Stone
In Your Face
Lady Lightening
Still Standing
To Live By The Sword
Bombers (encore)
Message From Hell (encore)
Eternal Dark (encore)

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