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Focus again

03 Dec 2007 / in music and gigs

Last night we went to see Dutch prog-rock band Focus. We saw them earlier this year
and I blogged about it here. Everything I wrote then still applies; they are simply wonderful – oh those massive tunes! – so phenomenally played.

Here’s Thijs van Leer (hammond organ, flute, band founder, yodelling and as mad as cheese) standing away from his Hammond for a moment to reveal his vast bulk and spectacular flute playing:


Thijs and guitarist Niels van der Steenhoven share the melodies between them, reprising the phrases between flashy guitar, huge organ chords and delicate flute. They veer and twist from rock to jazz to classical and back again. Like so many so-called prog bands, they understand how to create colour and tone in their music which seems to give apparently simple riffs real depth and meaning.

Here’s Niels van der Steenhoven with Bobby Jacobs on bass:


Niels is, I suspect, quite shy. He shows little sign of actually enjoying the fact he is centre stage and most of the audiences’ jaws have dropped to the floor with amazement at his dazzling virtuosity. He seems to be as embarrassed to be there as Thijs is proud to have him in the band!

I would very much like to see Focus play in the Netherlands to a home crowd. Next time, perhaps. What a great excuse to go to the Netherlands, after all.

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