what's happening with BABYMETAL
BABYMETAL @ AFAS Live, Amsterdam

CONCERT REVIEW: Explosive Energy And Metal Mastery With BABYMETAL

On Wednesday evening, June 12th, the metal band BABYMETAL performed at AFAS Live. I was very curious about the show since I had heard a lot about this band. The opening act was DeathbyRomy, a singer I had not heard of before, but I was eager to see what she had to offer.

From the start of the opening act, the atmosphere was electric. Everyone was enthusiastic and started clapping along to the first song. Although the mood was set, an attempt to get the audience to jump during the second song didn’t quite succeed. Nevertheless, the first mosh pits of the evening emerged during the opening act, and I was certain they wouldn’t be the last.

The singer performed ten songs in about 30 minutes, including a song that was performed live for only the second time that evening.

Just before the last song, the other band members were introduced and received applause. Despite the loud music, the band ended on a cute note. Before leaving the stage, they made heart shapes with their hands.

After DeathbyRomy, it was time to wait for BABYMETAL. Fortunately, the wait was shorter than expected, as the trio took the stage fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled.

The show opened with BABYMETAL DEATH, where the girls marched onto the stage in sync. While this wasn’t particularly remarkable, the effects kicked in during the second song. There was fire, but also live camera footage from the audience was shown.

Unlike the support act, the stage was slightly modified for BABYMETAL. There was an elevated platform on the stage, making them more visible. This platform had a screen at the front that synced well with the screen at the back of the stage, creating a cohesive look from the audience’s perspective. A camera above the stage provided a view of both the band and the audience, and another camera directly above the center of the crowd captured the mosh pits, allowing those who preferred not to participate to still enjoy the experience.

During the third song (PA PA YA!!), I noticed several people in the crowd waving and twirling various items like shirts and flags. The transitions between songs were also noteworthy. At the end of each song, the lights went out, leaving only blue lights on the platform before the next song started.

At the beginning of METALI!!, there was a brief interaction with the audience, and the group performed choreography as in the other songs. The guitars were particularly prominent in this song, which I loved. Halfway through the song, a large mosh pit was created when the group asked the audience to crouch down. After a small choreography segment, they asked, “Are you ready?” and the entire crowd went wild.

Overall, the stage effects were impressive, ranging from visuals and fire to smoke effects. The fire effects were especially notable during RATATATA, with the flames so intense that you could feel the heat at the back of the hall.

One of BABYMETAL’s most popular songs, Gimme Chocolate!!, was also performed. The audience’s enthusiasm noticeably increased when this song began.

For the final song, the girls stood with flags on the stage. Before the rest of the song started, the flags were removed. There were a few more interactive moments during this song, such as singing along with parts of the song and, of course, one last mosh pit. As the girls left the stage, a video was shown, and the show ended. I found the ending somewhat abrupt, but from what I heard in the crowd, this is normal for them.

In conclusion, even though I am not a typical metal listener, I had a fantastic evening. The show was a delight to watch, and the audience had made a remarkable effort with their outfits. If you ever get the chance to see BABYMETAL but aren’t a big metal fan, I still recommend going. These girls certainly know how to put on a show.



Reaching As We Fall:

what's happening with DES ROCS
Des Rocs @ Melkweg, Amsterdam

INTERVIEW: Des Rocs On ‘The Dream Machine’ And Life On Tour

During The Dream Machine Tour, Des Rocs made his way to the Netherlands. Prior to his first of two shows in Amsterdam, I had the opportunity to talk with the singer. We discussed not only the tour and his favorite memories, but also his album The Dream Machine and the creative process behind its inception.

First and foremost, how are you?
I’m great, I’m great, still reeling from last night a little bit. Excited to dip my toes into the Dutch world. I’m very excited.

Good to hear! Did you enjoy your day in Amsterdam?
Very much. I really just walked around, and I think the biggest culture shock for me today so far was when I tried to get my shoes shined. So, I went to a couple of shoemakers, walked in, and said, ”Hey, can I get these shoes shined?” And they were like, ”Okay, when do you need it by?” I said, ”In one hour.” And they were like ”We can maybe do February 5th.” They were so shocked at my New York on the man style. I think things are a little bit slower paste here.

How has the tour been so far? What is your favorite memory?
Uhm… the tour has been absolutely amazing. It has been a dream, no pun intended. Too many favorite memories, I think. There is truly not one. Every show has been special, amazing, and I’ve just been so happy to be here. Europe has blown us away.

Have you had any special fan interactions?
I think I was most surprised by Paris last night. Paris has a reputation for being very calm and cool, sophisticated, and people let their guard down last night and went absolutely bonkers. That was cool to see.

Before you go on stage, do you have a pre-show ritual?
No rituals. Not a big ritual guy because if you have a ritual, then every single time you go on stage, god forbid you forget to do it, the whole time you’re thinking, ”Oh, we forgot to do the ritual, something bad’s gonna happen.” So, I don’t like to put that potential thought in my head.

Are there specific venues or cities that you are looking most forward to playing at?
Tonight. It’s historic. I’m really excited about tonight. I think The Ramones played here, and they had a kind of similar path to us. They sold out the small room and then the big room. And they sold that out. So it’s just cool to be in the legacy of a fellow New York rock band.

Having done both, do you notice any difference between performing in the US and performing in Europe?
Yeah, I think the crowds are very different. The crowds in Europe come more ready to rock, and in the US, there’s more guard, and they’re maybe a bit more like ”What are you gonna do for me?” It’s not in a bad way, just that the US is a bit more particular. I think Europe is a bit more open-minded, which I didn’t expect. I thought it would be the opposite. So it has been interesting.

I also wanted to talk a little bit about your album. What was the inspiration behind The Dream Machine?
Dream Machine is like all things big rock music, but very much filtered through my own personal experience and my own life story. Taking all that and putting a strong emphasis on modernizing the production of rock ‘n’ roll records and really pushing it outside the comfort zone. That, to me, is all things Dream Machine.

Were there any particular themes that you wanted to explore within the album?
Oh yeah, so much of it is just about dreaming big. You know, it is the Dream Machine, but it’s a vessel. It’s an emotive escape. That is what rock ‘n’ roll has always been for me, a vessel of escape. And also, in a weird way, like self-realization. Being your truest self in a public setting, that, to me, is a core theme of Dream Machine.

How has the response been so far?
I think it has been amazing! They’re always down to go on an adventure with me. Because I make a lot of different types of songs and records, and they’re always down for the growth of Des Rocs. I always want to be continuously evolving. So the fact that they’re down for that adventure is amazing.

How do the crowds respond to the live performances of the songs so far?
It’s crazy! It’s like what I envision when I’m recording it. When I’m writing it, I’m always thinking about what is this gonna feel like live. And I feel like I have a great sense of that when I’m writing and recording. So when I see it come to life on stage the way I envision, that’s such a beautiful thing for me.

What is your typical songwriting process? Do you start with the lyrics or the melody or does it all weave together?
I would say my songwriting process is me trying to figure out what my songwriting process is. There is no rhyme or reason to my process whatsoever. I’m always just searching for it. Sometimes a lyric or a word will just (boom sound effect), it will just pop into my head. Then other times I spend three, four, five years working on a song and not getting it right. Sometimes I get a better idea in the shower, just a melody in my head in ten seconds. There is really no rhyme or reason to it. I wish I knew what my process was so that I could say ”Today I’m gonna write a song, let’s start the process”. I wish I had that, but I don’t.

What song took the longest time to write?
Well, I mean, there are songs I’ve been working on for five years now that aren’t out yet. But the longest to write recently was a song called ”Natural Born Thriller.” Which went through so many variations over so many years before I figured out what I really wanted to do with it.

When do you know when your song is really finished?
I just know, you know, if you fall in love with somebody, you know, you just know. There’s no test you can take. You know, it’s just a gut feeling.

Is there any song that you’ve put out where you thought, “well, this is an amazing hit”, and the response wasn’t that great?
Yeah, all of them hahaha. I never had, like, a big hit song. There are those songs that I think are just complete bangers that got totally overlooked because so much of life and music is just timing, you know? And some of it’s just out of your hands, and sometimes it’s not meant to be. But coming to peace with that will make you a much happier person. So many years you put out a song, you’re like, no one’s reacting to this. Like, What the heck? What’s wrong with me? And letting go of that makes you much freer to create.

How do you handle criticism from fans or literally anyone?
I’d say medium. You know, sometimes I totally disagree, and sometimes I’ll agree. I think the one criticism I hate is ‘’you didn’t play my favorite song’’. That I hate especially if I’ve just come off stage; that really grinds my gears because every tour is different, and that’s what makes every tour special. I play a certain set of songs, and that’s what makes these Amsterdam shows special. That tonight I’m playing one set of songs, tomorrow another set of songs because we get to have two shows. So I think the whole world is divided into two people: people who say, You didn’t play my favorite song, and other people who are just grateful to have been at the show and had a great time and say, Maybe next time I’ll play that song, you know? It’s two different personality types.

I get that you’re playing different sets for the Amsterdam shows, but throughout the tour, are you playing different sets or just kind of the same?
I make tweaks before I get out there, like to have a good idea of what the theme of the show is musically, curating a cohesive night, musically and thematically, is super important for me. So I have, like, my base, I have, like, 90% of it. And then when I get out there, I start making tweaks.

So when you are on stage or just right before?
More like after, like I’ll finish a show and be like, tomorrow, let’s do this, tomorrow, let’s do that.

And if there was one band or artist where you would collab with, who would it be?
Foo Fighters. Because I just think the whole mission statement of Des Rocs is something that would resonate deeply with Dave Grohl, and I feel like I’m just like screaming from beyond some other void to like, try and get his attention and be like, Hey, look what I’m doing. I think you’re really gonna like this. I feel there’s like, a void in my generation for what we’re trying to do. And I think he would really resonate with it. I could be wrong; he might hate it. So, who knows.

Are you excited for the show tonight? And what do you expect from tonight?
I’m excited for every show. I have no idea what to expect. So that’s my approach to every show. I’m very excited for every show. If it’s 200 people or 80,000, I never know what to expect. That’s the beauty of what I do; you not know until you get out there.

what's happening with DES ROCS
Des Rocs @ Melkweg, Amsterdam

CONCERT REVIEW: Power Outage Forces Des Rocs To Play Part Of Their Show Acoustically

On January 23rd, Des Rocs had a concert at the Amsterdam Melkweg. It was the first of two planned shows for Amsterdam. Because the first show sold well, they decided to add another one.

The event took place in the Melkweg’s Oude Zaal. The show kicked off at 8:00 PM with the opening act Christopher Shayne, a rock ‘n roll band from Phoenix. After their performance, there was a short wait before Des Rocs came on stage.

The show began with the song Dream Machine, fittingly so for the “Dream Machine” tour. The atmosphere was immediately thrilling, but after a few songs, the lights and sound in the venue suddenly went out. It became evident that a city-wide power outage had occurred. After the emergency lighting illuminated the scene, it was decided that the show would temporarily continue acoustically.

Chairs were arranged on the stage, and Des Rocs picked up his acoustic guitar. It was a remarkable moment, one not to be forgotten. After acoustic renditions of Maybe, I, and Never Ending Moment, the stage lights suddenly came back on, and the sound was restored.

From that point on, the show resumed with White Gold. In summary, it was an unforgettable evening, not only due to the power outage but also because Des Rocs tore the roof off the venue. The energy he brought resonated throughout the entire hall.

Check out the photos I took below!

Christopher Shayne

Des Rocs

what's happening with 5 Seconds Of Summer
5 Seconds Of Summer @ Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

CONCERT REVIEW: 5 Seconds Of Summer Make Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome Come Alive

On October 1st, the popular pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer graced the stage at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, and boy, did they blow off the roof! It had been over a year since the Australian band last visited the Netherlands. I also attended their show at RTM Stage last year, so I was incredibly excited to once again experience a party like only 5SOS can throw.

As the opening act, the electric duo AR/CO took the stage. I had not heard of them before, but I enjoyed their performance. AR/CO had the honor of being the opening act for all UK shows and European shows. During their performance in Amsterdam, they even played a new song, All Over The World.

After AR/CO‘s set, we had to wait a bit before 5SOS hit the stage. They were expected to start at 8:45 PM, but it ended up being 15 minutes later. Thankfully, they had a great playlist playing in the venue while we waited. We went from Somebody That I Used to Know to Teenagers, and as soon as I Write Sins Not Tragedies came on, the entire crowd could be heard singing along enthusiastically.

Then came the moment we had all been waiting for: the band took the stage. In front of the stage, there hung a large curtain with “The 5 Seconds of Summer show” written on it. As the show began, the silhouettes of the guys were visible on the curtain, and it dropped down as they kicked off their performance.
The show opened with the song Bad Omens, which seamlessly transitioned into 2011, Caramel, and Blender. The band’s stage presence was once again great, and they made sure to interact with the audience throughout the show, in a unique manner that I had not seen with other bands.

In between songs, they occasionally showed short sketch videos, possibly to give the band a breather. For instance, between She’s Kinda Hot and Amnesia, there was a sketch where the guys played doctors in a POV style, with the audience as patients. In the end, we were “diagnosed” as 5SOS fans, with a humorous touch.

As I mentioned, audience interaction was a significant part of the show. At one point, a large red dice was tossed into the crowd, and the audience got to choose the next song based on what song the dice landed. The dice had to travel from the stage to the back of the venue and back within a minute. Unfortunately, the Dutch audience could not make it in time, so the band selected Voodoo Doll.

During the show, there was a battle between drummer Ashton and the audience to see who could make the most noise. Of course, Ashton won the battle. Later, when Michael addressed the audience, he made sure that we were not forgotten.

Each band member addressed the audience individually throughout the show. They seemed genuinely grateful that everyone had come to the show that night. I really liked this. It gave the show a personal touch.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the band’s version of a “kiss cam”. During the song Best Friends, the audience was filmed and shown on the big screen. They named it the “Best Friend Cam.” Of course, the band members themselves also made occasional appearances on this Best Friend Cam. I can imagine that it would be funny to see yourself on the big screen while dancing with your favorite band.

As is common at many concerts and shows, there were numerous cameras capturing the entire evening, providing beautiful visuals on the large screens in the venue. However, on this particular night, the cameras might not have been solely for the screens. Drummer Ashton jokingly mentioned how fun it would be if the entire show were recorded, but he also added, “For legal reasons, I said it would be fun.” I am curious if we ever hear what that was about.

After an amazing performance that truly rocked the house, the show ended with their hit, Youngblood.
The entire show featured a mix of the band’s well-known songs that you could sing along to and some lesser-known tracks, offering a great variety. I had a fantastic evening, although I imagine the cleanup crew may have had a bit of a challenge with the confetti cannons that went off three times during the show.

Check out the photos below!

what's happening with Thirty Seconds To Mars

ALBUM REVIEW: Thirty Seconds To Mars – ‘It’s the End of the World But It’s a Beautiful Day’

It’s been a few years since the popular rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars released an album. The last time was in 2018 with the album ‘America,’ their 5th studio album. This time, they are back with the album “It’s the End of the World But It’s a Beautiful Day.” This new album takes a more electronic direction, something different than what we are used to from the band.

Let’s dive right in with the first of the 11 tracks, “Stuck.” This song was released as a single back in May and immediately caught my attention, sparking my curiosity about what the new album would bring.

The song begins calmly with a bit of guitar and Jared Leto’s vocals. Then, it builds some tension leading into the chorus. Once the chorus kicks in, a catchy beat is introduced. I find this song to be somewhat different from what I expect from the band, but I really enjoy it.

“Stuck” is followed by “Life Is Beautiful.” I’m not entirely sure what to think of this song. Personally, it reminds me a bit of a film soundtrack.

The song starts quietly with some piano and the first verse sung softly by frontman Jared. Soon, there’s a sound resembling a lit match, and then the chorus with a good beat.

‘’Seasons’’ and ‘’Get Up Kid’’ both are a bit softer songs with a little beat. I feel like Seasons is a bit more uplifting and Get Up Kid is a more darker empowering track. These are two of the songs that were released before the album came out. Just like with Stuck I was kind of surprised with these songs. It’s so different than the other albums. You like it, or you hate it.

The lyrics of ”Love These Days” appeal to me from the very first sentence. “I think that it’s so strange what we call love these days. Kinda fucked up and fake.” This line alone can be interpreted in multiple ways. Is the song about how the concept of love has changed these days? Or is it about a relationship in which love has changed? In the chorus of this great slow electronic song, it seems to revolve around the idea that people increasingly seek a kind of “high” or excitement that comes from heartbreak, even if it means enduring pain.

“World On Fire” is one of the audience favorites, with 1.1 million streams on Spotify. I can understand why. This electronic track gives me a vibe in the chorus that reminds me of the band’s earlier work, especially in the part that goes, “Let there be light.”. But it’s a bit more calmer.

“World On Fire” is followed by “7:1.” This song also gave me a feeling of the band’s previous work, perhaps due to its slightly darker melody. I can’t quite put my finger on why it gives me that feeling.

I believe the song is about personal growth and the desire to break free from negativity. In the first verse, there’s a strong desire expressed to change one’s life. Later in the chorus, it seems that the realization has come that change and growth sometimes come with both good and bad experiences. I feel like this song has a story. I am curious if we will hear that story one day.

Arriving at “Never Not Love You”, the song opens with a gentle piano, and Jared Leto almost whispers the first verse. The song, which deals with post-breakup feelings, has a minimalist build-up toward the chorus. The chorus itself is calm but delivered with emotional vocals. Personally, I find this one of the weaker tracks on the album. It feels a bit too slow in certain parts.

After the emotional “Never Not Love You,” we move on to “Midnight Prayer.” What immediately stands out in this song is that the vocals are delivered by Shannon Leto. It’s a nice change of pace. In the last album, Shannon also did the lead vocals for one of the songs. It’s always a nice surprise.

As soon as the song begins, it gives off a slightly dark vibe. In the first verse, we hear Shannon’s vocals, followed by the chorus. The song seems to be about battling inner demons and mental challenges. The rest of the song is accompanied by a good beat. I think this song is one of my favorites.

In “Lost These Days,” after a short guitar introduction, we are greeted by Jared’s whisper-like vocals again. With its dark bass, this song stands out a bit from the rest (apart from “Midnight Prayers”). Despite being relatively calm, this song feels quite different from the others. Towards the end of the track, the style suddenly changes, and a dance-like beat is introduced. This is quite surprising.

Now, we’ve arrived at the final song on the album, “Avalanche.” The song is opened by the lyrics, “Time, time to live our lives. Set the world on fire.” This song is somewhat different from the rest, but in a different way than “Lost These Days.” “Avalanche” gives me a bit of the vibe of the band’s earlier work, only slower. It’s fantastic!

So, my conclusion is that if you like the older songs of the band then I would recommend skipping a few songs on this album. But if you like to try the new, more minimalistic and electronic style of the band then this album will totally be your thing. I noticed while listening to the album that almost every song has the same build-up. First, a slow introduction, followed by a chorus with an electronic beat. The new style was something that I had to get used to, but in the end kind of loved.  

It’s the End of the World But It’s a Beautiful Day is now available for listening on every streaming platform. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into this new album and experience Thirty Seconds to Mars’ fresh sound!

what's happening with DES ROCS
Des Rocs 2023

ALBUM REVIEW: Des Rocs – ‘Dream Machine’

Des Rocs is becoming a more prominent name in the world of modern rock music. With his unique style and raw voice, he’s capturing a lot of attention. Two years after the release of his debut album A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place, he’s back with his second album: Dream Machine. The album was released on 25 August 2023.

Some of the nine tracks have been released as singles before, so in that sense, we’ve already had a sort of preview of what his new album would bring. When I listened to the singles, I knew this album would be something different than the first one.

The album starts with the title track Dream Machine. The four-and-a-half-minute song begins with a bit of acapella from the singer, which then transitions into the rest of the song. The song reminds me a little of “Highway Tune” by Greta Van Fleet. This title track immediately makes you want to take a ride yourself.

After the opening, the album continues with the songs I Am The Lightning, White Gold, and Nowhere Kid.
I Am The Lightning starts off with an awesome guitar riff. The riff that initially was part of Never Ending Moment but didn’t make it to the track. After Rocs returned home from tour he made a loop that became I Am The Lightning. The song really gives off a sense of empowerment. Overall, it’s a really great song with a good build-up. It also gives off the vibe that it could work well as a track in a movie.

I Am The Lightning is followed by White Gold, which, in my opinion, isn’t a particularly remarkable song on this album. The song has a good build-up, just like most songs of this album but, It doesn’t have a lot of lyrics and is my least favorite song of the album. That’s why we quickly move on to Nowhere Kid, one of the shorter tracks on the album. The lyric ‘’I don’t belong here And I never did’’, at the beginning of this song makes it clear that it’s written for those who consider themselves outsiders. The relatable lyrics and the rebellious rhythm are a great match in this song, After a somewhat more rebellious track, we find Never Ending Moment. With 2 million streams on Spotify, this is the most streamed song from the album. I completely understand why. I think this might be my favourite of all the nine songs. The song starts with an acoustic guitar and after a few seconds, more instruments and vocals are added. When the drums kick in, we briefly hear Rocs’ raw voice introducing the first verse. This track revolves around the desire to hold onto special moments and freeze them in time.

Following this song, we move on to Bad Blood. This song has a great dark and intense undertone. It makes the song more mysterious than the rest of the album. Despite several songs on this album carrying a dark undertone, Bad Blood has a different vibe to it, a vibe that to me is reminiscing of the classic rock sound from the ’70s and ’80s.

Natural Born Thriller has a different style than most of the tracks on this album. The beginning gives off country vibes, which then transition into rock, which goes back and forth throughout the song. It’s a nice twist on the album, something I didn’t expect. Before we approach the end of the album, we have In The Night to transition into the calmness of the final track. This one is notably calmer than the rest of the album. The softness and dark tones of the intro immediately create a sense of tension. Similar to Never Ending Moment, the song starts with a guitar, and this time, Des Rocs softly initiates the song before the emotional chorus begins.

Des Rocs closes the album with the acoustic song Up to You. With Up To You, you can really hear Rocs vocal strength. This acoustic love song, in my opinion, serves as a perfect ending for the album.

With this album, Des Rocs has musically revealed another facet of himself. I’m curious about what he will bring in the future. Dream Machine is now available for listening on every streaming platform. So, check it out!