Live: ‘Stoner Ghost Fest’ in Utrecht


Some time ago the American rockers of The Midnight Ghost Train released their second album ‘Cold Was The Ground’. And now their already at the last show of the European tour. Together with three Dutch bands this American stoner-rock trio is torn up the DB’s in Utrecht on the 29th of March 2015. And I’m glad we were there!

Sativa from left to right: Chuy Smit (guitar), Jirre Buijze (drums) and Rikkerdt Bunnik (bass)

Sativa from left to right: Chuy Smit (guitar, vocals), Jirre Buijze (drums) and Rikkerdt Bunnik (bass, vocals)

All three of the opening bands got themselves thirty-five minutes to show Utrecht what they’ve got to offer. The honor of kicking off this afternoon, everything went down at 16:00, was Sativa. Much in line with the main act of these three guys play a nice, distorted hard rock. With, of course, some stoner elements.

Chuy Smit, the guitarist, did the vocals on the first song and that didn’t really went well. His microphone was set way to soft and also loaded with some kind of weird effect. It was more like he was screaming. On the other hand, bassist Rikkerdt Bunnik did most of the vocals on the remaining set. He does got that nice raw sound in his voice, which matched the music very well.

There is also another compliment to give to Bunnik. If you only play with three members, the bassist has to work overtime. Not only to play the normal bass-lines, but also to fill up the rhythm guitar’s place when the guitarist is doing his solo.
A big applause to this new band. They played a tight show, with some of the vocals being the lesser part of the show. Most of it was pretty good.IMG_2921

Second on the bill is a band that I’m not going to spent too much time on. U Dar Nik wasn’t very good, that’s for sure. Again, this band existed of three guys, but completely different from the first act. Guitarist and vocalist “Comrad X” was trying his utmost best to get a show going. It didn’t really work out well, because the drummer has a fixed place and the bass player forgot that he had an audience to entertain.

The music wasn’t that great either. Vocally everything was below average, with a lot of out of tune notes. Musically everything might have been all-right, but they never seemed to get above average. Now and then one of the members started dragging, or speeding, which made it sound sloppy. Maybe some more rehearsal time would do them good.

U Dar Nik from left to right: Comrad X (guitar and vocals), Wasdatwat (drums) and Micky K (bass and vocals)

U Dar Nik from left to right: Comrad X (guitar, vocals), Wasdatwat (drums) and Micky K (bass, vocals)

IMG_3017Last of the Dutch bands was Orange Maplewood. Beforehand I would have stated that this band had made some professional steps, compared to the other two bands. With a nice website and already one album out, these guys should be the most convincing, again, beforehand.

Orange Maplewood got together on-stage with the five dudes that are in the band. One of them was holding a tambourine, which looked rather ridiculous. The band’s guitarist and vocalist, Jordy Sanger, made clear that it was his first time to join the band on-stage. But let’s be honest, he added absolutely nothing. He was drinking a lot of beer, while waving his instrument around, but that’s it.

Musically it was like this band was put on the wrong bill. They played a grunge like rock, much like Nirvana and sorts. But when a couple of the band members started to sing together, that’s when they sounded like a pop-rock act. Also, the other guitarist was singing a song and it was completely out of tune. It sounded terrible. Beforehand I would have given them more credit. This wasn’t the audience of Orange Maplewood and they got quite a lot of work to do as well.

Orange Maplewood from left to right: Jordy Sanger (vocals, guitar), Emiel de Nennie (tamburin), Duncan Daalmeijer (drums), Darek Mercks (vocals, bass) and Robbi Meertens (vocals, guitar)

Orange Maplewood from left to right: Jordy Sanger (vocals, guitar), Emiel de Nennie (tamburin), Duncan Daalmeijer (drums), Darek Mercks (vocals, bass) and Robbi Meertens (vocals, guitar)

IMG_3106Now for the act that everyone has waited for. After a healthy dinner at a food stand inside the db’s, we went to take our places in the small venue. It was packed with a lot more people than with the first tree bands, but that’s quite normal. Then The Midnight Ghost Train started their show.

It was absolutely, face-shredding, headbanging, freaking amazing. This American trio are such a fantastic live band. They played everything as tight and good as on their records, with more attitude and show involved to it. When not playing his guitar, vocalist Steve Moss was waving with his hands to get the crowd going.

IMG_3074With a soloing intro, slowly changing into the opener of the new album ‘Along The Chasm’, this band could do nothing wrong anymore. The crowd was convince when we got to the first real track ‘Gladstone’. From the first moment we could lay an eye on this band they were really energetic and moving around a lot. Bassist Mike Boyne was pacing around his half of the stage, while drummer Brandon Burghart couldn’t really do something extra. But he gave everything on the amazingly tight drums.

After the single ‘BC Trucker’, Moss starts entertaining the crowds in between some of the songs. “Are you feeling sexy?” while rubbing his nipples through his shirt and then erupting into the somewhat psychedelic ‘Arvonia’. It is very clear what’s going on on-stage. This is a band of three very hard rocking dudes, having fun with everyone that wanted to come see them.

Somewhere around ‘The Canfield’ bassist Mike Boyne even has to dry his bald head and his bass-guitar, that’s how hard he’s rocking the stage. With a short thanks to the supporting bands and an amazing ”Buckle up your seatbelts, mother*cker”, they barge into ‘Nr. 227’. With one crowdsurfer and some small moshpits the crowd is enjoying the band very much.

About halfway through the set, the band is playing a cover of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’. It sounds completely different, but it isn’t wrong or destroying the original. And then we’re already at the point where we have to scream “we want more”.

With one more song and a short blues/soul like track that vocalist Steve Moss would play at his father’s funeral, we are left with nothing but the noise in our head. When we leave the db’s and we look around, we can only see the ripped apart venue, with the smoke slowly rising up. Everything is still there, don’t be afraid, but that is absolutely the way we felt after this amazing show.

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