Studiogonz Gouda — A Dynamite Show — 27/11/2018

Compleet in de sfeer van de Zappa’s jeugdige experimenten met
explosieven sloot de ZAPPAtributeband 2000 MOTELS hun
show in Gouda af met het opzwepende en spetterende Miss
Pinky, één van de nieuwe nummers op het repertoire. De band
had het publiek aan het dansen dat daarna scandeerde om méér
… logische gevolgtrekking : de hoeveelheid aan stijlen, ritmes,
grooves, prachtige gitaarsolo’s en zangharmonieën boeide de
ware liefhebber van begin tot eind. Opvallend deze avond het
aantal dieheart-fans, tekstvast, gemotiveerd om zich mee te
laten slepen in de vloed aan Zappa-composities. Van het
doordenderende Bamboozled by Love en Camarillo Brillo, het
melodieuze Magic Fingers en bizarre Trouble Everyday tot het
ingetogen Sharleena kan eigenlijk niemand ooit genoeg krijgen.
Over al die andere ingeslepen composities ? … Next time …
Zappa for President ? … no politics … Músic is the Best !

ZULCH

YMCA Scheveningen, 31/3/2018

A review

Writing about music is particularly risky area, similar to explaining the colors to the blind. On the other hand what’s so difficult about it? Besides, everyone writes nowadays, right? Massively!  You can see it yourself, daily, in any place. No, really, just look around, all those modern Shakespeares, Dostoyevskis and Hemingways…of whatsapp, twitter and facebook tirelessly type millions of meaningless letters and (even worse!) emoticons, trying to pass a “message” to another writer who has exactly the same NOTHING to say…errr, but where is the music?

Well, no music yet, just NOISE we mostly hear. The noise we are being flooded with via “Talents”, “Idols”, “Voices of…”,  and (absolute worst ever) “Toppers” or What-Else-Have-You-TV shows,  and crappy radio stations (too many to count) by hours of buzzing,  inferior, trashy sounds that pretend to be “a music”, this is where we live now.

But then among all of those, suddenly a little gem appears: a group of people who decided they do not want to add to the overwhelming choir of noisemakers, instead they decided to provide a quality message. A case outstanding on its own. (And, surprise, surprise, they DO NOT rap!)

This does not happen often nowadays, mind you.

As we all know, but let me quote that: “music is the best”, isn’t it?

So, here we are, at St. Alfonzo’s….errr…   with a group of folks whose passion is to play and expand the fantastic world of Frank Zappa compositions to next generations.

(Reality check: when it was the LAST time you heard Zappa song in the radio? Or TV?)

A band, created by best musicians you haven’t probably heard about in your entire life. They are not (yet) having a smash hit, they are not in Saturday Night Live, RTL Late Night, Hart van Nederland, etc., etc. Nope, they are just a group of people who know that it is important to pass the good music to audiences and have fun with it altogether.

On a side note, I just think it had to begin just exactly same way in 60ties – there was some unknown band, playing a gig in a small venue in the middle of nowhere (but you still need to pay your parking ticket every 2nd hour!)  gathering mostly local folks, who were too lazy to do anything else than sip a beer in the pub and then….legends were created, fans were following and the fame have grown… Beatles, Stones, Floyds, Who, Bowie, Zeppelin, Maidens, Jackson, Prince, Rammstein…Zappa, they all started nowhere and became world icons.

Ok, we are talking about a tribute band, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but STILL. J

I knew they existed already for some time, yet series of unfortunate events disallowed me to experience the 2000 Motels live. And when I finally had a chance, the experience was astonishing!

To a small club on an Easter Saturday evening (new Zappa tradition?) we arrived, and to our surprise the venue was so intimate we could even talk to band members before the gig, so it was finally confirmed they are human beings and not Sy-borgs.

And the show, the music, the performance?

One must realize that playing Zappa music is very challenging – those are not 3 chords, boom-boom-pah, jump-jump, songs. In fact, Zappa created complicated compositions, with various tempos and chords progression even within one track, so only skilled musicians could live up to the task. Original Zappa bands members were exceptionally talented (and they rehearsed literally for months before any tour was taking place). We are talking about master levels of any instrument. Here with 2000 Motels it is no different.  Ok, they probably have not had the luxury of months of paid time to rehearse all nuances and play each song in reggae or metal version, yet still, the band manages to deliver a fantastic experience and show for more than 2 hours!

All that is more than any Zappa fan can expect nowadays, given the fact that it is not too many times one actually can experience Zappa songs live. Apart from Dweezil works, does anyone else really plays his music to the world? The way it was supposed to be?

Knowing that Dweezil does not come to Europe as much as we would like him to, 2000 Motels are an unique chance to experience Zappa music, once again live, played with passion, skill and humor!

A set of 20 songs is a good start and the choice goes for the entire span of Zappa’s career. You can listen to tracks from first albums (“Take off your clothes when you dance”, “Let’s make the water turn black”, “Ms. Pinky” through some biggest hits like “Penguin in Bondage”, “Muffin man”,  “City of Tiny Lites”, Camarillo Brillo” and some less obvious choices like “Oh, no” or “Magic Fingers” or “Uncle Remus”.  All those delivered with very good interaction with the audiences thanks to the frontman abilities to do so.

It is common knowledge that improvisations were always the big part of Zappa shows (Dweezil does them too), all those special moments when musicians can showcase their skills and abilities separately and altogether. Those always have a special place in any Zappa fan heart.  I hold them dear the most.

And 2000 Motels have them too! I was so excited to hear how they work around solos and improvisations on (almost) each song. And here comes the most pleasant surprise:  The solos is “Tiny Lites” with very unusual guitar passages, in ”Trouble every day” and “Penguin”, they were energetic, almost frantic and definitely long, long exactly as needed to last.

There were 3 absolute gems of performance that deserve special commendations and praises:  those being “Bamboozled by love”, “Sexual harassment in a workplace” and “Village of the Sun”.

“Bamboozled” has put me in a state of excitation by its funky beat, played faster and with more emphasis on the bass, than I have ever heard, in fact it was so funky that even Prince would be satisfied.  It was hypnotic, addictive, compelling and trancy, I wished it lasts much longer than it had! Definitely one of the strongest points of the evening.

Then there was the “Harrassment” and boy, how fantastically that one sounded! The song is fully instrumental (for those who might not know, are there any?) and there are at least 2 brilliant versions of it, one by Zappa himself, another by Dweezil, I am not sure which one is better.  However “Harrassment” by 2000 Motels is equally fantastic, equally strong and bluesy and (maybe because I was so close to the stage) growling deeply within audience. I was totally amazed by it.

And then…the top of the evening, the “Village of the sun”. A song that could go unnoticed among other Zappa hits, maybe even something one can live without, but 2000 Motels have changed my view on that forever! It was a mesmerizing moment, when both keyboard solos and guitar appeared out of nowhere, it blew me totally out!

It was the most NON-expected sensation of the evening, it was so much different than anyone could imagine! (mind you, there are couple of versions of it obviously, but NONE of them like by 2000 Motels!)

So, at the point when you expect something like Echidna’s Arf beginning, suddenly a slow, calming keyboard sounds fill the space and you are immediately put miles away, almost in Eden, or other peaceful place, where you clearly recognize deep bass lines, beating the smooth rhythms, delicate drums in distance just emphasizing the beat and then you are slowly getting drown into sensational keys which (brilliant on themselves), are setting the mood and later slowly give up space for one of the most thrilling and mesmerizing guitar solos I have heard in my life, one out of this planet!

I have heard many fantastic guitar solos by Vai, by Blackmore, by Prince, by Zappa, Gilmour or Satriani, but this one, this one puts Jan among all of them! It was like a waterfall but with calming notes, a cascade of passion and energy, equally deep as soothing. The notes were not rushed, executed in precision to the very last one, bringing the deepest sensations. So delicate, yet most powerful of all solos on that evening…I stood there, hypnotized,  hoping that it never ends, I almost felt those notes going through my body, I was floating on them, letting my mind completely out of that very place and moment…and then….I was cursing myself that I did not have my phone recorder on!

An absolute masterpiece that one was!  A world class musical experience that I can’t get enough of. If You Tube was a vinyl record, my constant re-plays of that snippet on 2000 Motels site, would erase every note out of it and none of you could have ever heard the (so far) most beautiful performance of 2000 Motels.

“Muffin Man” has ended the show, very, very powerfully, but I was still contemplating that “Village” version and still cursing myself that I have not recorded it live…

And that was it, cut off suddenly, 2 hours passed like a minute, left me happy that I could feel (not only listen to) Zappa’s music, fueled for next months, and I could see by happy band members faces, they were satisfied too!

Nevertheless I only got more appetite and expectations, anticipating what is to come? And there is certainly a LOT of it, since 2000 Motels are just starting their adventure.  There are many, many more beautiful Zappa songs to be again played live…I can’t wait for “Zomby Woof”, Torture never stops”, “I am the slime”, “Black Napkins”, “T’mershi Duween”, “The ocean is the ultimate answer”, “You are what you is”, “Dumb all over” , “In France”, Titties and beer” and “Bobby Brown” or “King Kong”, just to name a few, you get a hint guys, don’t you? J

Next one is in September and I plan to be there for sure!

If you wish to experience a good Zappa show, you can’t miss it! Even if you have never heard of Zappa, it is a perfect starting point do educate yourself and fall into the beautiful world of his compositions.

Przemek Nowak

De Vaart 3/2/2018

I went to the try-out in Haarlem with an open mind but quite prepared to possibly witness a sorry attempt to emulate the music of one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. I was more than impressed and the very next day I went on line and bought tickets to their first ( official) gig a week later. Need I say more…? Ok, I will! A dedicated bunch of serious musicians. Everything extensively rehearsed and ultimately very well performed. I dare say “ Frank would approve”!

Salvatore Tozzi

P3 Purmerend 10/2/2018

2000 motels in concert

Datum
20 februari 2018

Band samenstelling

Wouter Helmink – keyboard, zang
Olga Meijer – zang – percussie
Jan van der Veen – lead- en slaggitaar
Karsten van Straten – drums – percussie – zang
Rob Brons – keyboard – zang
Achille Reggazoni – basgitaar – zang

Locatie
P3* Purmerend
*Pop, Podium, Purmerend, is een pop- en cultuurpodium van de stad Purmerend. De zaal biedt plaats aan 1000 bezoekers. Het podium bestaat uit twee zalen. Ruime, moderne opzet met een strakke foyer die toegang geeft naar de grote zaal.

Publiciteit
P3 toont een maand- en jaarprogramma met daarop de poster. De band zelf
maakt promotie via Facebook en het versturen van uitnodigingen aan gegadigden.

Bij aankomst valt boven de ingang van de concertzaal de lopende lichtreclame als aankondiging voor het optreden direct op … Zappa Tribute 2000 Motels 21.00 uur.

Toegangsprijs : € 12,50

Podium / Techniek / Bar

Modern en professioneel van opzet, sfeer van een poppodium, belichting en geluidstechniek professioneel. Blikvanger is de aangeklede Torso met Zappashirt, waarop de wens “Zappa for President ” de ultieme utopie benadrukt … Zappa, een musicus/componist uit de vorige eeuw? Niets is minder waar, zijn legendarische muziek leeft, stimuleert, daagt uit en blijkt zeer actueel ; een reden te meer een Tribute aan hem te wijden.

Programma/ Playlist

Geen voorprogramma, geen aankondiging van de band ( ? )
Met de openingsmonoloog van Lumpy Gravy opent bandleider Wouter Helmink de avond met de constatering dat het uiteindelijk om de muziek gaat … “Music is the Best ”
De zes bandleden komen ontspannen over en onder een eerste applaus worden we overdonderd door het claustrofobische SanBernardino, de autobiografische binnenkomer van One Size Fits All, gevolgd door het prachtige Magic Fingers, de klaagzang Can’t Afford No Shoes en het bedwelmende Bamboozled by Love. De playlist blijkt samengesteld op basis
van contrasterende effecten en een tamelijk willekeurige greep uit het Zapparepertoire. Als brug tussen de series worden Zappa-oneliners gebruikt met hier en daar een introductie in het Nederlands .

De drijfveren van de band, zich volledig vast te bijten op de zangtechnisch, maar vooral ook instrumentaal vaak zeer complexe composities, blijken in de loop van het programma in nummers als Trouble Every Day, Caroline Hardcore Ecstasy, Camarillo Brillo, City of Tiny Lights, Penguin in Bondage en het ontroerend subtiel gebrachte Village of the Sun. Afsluiter en hypnotiserende apotheose van de show is het overgetelijke Muffin’ Man …
In het slotapplaus werd ik op de schouder getikt door iemand achter me…”Niets meer aan doen ! ” hoorde ik hem zeggen. Tóch denk ik, dat de muzikale ontdekkingstocht van 2000 Motels nog maar net begonnen is …
De Band verdient volle zalen !

 

Ben Helmink