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'The Power of Plots', a literary mini-festival held at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, marks the opening event of Maand van het Spannende Boek (Month of the Exciting Book). Taking place in the venue's five different rooms, the well attended evening is a celebration of crime fiction in its different forms, including an onstage interview with best selling American novelist Karin Slaughter in The Max (the Melkweg's main hall); enacted drama; discussions of crime in film; and a mock forensic laboratory where random people seem to be posing as corpses. With the majority of proceedings in Dutch, my limited grasp of the language means that most of the evening is lost on me, and occasionally surreal depending on what I am watching! Okay, so at this stage you are probably asking the question - why the hell is this review on Metal Discovery?! Well, the evening climaxes with a tribute to James Bond movie theme songs in celebration of 100 years since the birth of Ian Fleming. Still confused? One of the five Dutch singers performing is none other than ex-The Gathering (now Agua de Annique) vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen, and I consider her metal credentials and still large following and respect within the metal community justification for inclusion of this review on the site. James Bond theme songs have no direct relation to the metal genre, but Metal Discovery's all about broadening musical tastes, right?

I've seen a variety of metal gigs in the Melkweg over the years including Meshuggah, Yngwie Malmsteen, Beatallica, 36 Crazyfists (and also The Gathering back in 2004), so was pleased for the opportunity to witness something entirely different on The Max's big stage. The musical tribute commences around 11:30pm with the talented New Generation Big Band playing for a few minutes before one of the saxophonists introduces the first singer - Janne Schra from Dutch jazz-pop band Room Eleven, who sings 'The World is Not Enough'. Originally performed by Garbage, Janne has a more audibly pleasing voice than Shirley Manson, and the smooth tones of her commercial jazz vocals work well for this song. Next up is Anneke Van Giersbergen performing Sheryl Crow's 'Tomorrow Never Dies'. Having been a fan of Anneke's voice for many years, it's a unique opportunity to see/hear her perform with the big band backing, and she doesn't disappoint. Performing with a great passion, Anneke seems to relish in the opportunity herself, and delivers a remarkable vocal performance that further proves her versatility as a singer. The sign of a truly great vocalist is when you can get genuinely lost in their performance and, listening to Anneke's singing makes the whole world seem like a much better place. Stunning! Next onstage is Felix Maginn from alternative Dutch band Moke with a version of Matt Monro's 'From Russia With Love'. Perhaps the weakest singer out of the five performers tonight, he still has a very likeable voice, and the choice of song is apt for his vocal capabilities. Following this is Amsterdam based singer Giovanca Ostiana (or simply Giovanca, which is her performing name) who tackles the might of Shirley Bassey's 'Diamonds Are Forever'. A very talented singer with a powerful voice, Giovanca takes Bassey's vocal head-on with an impressively intense performance, evidenced by her array of facial expressions, including what looks like agonised passion to hit the song's highest notes (which she admirably does). Also brave enough to attempt a Bassey number is English born Dutch chansonniere/singer Wende Snijders with 'Goldfinger', a classic Bond theme song which provides a fitting finale to the musical tribute, as she delivers a vocal performance that matches the mastery of Bassey's talents. One final word must also go to the New Generation Big Band who are based in Amsterdam, and an incredibly talented group of mainly young people. Intensity in music is not only derived from distorted guitar chords and percussive blast-beats, but also the combined power of several brass/woodwind instruments! Overall, a most entertaining tribute to the music from James Bond movies.
Tuesday 3rd June 2008
Melkweg in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Reviews & Photography by Mark Holmes
Click on thumbnails for larger images:
Janne Schra
Anneke Van Giersbergen
Felix Maginn
Wende Snijders
New Generation Big Band
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