Something which we’ve spoken about a lot lately is the amount of fantastic music coming out Holland, particularly in the rock scene. Following the successes of Kensington, Jett Rebel and Chef’Special, a whole host of newer artists are slowly making names for themselves, such as de Suus de Groot-fronted sextet Sue the Night. Last night saw them kick off their 2015 club tour with a show at the Paard van Troje in Den Haag. Support came from psychedelic rockers The Womb.
The Womb opened the evening with thirty minutes of stoner-psychedelia, complete with long beards, colourful instruments and a whole cacophony of sound. The quintet, who are relatively new, specialize in a mix of lo-fi psychedelic wig-outs, Tame Impala riffs and an ethereal Pink Floyd-like sound which would sit well in and amongst the Austin Psych Fest line-up. They’re at that point where it could go either way, they could follow in the footsteps of fellow Dutch psychedelic contemporaries Pauw and make a name for themselves, or they could fizzle out. We’re all hoping the former, as the band showed plenty of promise during their short set.
A half hour switchover then proceeded to make way for frontwoman Suus de Groot and her five live members. Opening with She’s jangly riffs and a lone violin courtesy of Matthijs Barnhoorn, She is a slow burning track which slowly but surely ensured that de Groot had the 250-strong crowd in the palm of her hands. Beckon, the final track on their debut album Mosaic, opened with a very recognizable riff as the song slowly built up by way of handclap beats and chanted refrains. “Come out in the sunlight” cooed de Groot before the song became a melodic masterpiece held together well by her smooth vocals. “Loneliness always comes by itself” she sings, before acknowledging that it’s Valentine’s Day and spending plenty of time embarrassing her boyfriend in the crowd. The upbeat Fool’s Gold opened with a jumpy melody courtesy of Linda van Leeuwen, before Tobias Ponsioen’s danceable drum beat encouraged the first sparks of energy from the crowd. It was at this point, too, that the simple stage production made its entrance. All it consisted of was a selection of lightbulbs strewn around the stage, flickering in sync with one another throughout the evening. It added a sense of intimacy to the evening, almost as if we were in de Groot’s front room. A mellow, stripped-back cover of Santigold’s Disparate Youth, a song we’ll mainly remember for its use on Direct Line adverts, followed. All the main elements of the original were vastly slowed down and made to sound rather demure, with everything coming together during its outro. It was an interesting interpretation of the song, with de Groot and her band giving it their own, recognizable touch. The Great Bear’s acapella vocal intro and indie-campfire guitar melody made way for the melancholic Bogeyman, which signalled a turning point in the evening.
Bruce Springsteen-esque rock banger The Whale, by far their best song, was preceded by a request for the audience to start dancing, with various people shouting a selection of carnival-themed jokes back at de Groot. As the crowd engaged in a “fissa”, we saw how much the band have grown since they first started out last year. There’s a newfound sense of energy and enthusiasm within the whole band as they beam from ear to ear and dance around the small stage with eachother. Anthemic track Look Forward saw the crowd sing its simple chorus back at de Groot, word for word. At her request, the whole room sang “Look ahead, forward!” in sync with one another. Look Forward, along with The Whale, is one of Sue the Night’s best songs, showcasing their more anthemic side. Somebody’s Watching slowed the pace down once more, before the stomping Winter’s Coming made way for the upbeat main set closer Top of Mind. A danceable drum pattern and catchy chorus combined with one another as de Groot asked, “is this all that is left?” ahead of a full-on rock out. It’s one of those songs which, regardless of how many Dutch festivals they play this summer, will always stick out as one of the songs of the summer. Following a short break, de Groot re-emerged by herself for a solo rendition of the non-album track Pity Song, taking her time to get ready beforehand and engaging in borderline awkward conversation with the audience. The tribal beats of Watercolours brought the show to a hypnotic end, although not exactly the upbeat ending which would’ve best suited the evening.
Tonight was about celebrating new Dutch music, and Sue the Night are definitely one band who we definitely won’t stop hearing about.