The Heads & MOTORPSYCHO - VERA, Groningen, 97-05-29

Okay - finally I have some time to write this concert report. Well, that is to say: actually I don't have any time at all -next week my examinations begin. But I made some spare time, so I'd better just start writing.

It was at the end of a rainy spring in Groningen, a great student's town in the north of Holland, and every year at that time something starts itching in my head - must be because I know that Motorpsycho won't let me down, and will help me soothe the everyday pain of the little arithmetics of life by giving a mind-blowing concert.

One could say that I was really living forward to the concert. Not just because of the band and the music, but also because I was going to meet Bram (whose reports you may have read on G35 or this same very homepage); I met Bram on an Internet-news-group (nl.muziek, the dutch music discussion page) and I have been E-mailing with Bram about every day for almost a year now, so we finally thought it was about time we should meet eachother. We thought it a great opportunity to meet eachother by going to a Motorpsycho gig - after all, it was because of Motorpsycho we came in contact (last year they played at this free open air festival in Wateringen, Waterpop. So that's what we first mailed about), so it was almost to logical. We deci-ded he would come here to see Motorpsycho in VERA, and I would go to the Effenaar in Eindhoven the next day.

I picked Bram up at the railroad station, we went to my house, had a fine meal, some friends came over, we drank some beer and at about ten o'clock we went to the city centre (by bicy-cle ofcourse - after all, we're dutch...) to go to VERA. Somewhere in the city centre I found out I forgot the tic-kets - I raced home to get them. I came back quite in time - there was a huge queue in front of the building, people from all over the north of Holland had come this way, and even quite some few Germans. Once in, I met some friends and we drank a beer. At that time (half past ten), The Heads had already started. They didn't sound bad at all - somewhat Monster Magnet like, heavy stonerrock indeed. And quite sur-prising: The Heads are from Great Britain. So it's not only Blur and likewise shit over there...

when The Heads had stopped playing, the MP-roadies started building up the set. I had already seen that both Bent's and Snah's amps were on stage - the only thing that had to be done was to build up the drum kit and these huge pedal boxes that Bent and Snah had in front of them. Later on these things turned out to be so called "foot synthesizers" - pedals wired to a synthesizer, this way you can "steer" the sounds and chords on a synthesizer with your feet. Very impressive, as it showed.

Anyways, me and Bram went all the way up front - we were standing on the right side of the stage, so in front of Snah (for those of you who have never seen MP performing live - the line-up is Bent on the left, Gebhardt and his drum kit up front in the middle and Snah on the right...). This proved to be quite a good spot - we had a great view on Snah's techni-ques, and not in the least we managed to steal Snah's play-list (find it on the SETLIST PAGE).

Bram got really comfortable and sat on the stage, while I stood next to him, wearing my ear-plugs - every now and then the sound in VERA is really loud, so I had taken my precauti-ons, since I still needed my ears for the next day. Besides, one hears a concert a great deal better with ear-plugs in, I think.

Anyway - they climbed the stage. Snah had a beard and a moust-ache, and looked somewhat tired after being on the road for such a long time. Bent was wearing these crazy striped pants, and as always - Gebhardt was only wearing a pair of football shorts.

The concert started off in great style - "Sideway Spiral II", played really heavy and grungy. The crowd went really wild already during this first song. Then they played a new song, which started off as a somewhat Beatle-like song with two-voiced vocals, but which got really lost in space halfways. The song was listed as "Dr. Hoffmann" - that was also what they were singing about, or at least about his bicycle... There were some kids up front who had this huge red teddy bear with them, which they wanted to give to the guys. Snah kicked it back into the audience with a huge smile on his face - and then the party really begun: the bear was ripped to shreds, and its stuffing (those small white styropor balls) spread all over the place. Like it was snowing...

Then they played "You Lied", with really snappy guitar chords. I believe that Gebhardt lost one of his drumsticks while playing - he didn't loose rhythm, however. They played "S.T.G." next, I still love this thing they do with the guit-ars, throwing them up in the air at the same time. They played another new song, which I thought was very S.T.G.-like - "Sooper Stooge", as it was listed. Quite weird and psycho, hope to hear more of this someday. Next were "Heartat-tack Mac" and "Void" - this is the instrumental part which comes after "S.T.G." on the Blissard album. I heard some parts of "Back To Source" in it as well - my favourite track on Angels & Daemons At Play. Not everybody knows it, however, since it's a vinyl only bonus track...

They played yet another new song! "Vortex Surfer", and it's so goddamned beautiful, or like Rob Gijsbers already said - "I want that song on my funeral". It starts out as a really quiet, emotional song (I guess about losing a loved one - again... quite a central them in their songs? Has anybody done any research on this?), with only guitar and very soft drums, but then it bursts like a volcano of anger. Like if I turned to stone... Gebhardt played metallophone (metal xylophone, so to say) in the first slow part.

By the way, MP had taken their video projector along, with which they showed these weird pictures in the background. While playing "Vortex Surfer", a black and white film of a naked woman rolling in the grass was shown... At least, in Groningen I couldn't really see it, but the next day in Eind-hoven I noticed it.

They followed with yet another of my favourite songs - "Mad Sun", which only is on the "Nerve Tattoo"-single. It's quite an old song, however, but it still rules. I believe they used the foot-synthesizers here for the psycho violin part. They played "Young Man Blues" - a crazy blues cover of Mose Ellison (or?). Unfortunately the crowd couldn't keep their mouths shut, but hey, they got what they deserved - a load of noise in their ears... Man, it was loud.

They played "Starmelt" and a great improvisation of "Un Chien d'Espace" - and then they went off stage for a little while. When they came back, they proceeded with "Sinful, Wind-Borne" and "Like Always", followed by yet ANOTHER of my favourites - "Hogwash". The song is on their first album, Lobotomizer, but since 1991, they have changed the arrangements and the rhythm somewhat - new, funky drum line and a bass like a loose pile-driver. This song rules. They played another oldie, "Loa-ded" (Bent went really wild!), and finally they played "Into The Sun".

Then they went off stage, Bram snatched the playlist - and we saw they still had to play "The Golden Core". But one of the roadies already started taking down Snah's equipment. then Snah came up to him and told him to put it back - which he did, with a pissed off look on his face. And ofcourse this was the perfect ending of this set - I guess I can't live without this song, or something. Bent, Snah and Gebhardt neither, apparently - they really went way up in their instruments. And yes, they used the foot synthesizers again - to play the cello parts in the original version. This was great - and the song lasted for way more than twenty minutes.

Well, and then this trip was over - although not entirely, next day I was to see the BEST MP-gig ever, down in Eindhoven. We hung around a bit, a friend of mine bought the MP-video, I wanted to buy The Tussler but it was sold out, and suddenly I saw Gebhardt talking to the sound-engineer. When he walked away, I stepped up to him and took him by the arm, we talked a bit Norwegian together, about Snah being a father, and that I was to give him a present in Eindhoven (which I did - half a kilo of Dutch liquorice... If you ever read this report Snah, now you know who you got it from), and about the MP-homepage. Gebhardt said "yeah, that site is great, we've got some con-tact with him Kalle". So now I'm curious.

Me and Bram and my other friends went into town - after all, it was thursday, and in Groningen the students party on thurs-day, because on friday they travel back to their parents. But it was hals past two already (yes, it was a long gig...), so we just ate some junk food and went back home. Next day we took the train to the south, to the Effenaar, to complete our MP-weekend (maybe something for MTV, "The MP-weekend"?)...

Jeroen Dommisse

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