Joe Satriani & band played at 013 Popcentrum in Tilburg at June 5, 2013. Review by Frank Hurkmans, photography by Hen Metsemakers.
An excited feeling we have, driving to Tilburg towards Popcentrum 013. We are going to see the concert of Joe Satriani who will be accompanied by one the best rhythm tandems in today’s rock music, Marco Minnemann and Bryan Beller. And last but not least, the gentle giant genius Mike Keneally on keyboards and guitar. 013 is a well known rock palace in The Netherlands with a cosy stage and can have 2.000 music lovers in the largest concert hall. Satriani has visited this venue earlier and likes the stage, atmosphere and outspoken audience in Holland. Satriani is on tour to promote the well-received CD ‘Unstoppable Momentum’, an album on which only Keneally appeares from the current band line-up. On the CD Vinnie Colaiuta and Chris Chaney play the complex drum and bass parties. Unfortunately this duo was not available for the ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ tour. Satriani asked Keneally: ‘Do you know some musicians who can complete the band?’ Keneally endorsed his long time mate Bryan Beller and felt Marco Minnemann would be a good replacement for Colaiuta. Keneally has been playing and touring accompanied with this tandem on several occasions. Satriani reacted straight and said simple: ‘Ok’ without having heard Minnemann play before. Beller was a bit more familiar to Satriani. Also worthwhile to mention: Beller and Minnemann form together with rising comet guitar player Guthrie Govan the band ‘The Aristocrats’. This trio is refreshing and expanding the rock fusion idiom. Satriani showed unconditional trust in Keneally’s intuition that this line-up could bring Satriani’s music to the next level. Minnemann is also a rising star as a very versatile drummer. He proved that on Steven Wilson’s new album ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing …’ and the recently very successful European leg of the Steven Wilson tour. But to play the complex rhythmic pattens written by and for Vinnie Colaiuta is a different piece of cake. Minnemann has a slightly different style and timing compared to Colaiuta. After a brief period of individual rehearsals the band practiced together a few days and then travelled to Europe to kick-off the European Tour. Before the gig we had an interview with Mike Keneally and Bryan Beller. The outcome of this energizing conversation will be posted later on www.thebluesalone.nl and will give a deeper insight in the cooperation between these passionate musicians.
Round 21:00 the band entered the stage. The concert started unusual for Satriani fans; with a drum solo on which Marco Minnemann immediately showed his ingenuity and typical gifts and skills. The first bars were a unusual for the audience but the crowd immediately felt something interesting would going to happen tonight. And immediately appreciated the drummer´s style. Beller joined with heavy bass breaks and Keneally built upon that screaming guitar and keyboard parts moving into ‘Cool #9’. And it was proven straight from the start: the Minnemann, Keneally, Beller trio (MKB) is a versatile trio to lay down complex musical and intellectual beds over which Joe Satriani could show his technical, lyrical and emotional skills on the axe. A great start of a great evening of rock music.
Just some highlights of the concert.
‘Devil’s Slide’ was a great example of a rock ensemble with a rhythm section who can divergate and convergate in every direction and also play as tight as possible with Keneally in a strong rhythm accompanying role. When playing ‘Flying In A Light Blue Dream’ it also became apparent the musical banquet was guided by great visuals in the most of the songs. Marvelous under water movies strengthened the emotional power of this classic song. During ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ Keneally proved the guts Satriani had to ask Keneally besides playing keyboards also challenge him on guitar works very well out. Keneally pushed and challenged with his guitar parties Satriani to a very high level of playing. On ‘Weight of The World’ Satriani shared some musical stories supported by a grooving Beller and really brilliant fills of the drummer. Also here beautiful movies covering natural and architectural structures made the picture complete. For guitar duel lovers, ‘Crush Of Love’ was one of the highlights of the evening. In the middle of this song Satriani and Keneally played a duel in which made explicit the different and high skills both have mastered on guitar. Seeing those two masters of the guitar playing was really intriguing. They were equal but different in style. On ‘Cryin’ Satch showed that an instrumental and melancholic ballad can be played without vocals. Great emotions were expressed through the Ibanez.
During the concert the majority of ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ was played. It was intriguing to see that Minnemann put firmly his landmark on all the material respecting the way Colaiuta played on the CD. Take as a good example ‘Lies and Truths’. I have hardly heard a combination of form rock drum combined with the variety of fills Minnemann showed here. Heavy keyboard layers created the basics for Satriani to show the best pyrotechnical guitar playing not forgetting the emotional part. Having a band like this must have been a dream for Satriani. On ‘Jumpin Out’ Satriani duelled with Keneally on keyboard and the cooperation between Beller and Minnemann seemed to be telepathic. Concert closer ‘Rubina’ is a song that could last continue forever; a timeless song to bring us back to earth.
Hats for Satch
Overlooking the whole concert my conclusion is Satriani has probably the best and most creative band he has toured with until now. However it is obvious Satriani orchestrates his show the MKB guys get their freedom to improvise on the majority of the tracks. To support that freedom in music making to this top notch band is a compliment for Satriani and gives Satch the opportunity for growth to the next level of musicianship. And it is good to have a giant like Mike Keneally at your side who challenges, respects and sometimes surpasses the brilliant guitar playing of Satch. Thanks for the great show. Hats of for Satch.
Highlights filmed by Paul Berkholst and available on Youtube: Cool # 9; Crush Of Love and Lies And Truth:
– Cool #9
– Devil’s Slide
– Flying In A Blue Dream
– Unstoppable Momentum
– The Weight Of The World
– Ice 9
– Crush Of Love
– I’ll Put A Stone On Your Cairn
– A Door Into Summer
– Lies And Truths
– Satch Boogie
– Shine On American Dreamer
– Three Sheets To The Wind
– Cryin ‘
– Jumpin’ In
– Jumpin’ Out
– A Celebration
– Always With Me, Always With You
– Surfin’ With The Alien
– Crowd Chant
– Summer Song