MOONSTRUCK – The background to the story (the things we do for rock)……
Moonstruck are a band from the Netherlands. I first came across them via a friend’s posting of one of their You Tube videos. I was immediately interested and, through some communication, I was sent their EP to review for Decibel Geek. The review can be found at this link…..:
After the band announced a few shows in their home country, I wondered if I might manage to get to one of them. When I found out that the show in their home town area of Boskoop was a headliner, I checked prices, concluded it was viable and booked the trip.
The trip itself meant an early start, getting up at 4am to make my way to the airport for a flight to Amsterdam. It was three different train journeys from there to get to my hotel. However, it was a journey which all thankfully went to plan. As I had the afternoon to explore, I met my friend who introduced me to Moonstruck who had travelled for the show as well. We wandered around the town of Gouda, where the famous cheese comes from.
Soundcheck and build up…..
We made our way to the venue about 5pm, as the guys in the band had said we could watch the soundcheck. Personally, due to previous experiences, I have seen a far share of sound checks, some which seemed to go on for ever. I was most impressed with the way they set up. They knew what they wanted, got down to it and (with an excellent soundman) and had everything done in no time at all. Moonstruck subsequently played two songs as rehearsal. At that point, I knew this was going to be a worthwhile journey. My appetite was truly whetted for the show to come. Talking of appetite, the band also very kindly invited us both to eat with them and we had a chance to get to know the guys that bit better.
I didn’t realise that this was part of a festival in the town. Therefore, there were three acts on before Moonstruck, meaning they were not hitting the stage till Midnight! I realised it was going to be a longer day than planned.
At midnight, after all the wait, the intro tape started and Moonstruck were onstage. “Beyond Your Wildest Dreams” was the opener track, from their soon to be recorded album. It was a mix of old school Iron Maiden and Nevermore. It included some tidy guitar interplay from guitarists Ronald Blok and Vincent Van Den Bosch. Furthermore, it had some very good vocals from singer Arnold Kloek, who is outstanding live. I particularly loved the “Fly with me” section, along with the doomier or darker musical section musically. My first thoughts were “I want the album” from just the first song. as I watched the band run around and play like men possessed, any possible tiredness was forgotten about.
The second and third tunes were taken from the previously mentioned reviewed EP. “Sustain The Illusion” was even better than the recorded version. It was darker, heavier and with a crystal clear vocal. The rhythm section of Jacco Boer on bass and Michel Blanken on drums, drove it along beautifully. “Bizarre” was enhanced by a superb solo from Vincent and a hint of Rush at the start.
The live performance……
The two new songs that really grabbed me were the slightly more commercial (at least on the chorus) “Wasting Time” and the speedy “Web Of Deception”. The latter song had the fastest riffs of the night! The chorus lines on “Wasting” of “tell me how to live, tell me how to die” had me singing along. There was even some spontaneous headbanging and dancing in the audience. It was great to see the guys in the band bunched together up front, smiling and rocking away. “Web…” had a lovely melody being played during the twin guitar section. There were a couple of times when I thought of early Judas Priest. That song was one of them, along with the equally enjoyable double guitar harmonies on “Metamorphosis”. It did what the title said; by changing from a gentle ballad into something heavy during the guitar solos.
Arnold, the frontman and singer, is most impressive. During the more intricate and progressive section of “Dark Medicine”, he was doing a boxing type work out and conducting the band. Meanwhile, Michel threw in some great drum fills and rolls.
“Observer Of Chaos” had some lovely vocal harmonies and a splendid guitar solo from Ronald, which was elegant and melodic.
The night concluded with the other two tracks from the EP. “The Devil’s Recruiter” and “Articulation Of Time” sound just so much better live, where everything is so clear (helped by superb sound).
I went with some expectations and I can happily say they were not only met, but bettered. It was as good musically as I expected. However, the energy and performance was as good as anything I have seen recently, which was pleasing. I was amazed at how good singer Arnold is. He has real control live and is so clear in diction. I understood nearly everything lyrically in all the new songs, even though he remained (like the rest), very active on stage. The new songs sounded excellent and the EP (which is worth purchasing) material comes into its own.
Moonstruck are a band that could easily support a range of bands and impress. They fit in, whether it is old school metal, hard rock or progressive metal. I recommend catching them if they play anywhere nearby. They have a good array of songs and great stage presence.
It was worth the effort and time (as well as money) to go and see Moonstruck in their home town. They said that the album will hopefully be with us October/November time. I await that, and perhaps, another trip for the release party show!