Hangover Paradise

May 17, 2015 - 't Blok, Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel

Being a rather unknown band in the Dutch progressive rock scene means you don't get the chance to prove to yourself in front of a live audience that often. Most of all if you only have one CD release in your back catalogue. However sometimes certain people believe in you and are willing to support you and give you a stage to perform on. The band I am talking about is Hangover Paradise from the northern part of the Netherlands. In 2013 they released their excellent debut album Mirrors (see review). The people who believe in them are the friendly guys from Progfrog Nieuwerkerk. They are a non-profit organization which lets progressive rock acts perform on a Sunday afternoon. Having seen this band already at the legendary Blues Café in
Elias de Vries
Apeldoorn October 2014 (see review) and enjoying the great atmosphere of the Progfrog concerts made me decide to see this awesome Dutch band one more time at 't Blok! The home of Progfrog Nieuwerkerk.
After I had seen my first and only performance of Hangover Paradise last year I wished they would reach a much larger audience the next time I had the chance to witness them. They just deserve a larger audience. At the time I already knew this will probably never happen even if you're as good as many foreign bands in the same genre. Well I was very much right about that! Because unfortunately the venue wasn't sold out! Even lead singer Elias de Vries noticed this when he climbed the stage and looked who came to see them. He made a funny remark about the situation and said that the house was packed! Which of course wasn't! Well the band didn't care at all and gave all they got during their two sets. Giving the spectators an incredible show they wouldn't forget for the rest of their life. That's for sure.

The first set lasted fifty minutes and opened with a beautiful instrumental intro. The twin brothers Henk Zwerus and Peter Zwerus started on the keyboards before the band's new guitarist Erwin Budike, drummer Niels Voskuil and bassist Cynthio Ooms joined them. The already mentioned Elias de Vries got the chance to sing his first vocal lines right after that when they performed I Rest My Case from their debut. And a lot more songs from Mirrors could be enjoyed during this first set. The great live versions of Back Home, Take Away The Fear, Out In The Streets and Religious Minds proved how wonderful this band could copy the sometimes complex studio versions. Bravo most of all to new member Erwin Budike who, after three months of practicing, perfectly replaced former guitarist Pieter Nanuru. This was just his second concert with the band! The new material for their second album didn't seem to be a problem for him either. The new piece Over And Out
Erwin Budike
sounded just as good as I heard a couple of months earlier in Apeldoorn for the first time. During the first set lead singer De Vries proved once again to be a perfect host, introducing all the performed songs in a pleasant way. Sometimes funny, sometimes more serious when needed.

This was also the case during the second set, which lasted seventy minutes, including the encores. Well those seventy minutes were well spent with again songs from their first musical effort and compositions of their later this year to be released follow up album. Hangover Paradise, Coming Home and the song about child soldiers Army Of Innocents came from their debut. More new pieces of music could be enjoyed in the second set than during the first one. Those present could enjoy Wrong, Life Is Too Short, Not Worried and the first encore Out Of Sight. The last mentioned title is a song about the father of Elias who died earlier this year. The lyrics are about a relationship between parents and child. The first part of the song deals with the concern Elias' father had about his son; in the second part Elias worries about his father who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. After this serious issue it was party time on stage. During the second encore Elias introduced all the band members one by one. This was done while the band played an untitled fine progressive rock tune with a lot of blues influences. However for a short moment Elias had to give his microphone to one of the keyboard players. This way Henk Zwerus could introduce this amazing singer to the audience as well. After that Elias and his fellow musicians ended an amazing performance which was loved by everybody who had made their way to 't Blok!

Those who weren't present once again missed an amazing performance by one of Holland's hidden musical secrets!

Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

Live video

   Henri & Roel Strik

Wrong (5:03)
Not Worried (4:53)
Coming Home (5:56)

Setlist Hangover Paradise:

Set 1:
I Rest My Case
Over And Out
Back Home
Take Away The Fear
Out In The Streets
Religious Minds
Set 2:
Hangover Paradise
Coming Home
Army Of Innocents
Life Is Too Short
Not Worried
Out Of Sight

Pictures Hangover Paradise by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Hangover Paradise:

(left to right)
Peter Zwerus:
Erwin Budike:
Henk Zwerus:
Cynthio Ooms:
Elias de Vries:
lead vocals
Niels Voskuil:

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