I went to the Netherlands in search of the love of my old friend Brian and some new music. I found the former – just, amidst a weird carnival of tents with bearded ladies ( almost ). The new music?
It was always going to be fertile ground for me; I take my dutch cap off to anyone who can name three bands/musicians from Holland ever to have floated my musical barge. 2 Unlimited are not allowed in to the equation because their name will never add up.
Art rocks! was a brilliant idea: an invitation to musicians to delve for inspiration in to the works of the Dutch masters from the formidable array in the Rotterdam museum. We happened upon the final and the winner was worthy of a popular song contest. If I could find a link I would share it. The winner of the popular song contest rarely has the best song, mind. The most evocative song came third. I’d share that, too – but nobody remembers the name of the runners up. Unless it’s the unforgettable Gareth Gates.
Two hundred acts joined the Artrocks competiton at the start and we were lucky to see the final few. It also got me into an art gallery on a Saturday night which was a wonderful thing. And not just for the cleanliness of the toilets compared to our doss-house down the road, although that was a definite boon.
It was just a real treat, topped off by a performance from a famous Dutch singer-songwriter who commanded the room with a furtive insouciance, wisdom and wit which made me very happy indeed – even though he was singing in foreign. If you see the name Lucky Fonz III on the Listening Post anytime soon I urge you to have a listen. And then blame me.
I grabbed a chat with old Lucky after his show. He apologised for singing his entire set in Dutch. He has a different set for an English audience – no translations, different songs. The Dutch prefer a little more levity, apparently. He then introduced Brian and me to his tour manager. “He used to drive for Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Tony Joe White, ” Lucky Fonz III told us.
“Tony Joe White? You drove for Tony Joe White? My father in law loves Tony Joe White, ” said Brian. “Here, take a fucking photograph.”
Fonz took the snap whilst muttering: ” What the fuck’s going on? I’m meant to be the famous one around here.” Being the most famous singer-songwriter in Holland brings its own burdens. He had a top ten hit in 2010, don’t you know?