The Boxx Orchestra

May 26, 2024 - De Avenue, Breda (NL)

Why visiting Breda on a Sunday afternoon? There was a lot of fuzz going on that day in the city, like "Dia Latino Day" and "Spanjaardsgat Day" (festival for orchestra's and small bands). But NO THANKS, the CD release party from Dutch band The Boxx Orchestra was the reason to visit the city. This took place at De Avenue, a building that has his roots in 1685 as a weaving building and Roman Catholic church. Between 1780 and 1837 it was rebuild including the nice front facade. In 1996 it became a place for theater dinner shows.

The Boxx Orchestra (►more pics)
Enough about the venue history, it's time for the gig review now. The CD presentation started with an intro on tape and was accompanied by an animation that looked a bit like the animation from Watership Down. The audio during this intro was a classical interpretation of Queens Who Wants To Live Forever. During this short event strangely enough the ceiling chandeliers began to move. Anyway, in a building that old anything can happen.
After the intro the band entered the stage that was divided in 2 levels. On the top stage was space for the keyboardist and vocalist Jan Boekestein and drummer Kees Schollen. And on the more wider second stage (a level lower) stood bass player Walter Hüsstege, lead singer Ria Mulder and guitarist vocalist Jos van der Zanden.

Ria Mulder (►more pics)
Daybreak, the opening track from their second CD release The Horn Of Plenty, was the concert opener as expected. The song contains a very nice organ part that did remind me of the 1973/1974 period of Camel. The song ends with a great guitar solo played by Jos van der Zanden. Another song with some nice organ playing is the track Message At The Bleep played by Jan Boekestein who also sang some parts. But most of the lead vocals were done by Ria Mulder. Bass player Walter Hüsstege, who also plays keyboard in another band, ended the track with some fine bass playing. Walter made also the good-looking video graphics that appeared on several small and big screens in the venue during all the songs. A song about the shadows in the night called Go For The Night has sometimes the typical Wurlitzer electric piano sound from Supertramp. Also we could enjoy again some nice keyboard and guitar solos from Jan and Jos. After each song the band got a very enthusiastic response from the audience. One to Fit the last song from the first set has a wonderful intro that did remind me of another great intro from the Supertramp classic Fool's Overture. This song is the bands longest track and is the perfect song for someone I did mention too few. Ria Mulder is the one I mean and she really shines in this track and during the whole show she gives a great performance. The song contains also a nice short western intermezzo and two melodic guitar solos from Jos.

The second set begins with an acoustic duo performance by Jos on acoustic guitar and Ria and Jos both on vocals. After this wonderful "unplugged" event Jan Boekestein and Kathy Keller (owner and founder OOB records) said some nice words and thank you's before the band starts to play the title track from their new CD The Horn Of Plenty.
Jan Boekestein (►more pics)
this was the last song Jan played his Hammond organ because it broke down and he played later his organ parts on his other keyboards. On his other keyboards Jan played a nice synth solo and at the end of the track Jos played also a very nice guitar solo. During more songs in the second set the keyboards and sometimes the guitar were very low in the audio mix unfortunately. But that didn't bother and hold back some people from the audience to take a picture with the band while they were playing. Something I didn't see before while a band is playing.
Furthermore the band played songs from their first CD. The best tracks were The Eye Of The Storm and Words Of Laughter. The latter with nice Camel like organ sounds followed by a great guitar solo from Jos and strong bass parts from Walter. The highlight in this track is Ria playing the triangle. That gave a great reaction from the audience. After the slow ballad In Ruins (with some steady and solid drum parts from the not much mentioned drummer Kees Schollen), lead singer Ria asked the band to improvise so she could introduce the band. This improvised piece sounded very good and was more progressive than we heard the band play before at the Avenue venue.

I was very thrilled about what I did hear and hope they will carry on this musical direction.
At the end of the show was the usual band picture shoot and this time the audience also could join them again for a photo shoot. Finally Background Magazine thanks the band and Kathy Keller for the warm welcome we had in this nice venue in Breda.

Roel Strik (edited by Arthur Haggenburg)

Setlist The Boxx Orchestra:

Set 1
Message At The Bleep
Go For The Night
Simple Lovesongs
Make Me Feel Alive
One To Fit
Set 2
I Won't Recover
The Horn Of Plenty
A Friend
The Eye Of The Storm
A STar Almost Fell
Words Of Laughter
In Ruins
Improvisation from GFTN
The Games You Play

Pictures The Boxx Orchestra by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up The Boxx Orchestra:

(left to right)
Walter Hüsstege:
bass guitar
Kees Schollen:
Ria Mulder:
lead vocals
Jan Boekestein:
keyboards, backing vocals
Jos van der Zanden:
guitars, backing vocals

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