I had been lucky enough to get an invite along to this Dutch industry showcase and had not really intended to cover as the bands only had a 25 minute slot and three of them (Navarone, Paceshifters and Amber Arcade) were after a brief listen prior to the show completely outside our radar. However the night was so damn surreal and Dool were so good despite being in completely the wrong place that I felt I had to at least give them a bit of acclaim to take away from the whole strange experience. The venue is attached to a hotel in upmarket Kensington and is actually an Alpine themed restaurant with small stage area which is a popular haunt with Prince Harry and his chums. If that isn’t odd enough, this show was actually part of the ILMC conference taking part at the hotel, “an annual gathering of professionals involved in the global touring, festival and live entertainment industries.” Apparently it is the tenth year this show has been put on and is the one of the most popular parts of the conference. It’s easy to see why as it means free booze and nosebags for the hee-haws to consume and it is quickly evident that on the whole these people have next to no interest in the actual ‘entertainment’ and probably haven’t even got a clue or a care about who is providing it.

I won’t lie as I certainly participated in the booze side of things, feeling like a fish out of water it was the only thing keeping me from completely teetering over the edge of a social anxiety parapet. As for the food, well there’s nothing worse than the stench of it during a live show especially when you are a non-carnivore. Let’s just be polite and say I won’t be rushing here for dinner any time soon.

Dool were on second and after at least bothering to watch the first band unlike many here it was a relief when they took to the small stage. For 25 minutes all was well in my world and that of the very few legitimate fans in the venue. The last few times I faced some of the band members on stage it was spent ducking blood and being completely lost in their sublime and melting sound. Of course although the memories strongly remain the epitaph on the Devil’s Blood has tragically been laid to rest. Thankfully we can at least take away the formation of Gold and Dool from this and the latter band’s debut album ‘Here Now, There Then’ is one that really has made an impression on everyone who has heard it. Luckily the sound here is spot on and very fit for purpose and gives the three songs the band have time to play full depth and body. Bass is thick, snares crunchy and vocalist Ryanne van Dorst (Elle Bandita) parts stand strong and proud over the top. Having played the album loads it’s great to hear songs such as Oweynagat and She Goat heftily delivered as the band touch upon elements from doom to gothic psychedelia and pure rock and roll, majestically twisting us around. Well that is the reaction they should have got but there is no wall of fans caught up in this like they should have been. Only a few are casually watching and it’s not gone unnoticed by the band.

I’m reminded at times of the likes of Debbie Harry and Patty Smith vocally and with the stage presence of the singer. It’s obvious she is no less as outspoken either as before the last song she exclaims that she hasn’t got a clue what they are doing here in such a shitty place and they were just going to bother the audience with one more song so they could stop watching and get back to their drinking (unfortunately the majority were doing just that anyway). I’d loved every second of this and it made the trip to the higher-class venue than we are used to seeing shows in completely worthwhile. All I can say is that I hope the band at least got paid well for it and I scarpered off almost as soon as they had finished; not without purloining a free beer for the road though naturally.

Dool are back here on the 26th March as support to the somewhat self-indulgent sounding Nergal side-project Me And That Man. This time they play another odd choice The Jazz Café but at least they should certainly have more in the way of proper fans on their side. In the meantime you are urged to listen to the album at the link below and see if you can resist falling in love with it!

(Pete Woods)