Vroeger Was Alles Beter / The Rockin' Windmill Show

Saturday evening March 22, 2003.

It's time for the 6th Rock Around de Werft festival in Kaatsheuvel, The Netherlands. Although main act MUD had to cancel their performance due to the serious illness of singer Les Grey their replacements were no less than The Hollies.
However, it is pretty clear to rock and roll fans that the music of The Hollies sounds completely different (read: less good) than the music of MUD.

Elvix and the Hounddogs kicked off the show. The arrival of just Elvix is a happening. He is wearing that crazy pumped-up Elvis suit. He looks more like a cartoon character than he looks like Elvis. But after a couple of songs he is stripteasing out of that suit and a slim singer pops up. We soon found out that this singer is a lot more than just another Elvis clone. He and his band bring a perfect show that has all the elements of entertaining the public. All together there are 13 of them including a horn section and pretty looking young ladies. The drummer really felt at home as his cigarette was dangling down from the corner of his mouth (or were it just his nerves that were troubling him?).

For those who only know the Dutch singer Albert West from those sweet love songs like “Jinny come lately” and “Sha la la I need you” really doesn’t know what this man is capable of. With the Shakin’ Arrows as backing group Albert gave a show loaded with dynamite. His version of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Cliff Richard songs like Rave on, Peggy Sue, Oh boy, La Bamba, Come on let’s go, Gee wiz it’s you, Do you wanna dance and Please don’t tease were of outstanding quality. It showed that Albert and the band were really enjoying theirselves. This was pure rock ‘n’ roll. Also the Everly Brothers songs that Albert West did with Jan van Helvoirt were top quality.

And then there was Matchbox. This legendary band from Scotland with their incredible fantastic music that they made in the 80’s. We all remember Graham Fenton, Fred Poke, Jimmy Redhead and Steve Bloomfield from that time. And if you still see these guys playing nowadays you think: how simple. And indeed, it looks simple when you see Steve playing his guitar. Looks simple, but when you try it yourselves you may hurt your fingers pretty bad. Graham, who was on the move all the time, still has his typical voice. He was also the only one this evening who had time for a tea break. The band’s music sounds completely different when Steve starts singing (better even, but that is a personal opinion). His song Hurricane sounded even a lot better than the version on CD.

The Shakin’ Arrows originate from Waalwijk. This place is very close to Kaatsheuvel so they consider this a home-match. Their music remains a joy for the ear. Although the band’s beginning dates back to 1961 these guys are far from retiring. It is always a pleasant surprise to see how much fun these guys are still having playing their music. Phil Spector had his Wall of Sound. But the sound of the Shakin’ Arrows is just as unique. Take “in the mood” as an example. You must really hear this live to appreciate their fantastic guitar playing. But don’t underestimate Jan van Helvoirt. He is an excellent singer. Amazing really how much volume can come out of such a tiny guy. The slow number My Maria (originating from the Tielman Brothers) was a surprising choice between all those rockers. But The Shaking Shadows … sorry … Arrows can play a lot of different musical styles.

In the 60’s the Hollies were a super band. What’s left of the band played in Kaatsheuvel. They tried very hard and played one hit after another. Songs like On a carrousel, Bus stop, Sorry Suzanne, Carrie Anne, Jennifer Eccles, Yes I will and Just like me. Although it certainly was no rock and roll, rumours still suggest that their name comes from one of rock and roll finest: Buddy Holly.

One thing is for sure. In this home match of the Shaking’ Arrows the audience was absolutely the winner.

Jack van Oers