The second part of our two part VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS trip is a very special one. The band is not only supported by Amersfoort based support act ATTILA, but we will also meet our good friend Antonietta Sorrentino from Italy again. The venue is situated near the old Prodent factory. Prodent is the name of a toothpaste in Holland and that already explains the name of the venue. It's near the shopping mall, the car park and the hotel, where Antonietta is staying. A couple of hours before the show starts, we pick her up from the hotel, where we meet her and her good friend Titia and her brother. We all go for a nice dinner at a restaurant in the shopping mall. It's a cold and windy night and it's good that the restaurant is only a five minute walk from the hotel. One umbrella died in that particular walk unfortunately, because of the firm wind. The food was good and it was so great to see Antonietta again. For a very short moment, we also met up with Vanessa, who does the Vandenberg's Moonkings fanpage on Facebook and decided to take a bite at the same restaurant. In the meantime, we're walking towards the Fluor to make sure that we have a good spot in front of the stage.
When we enter the venue of FLUOR, we run into the guys from ATTILA right away. They are really thrilled to be able to play forty (and something) minutes this evening and so are we. ATTILA is one of the best kept secrets of the Dutch metal scene and this is the perfect opportunity to present themselves to a broader audience. I must admit that their technical power metal isn’t really the right stuff for the average VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS fan, but we're in the front rows with a huge smile on our face. Well, let's first focus on the support act, simply because they deserve it.
ATTILA plays technical power metal without any steps to commerciality or whatsoever. It's the virtuosity of these musicians that turned them into a Dutch cult band. I will never and I repeat NEVER, forget the days that they played a few gigs in Holland with Hungarian cult metal act POKOLGEP. Since then, I'm addicted to both bands, so now you know where my admiration for these three guys from Amersfoort area comes from. When the band enters the stage, the venue is already jam-packed. A lot of people have come to see Adrian Vandenberg of course, but there are a few faithful ATTILA fans as well (Hello Angel! \m/). They start off with "Mouth Of Madness" and obviously, a lot of people don't really know what to expect. When Herbie Vanderloo cranks out his first guitar solo tonight, many people are positively surprised. Not strange, because Herbie knows to handle the guitar very well and he is a real wizkid. He plays very fast and uncompromising, backed up by the tightest rhythm section ever, namely Ton Holtewes on drums and Arjan Michels on bass guitar. "Religion Kills" continues, which is taken from the album "Triad". Recently, the back catalog of ATTILA has been re-released by the Brazilian label Mosh Over, which has tons of really cool bonus tracks, so now you know. "Solace" is on next and the band is not afraid to change their playlist from time to time. You will never get two similar shows in a row, because these guys play what they want. They are a rare breed of musicians. They live for the music and all they need is a drummer, who can count to three or four before the next song will explode from the speakers. And in each song the musicians get into their own private space to concentrate on their musical extravagance. The concentration and dedication is really huge and especially Arjan seems to isolate himself and his bass guitar from the rest of the world to give it the full two hundred percent. "Demon Inside" is the next song and the band is having a great time. Herbie has never been a man of too many words. He lets the music do the talking and that's the way I like it. Most songs that are being played here tonight are taken from the two albums that the band recorded under the name H.A.T. Awesome releases with some amazing music on it, respectively released in 2014 and 2016. Together with the re-releases of ATTILA, our conclusion is that the band is on track again, back with a vengeance and hitting harder than ever before. "Sue Me, Sue You" is another great tune, in which the band shows that they're not riding the paved paths, like so many other bands They didn't do that in the eighties and they don't do it in the new millennium. ATTILA just do things their own way. "Drastic" continues and with two more 'unknown' songs (at least, for me), called "Hollow" and "Evil In Me", the band closes their forty-five minute support slot. Amersfoort is ATTILA and ATTILA is Amersfoort and once again I must state, that I was so thrilled that they got this chance to open up for VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS. Their merchandise table at the back of the hall was visited quite regularly and I hope that they have expanded their fanbase really well, because of this great gig. I guess that ATTILA is a band that either you will love or you don't. Their music is not always easy to comprehend, but if you're open-minded for the virtuosity of these three guys, then you're in for a real treat!
When ATTILA clears the stage, I see several people in the front rows getting nervous. Their favorite band is about to play live in a couple of moments. I must admit, that I side myself amongst the big fans of this great rock outfit. And this evening they will surely prove that they're on top of the bill. Both studio albums of the band sound amazing and with the current acoustic album in the pocket, we see the diversity of styles that Adrian has to offer. Acoustic songs, rock, metal, ballads, covers, it's all there and every song is being played with so much passion and fun. The playlist for tonight is exactly the same as the one in Gebouw T in Bergen Op Zoom. I don't mind, because the band gives you a good view of what VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS is all about and their shows are never boring. The opener of tonight's gig says it all in four minutes: "Nothing Touches Rock 'N' Roll". This rock song gets the fire burning. "Line Of Fire" gives the audience a chance to sing along. And you bet that they will. "Close To You" contains a lot of LED ZEPPELIN influences, mainly because of the loud bashing drums of Mart. It belongs to my fave tracks from that 'freakingfabfantastic' debut album. Obviously, I simply don't have any words for this classic. That whole first album sounds truly awesome and outrageous and it's a true killer, as far as I'm concerned. "Steal Away The Night" is next and once again there is room for the MOONKINGS and MOONQUEENS choir. After that, the band switches to album number two with "Angel In Black". The band sounds enthusiastic and very motivated. Clearly, they like to please their fans and this attitude reflects towards the fans. Then it's time for something different and the stage will get a little make-over for the acoustic part of this evening. Adrian and Jan settle themselves right in front of the stage, Adrian with an acoustic guitar. The small, intimate setting asks for pure concentration and an absolute quiet audience. The acoustic interlude has three songs and starts off with "Walk Away" from the "MK II" album. This is followed by one of the finest songs on the "MK II" album, namely "What Doesn't Kill You". The fact, that this song sounds really tremendous in an acoustic setting says enough about the high quality of this particular song. I hope, that they will play it at full force again though during their next club tour, because it's such a powerful song. When reviewing the album, it was one of my personal favorites because of that. And therefore I was quite surprised (and happy) to see it back in this acoustic part. "Sailing Ships" gives me the chills one more time. The original version already sounds great, but this is getting close to perfection. After three songs, the stage is being rebuild again and it's time for the WHITESNAKE cover "Judgement Day", which is another powerful track in the best MOONKINGS tradition. It closes with a solo spot for drummer Mart Nijen Es, in which he shows that he is one of the most powerful and fast drummers of our country. His drum solo gets a special boost, because of the fabulous looking light show that comes with it. It doesn't only sound great, but it's also a real pleasure watching the lights change in many colours. Mart's drum sound has a lot of influences from John Bonham of LED ZEPPELIN. He's a hard hitter and a very fast beater. At the end of the solo, the real fans are already detecting a part of the intro for the next song. So next up is one of the most well-known songs with a drum intro, which is "Rock 'N' Roll" of LED ZEPPELIN. And yes, the audience goes nutz immediately, which is not strange at all, if you're playing a hard rock classic like that. Adrian seems to like all the excitement and he knows that he just pushed the right button. "Tightrope" continues, which is from that beautiful "MK II" album. After countless hearing sessions (yes, I'm not kidding), it belongs to one my highlights right now and it has a very catchy chorus, which is also the case of the next song, called "The Fire". However, for Mart and Sem it's a tough job because of the lengthy closure of the song. The bass and drums are tied in a duel and this time it's Sem who wins, but not at a knock out, that would be too simple. He has to work hard to earn his time in the spotlight and once he's there, he shines like a real rock star. Good for him, because this instrumental part is only meant for high class musicians like Sem. Adrian likes to stretch out the instrumental part, but once he gives the guys 'the sign', they know that the fun is over and they have to continue with the gig. Next up, we move on to another highlight of this evening, which is the WHITESNAKE classic "Here I Go Again". I think, that Adrian wished he could take this choir on tour with him. The venue is in an euphoric mood right now and the crowd lifts off the roof with their loud singing. What a great way to start your Christmas holidays. The mighty show of the MOONKINGS comes to an end with "Lust 'N' Lies", another firm rocker that will please all the fans for sure. And just when you wish this would last forever, the band thanks their audience and wishes them good luck. The 'regular' show is over, but they won't leave without an encore of course. I'm sure, that our good friends have enjoyed the show, as much as we did. They were on the front row, singing, clapping their hands and enjoying themselves, which gives me a good feeling. The acoustic guitar of Adrian is being put on stage and the first encore is the VANDENBERG classic, "Burning Heart". This song still gives me the chills, especially when the guitar solo starts and the crowd is singing along to it, which is just a matter of time. It's done with so much passion, that you can almost feel it. That's what music can do to you. The fast rocker "Reputation" is the final song for tonight. Then, the Christmas bells will start ringing and the holidays will begin. The gig in Amersfoort has been a very special one for us. Not only did we see our good friends of ATTILA here supporting VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS, but we also met our good friend from Napoli in Italy again and Titia and her brother. Plus we finally got the opportunity to meet Vanessa. Amersfoort became one big happy VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS family, because of this and very shortly after the show, the band moved to the tables in the back to sign a whole lot of posters, albums and other merchandise stuff. Of course Antonietta queued up, too. We had to leave right away, because of another appointment. Anyway, we're really looking forward to the next show, which will probably be at Festival 't Zeeltje in Deest. Can't wait for this to happen and hopefully the weather will be much better.