Live review: Popronde 2019 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, September 12th, 2019

It’s time for the Popronde! For everyone not knowing Popronde: Popronde is a free annually returning travelling festival in The Netherlands taking place between September and November. During Popronde upcoming Dutch bands and artists perform in various cities (this year 41) on different kinds of stages. On Thursday September the 12th it was time for the first day of Popronde 2019 in Nijmegen.

Of course there are a lot of different musical styles to find during Popronde. This year’s line-up also includes a few metal bands, as well as quite a few bands that don’t play metal, but do play quite heavy guitar-based music that can be to the liking of some metalheads.

The first show that I went to was by a band that I already mentioned earlier on DutchMetalManiac: Two and a Half Girl. They usually play metal, as you can read later on in this live review about their evening show. This afternoon show is an acoustic show though, performed in Het Huis van de Nijmeegse Geschiedenis that is inside a chapel, making this the perfect place for an acoustic show. During this show Two and a Half Girl performs a few of their songs, including Bring Me Back, the song that wasn’t released until the day after this show. This Bring Me Back as well as the other songs they play also sound very nice when played acoustically. Frontwoman Juliët as well as guitarists Pim and Daan deliver vocals, with especially Juliët’s vocals sounding very nice. Other than his normal guitar work Daan also plays a solo that’s in the original, electric version of that specific song, but this solo clearly isn’t made to be played acoustically. That’s something the entire band can laugh about, something that’s characteristic for the fun they have during this show.

After getting something to eat, the shows will be much heavier in the evening.

The first show I went to in the evening was from Tricklebolt in the soon-to-be new location of Black & Blue, a BBQ/workwear concept store. Apparently many other people were, just as me, very curious to hear this band, since it was already quite filled. Tricklebolt plays some very nice rock that’s very energetic and psychedelic. What stands out the most in Tricklebolt’s show are the guitar and the Hammond. Guitarist Tim Kampman roars his guitar very nicely, while the sound of Roy Scholten’s Hammond adds a very nice atmosphere to Tricklebolt’s rock with as absolute highlights the moments that this roaring guitar and very nicely sounding Hammond are combined in a perfect way to end up in psychedelic excesses. Tricklebolt doesn’t only bring that atmosphere with their music though, but also with their appearance, clothes (except drummer Lars Spijkervet for a bit on this part) and show-aspects such as the LED-box showing “Tricklebolt”.

After that it’s racing to the other side of the center of Nijmegen for more psychedelic excesses. There, in De Onderbroek, Black Monsoon is performing. This three-piece performs a show in which you can let yourself go completely, right from the start. Instrumentally it’s mainly very psychedelic and compelling, but at the same time quite heavy. Their show also includes some longer instrumental parts, building up their music to postpone its climax, repeating this and ultimately ending up in very psychedelic excesses. Guitarist Teun as well as guitarist Jacky both also do vocals, with Jacky doing the most of them. Teun’s vocals sound pretty dreamy, while Jacky’s vocals are a bit sharper, but still very fitting.

Then it’s racing back to the same side of Nijmegen’s center as where I saw Tricklebolt’s show. Now I go to a place a few doors next to Black & Blue’s future shop in a tattoo studio called Dutch Harbour. That’s where Alison’s Fall is performing, a quartet led by vocalist/bass player Floortje van der Kooy and guitarist Pepijn van der Kooy, who are brother and sister. They, together with two live musicians, play a very nice dose of very danceable rock that grooves very nicely through this small and crowded venue. Especially frontwoman Floortje is standing out and it shows that she perfectly knows how to perform a very strong show. She does so with her very strong vocals, her bass work, including regularly-played nice sounding basslines as well as performance-wise with the use of her body and the way she looks at the audience. Other than that, she also shows that she has a lot of fun, something that also adds to the nice atmosphere of this show. In addition to his riffs guitarist Pepijn also plays some very shredding solo’s. For a moment it looks like that won’t happen anymore because there are some problems with his guitar, but fortunately this is fixed quite fast. Alison’s Fall throws a lot of energy through this small venue with their very strong show.

From now on it will be a bit heavier, to start in a place where you wouldn’t expect that, a karaoke bar called Roxy’s. The huge disco ball on the ceiling is quite characteristic for this venue, but it’s definitely not fitting with the band that’s playing here now, Deathtrap. While some people might think of something like country when seeing the US flag and the cowboy hat of vocalist Tom, a metalhead probably also thinks of a band like Pantera. Deathtrap’s music is much more towards Pantera’s style than country, that’s very clear. They completely turn this karaoke bar upside down with their very pounding and powerful show that comes with a huge dose of energy. It’s also very crowded in here, many people wanted to experience this. Vocalist Tom stands out the most, his vocals are on a bit of a low volume during their first song, but luckily this gets better soon. He gives everything he has in this show and is a very good performer. In addition to his very powerful vocals he has a lot of interaction with the audience in a very intense way, he jumps through the venue and is regularly to be found on the floor to give his vocals some extra power.

After Deathtrap’s powerful and intense show I went to De Bijstand where Onegodless was performing. Unfortunately I didn’t saw that much of their show. This is partly due to the fact that Popronde is about many different bands at many different places meaning a very tight schedule with bands I wanted to see combined with racing between those different places. However, that I saw a bit less of Onegodless’ show compared to the other shows is because of the fact that they start 10 minutes later than planned. However, I already knew that Onegodless plays very nice music because I saw them earlier at Amsterdam Metal Fest, of which you can read my live review here. Onegodless’ instruments are pretty low-tuned, resulting in Jim Meyer’s guitar and Robin Zielhorst’s bass sounding like one constant wall of sound, amplified by Rik Haaksman’s bass drum. On top of that frontman Pieter Verpaalen spews his high, ominous shouts very intensely. That’s exactly what’s Onegodless’ power: that low-tuned wall of sound combined with those ominous shouts resulting in an heavily pounding and crushing whole.

To close off this evening I went back to karaoke bar Roxy’s where another band will be performing that you wouldn’t expect in a karaoke bar very soon. It’s about the band I also saw perform in the afternoon, Two and a Half Girl. However, now they’re playing in their original, electric way. Unfortunately the sound isn’t that great during this show, especially Pim’s guitar seems to have quite some problems resulting in feedback. Due to this the vocals aren’t audible very well for most of the time. That’s a shame, because as I already mentioned before, that’s something guitarists Pim and Daan and especially frontwoman Juliët are very good at. Despite these things Two and a Half Girl surely shows how to build a party with Juliët leading. On one moment she even stands on a table while singing and is splitting up the crowd for a wall of death in this very crowded and small venue. In addition to their own songs, including the at that moment still unreleased Bring Me Back, Two and a Half Girl also plays a cover of Louwie’s Let’s Take The Dog Outside with guest vocals done by Louwie’s own Jelle Crooijmans. Two and a Half Girl plays, despite the sound problems, a very strong show that shows a lot of energy. This was a very nice show to close this very nice day of Popronde 2019 in Nijmegen.

The bands I saw perform today were all very good and all performed very strong shows. To me personally Deathtrap stands out the most. However, the other bands are also very well worth checking out.

You can read our interview with Two and a Half Girl here, as well as our 22nd part of Promoting Bands, including them, here. Here you can read our earlier live review of Amsterdam Metal Fest, including Onegodless.

Popronde Official Website
Popronde Facebook
Popronde Instagram
Popronde Twitter
Two and a Half Girl Facebook
Two and a Half Girl Instagram
Two and a Half Girl Twitter
Onegodless Official Website
Onegodless Facebook
Deathtrap Facebook
Deathtrap Instagram
Alison’s Fall Official Website
Alison’s Fall Facebook
Alison’s Fall Instagram
Alison’s Fall Twitter
Black Monsoon Official Website
Black Monsoon Facebook
Black Monsoon Instagram
Tricklebolt Official Website
Tricklebolt Facebook
Tricklebolt Instagram
Tricklebolt Twitter

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