May 20th, 2021 Poppodium Metropool, Enschede
June 26th, 2021. The day the Netherlands symbolically said farewell to the first lockdown which had the world in its grip as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic by aiming the face masks into the dustbin. Also it’s the day I started this review. It was a strange time anyway where my feelings were shattered. However, music always keeps flowing. So without further ado, the review.
This concerns the registration of a performance that the Dutch band ENorm from Enschede gave on May 20th 2021 in Poppodium Metropool in their hometown. The performance was part of a weekly program on regional MetroTV and can be seen on the band’s Facebook page as a stream and on their YouTube channel.
Obviously this event happened in an empty venue and that is rather silly, especially when you consider ENorm has been successfully working hard for 25 years. Normally, the band performs at sold-out venues and the audience reacts exuberantly to their catchy music. ENorm (which originated from the 90s progband Marathon) resembles somewhat as an anglophone Bløf with a sound that relies heavily on bands from the eighties like U2 and Talk Talk but often with a more progressive atmosphere.
Despite the fact that ENorm has the reputation of being a great cover band, on the stream they present only their own material. The band shows a varied cross-section of material from their silver existence during twelve songs. Sandwiched between the two most recent songs, the Coldplay-like Waterfront at the beginning and the single-released Strange World as a closing track, continuously the band testifies of being tightly attuned to each other. With Ferry Bult the band proofs they are as good as their drummer. High Above The Ground is a wonderful song with Marillionesque rolls. The band knows how to create a nice atmosphere.
Yet it is not always the tight interplay that gains the most points; that honor is reserved for singer Eric ten Bos. With his warm voice, which sounds like a blend between the vocals of Dinant Woesthoff and Steve Hogarth, he seems to effortlessly beat himself through the set. Apart from a few moves, it is mainly his voice that ten Bos focuses on. He comes into his own best in largo songs such as The Widow, Deep Sleep and the great Reach For The Roses, but he also sounds great in Impossible Love. Impossible Love, which is still uptempo on “Finding My Way”, has been given a beautiful pastoral glow with serene organ sounds. The song has an explosive ending culminating in one of the few guitar solos.
Speaking of the guitar: Ronald ten Bos, Eric’s brother, is also a hero. His playing on the six string is always the designer of the song. You hear a lot of The Edge-like antics and also visually the U2 guitarist through a woolen hat is nowhere far away. In addition to all this typical playing, there is also room for the acoustic guitar in the song Answers and the stream seems to end with two uptempo songs Mf Attitude and Brown Sugar, firework. It all ends with a convincing performance of Strange World, a song written during the lockdown and, as mentioned, released as a digital single. The prominent place that Martin Platenkamp’s keys occupy here are so unmistakably 80s that lovers of that time will certainly embrace the song. The fact that Platenkamp’s role is so large may be remarkable since he always operates from the background. Someone who certainly makes a valuable contribution to the band sound is bassist Bram Brijan. With his adequate playing, he always ensures the right link between melody and rhythm. It fits perfectly into the well-oiled machine called ENorm. This stream is well worth listening to. ENorm is a good band with a great singer. The songs selected for this stream are all fine with the exception of a few songs. They are more than that, much more.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022