A few weeks before this gig, I heard Nice Beaver for the first time, on Marty Dorman‘s The Waiting Room. A shame really, given the musical power this band has shown since the late 1990s, and the fact that all band members live within an hours drive from my house. To make up for that, I wanted to go to their CD presentation, for the 2015 album The Time it Takes. Since I couldn’t make it, I decided to go see them a few weeks later at JJ Music House in Zoetermeer. Armed with a friend, Guido Kruyswijk, a camera and money to buy their back catalog I took off and was treated to a nice surprise: this very tight, driven live band.
Due to the late announcement of this gig, and the fact that Renaissance were playing at De Boerderij, just a few kilometers away, the audience was a bit less than Nice Beaver deserves, but they weren’t playing to an entirely empty room either. During the gig, I heard the few tracks that were played in The Waiting Room, and many (for me) new ones, and I never got bored. Nice Beaver holds a recipe for powerful prog, with super tight drums, melodic bass, Camel like guitar and keyboards – and loads of melodic solos.
With a decent sound (the guitars could’ve been a bit higher in the mix, that’s all) and a slightly nervous vocalist Erik Groeneweg (who didn’t always reach the high notes the way he can) the band guided uit through most of their new album, three tracks from On Dry Land (2002) and a medley from Oregon (2004). A lovely set, and the band clearly enjoyed it, given the fact that drummer Corné and guitarist Hans were caught smiling more than once by the present cameras (including mine).
After the performance, we had a nice chat with the band, about how they record albums, how drummer Corné joined the band a few years ago and who does what outside just playing. Four great musicians, with an open mind and a good sense of humor were more than willing to talk – and to sign their album. Best joke of the evening: we were talking to Corné when the lights went of, indicating start of the performance so he had to go on stage. Upon leaving he said ‘We’ll continue this later’ – to promptly show up at our corner of the venue after the show saying ‘Sorry, I had to go do something quickly, where were we?’
The powerful prog rock of Nice Beaver is a fairly unknown export product of The Netherlands, with their album being distributed world wide through Polish Oskar label. I’d recommend anyone to give them a try, and buy the new album – or see them live if you can (which is for the time being a hard thing to do outside The Netherlands and perhaps Germany or Belgium). Sometimes, the best music is made next door…
- River So Wide
- Close to Proximity
- Culley on Bleecker Street
- Rainbow’s End
- The Time it Takes
- Sound behind Sound
- Lawnmower’s Day Off
- Beaver state
- Waiting for the Bell
- Love on Arrival