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Articles » Valga Cruisin' 2009

Valga Cruisin' 2009
Date of Publication -03 August 2009
Topic - Gig Feedbacks
Author of the article: dutch
Total Vote Count - (8 users gave their votes)

Once a year in summertime Jari Kuivanen from Dixieland in Estonia, organises the Valga Cruising Festival.

People from Finland, Estonia and Latvia are bringing their "old" cars in for the Saturday cruise. According to Estonian rockabillies this is the Estonian rockabilly event of the year!

This year Jari invited following bands

The Backbeat Combo (FIN)
The Tonemasters (UK)
Rebel Ted Rock (GER)
The Neva River Rockets (RUS)
R.J. (NL)
Anders Karlsted's rock and roll / Elvis Show
The Rumble Beat (EST)
The Soil Senders (FIN)

It was the third time I visited this event. For me as a Dutch guy it is a kind of a survival. Jari is working very hard, but the conditions there are poor.

Estonian rockabilly band the Rumble Beat kicked off on Friday. They all are young people desperate to play rockabilly. Having played on their instruments for a few years, the effort is suprisingly good. Every song is in balance and the band is working good together to give the girl lead singer a good back up. Still she could have smiled more or show the audience that she likes to perform. The muscisians looked a little insecure... I didn't like the guitar sound. For me it sounded too raw for such a nice rockabilly songs.

The Backbeat combo had a little bit the same problem. Also too raw guitar sound. Not orginal at all... The slapping bassman-singer worked very hard. In high tempo a lot of good rockabilly songs were passing by. My compliments for the very, very, very drunk drummer, who managed to keep on standing and maintaining his rhythm.

Anders Karlsteds was one of the many Elvis impersonators.
The Tonemasters did all they could to back him up. I didn't hear one song that was without mistakes. Poor effort!

The show of The Tonemasters was a lot better. They told me that they play in England around 150 times a year. The guitarist is one of the founders of Firebirds. In this style you should have place this band. A kind of commercial rockabily band. Again here I didn't like the guitarsound...

Nevertheless cruisers, fans and other people liked this evening a lot. They danced and drinked and had a lot of fun.

On the 2nd day it was time for the cruising itself. At the endpoint Elvis was singing again with The Tonemasters. With same mistakes...

In the evening The Neva River Rockets started the program. With a lot self-written tunes they had the dancers quickly on their hand. A lot of good rockabilly and western swing was passing by. All instruments were in balance with a good authentic sound. Funny that two members had long beards. Maybe it was a part of the western swing act?

Again Elvis was doing some songs, but this time with some tapes instead of the Tonemasters. The difference was that the tape was working better together with Elvis!

Now Soil Senders took the stage. A lot of self-written tunes. Singer changed his instrument sometimes from rhythm guitar to sax. It was a straight musical good set. But nothing interesting was a happening.

Rebel Ted Rock is absolute not my style of rockabilly. But everybody seemed to like it!! Every song started with 1, 2 , 3 ,4 in the same high tempo you could expect from teddyboy's. I heard only one song with a different rhythm!! All instruments were very simply played with only the most important lines in teddyboy music.

The last act R.J. I could not see... Sorry...

I think for Jari it would be better if he invited next year less bands.. And he should invite more teddyboy style related bands, cause it looks like Finnish and Estonian rockabillies enjoy more teddyboy music than authentic hep cat rockabilly.

For everybody who likes wild nature & drinking parties: this is an event you should not miss!!

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10 August 2009
Comment by bopperer

I don't see anything insulting or disrespectful in Hans' article either, just a normal point of view, maybe a bit too harsh but nevertheless he expressed his opinion about the festival...I always find Hans' articles very good and it's because he always is telling what he really thinks, straight with no adornements, praises or whatsoever...

10 August 2009
Comment by joana

Criticism is a hard field and also a critic must bear with criticism. If criticism is justified, constructive and fair, then of course target of that shouldn't get hurt but more or less try to learn something. But if you simply dislike and don't tell why, people easily think that you just want to despise and denigrate. I think that there's a line between good critique and denigration, don't you think?
In my opinion good technique in music doesn't mean that audience automatically love that artist. Artists and musicians need also charisma, feeling, on stage. If that's missing, it doesn't matter how good you are technically.
I don't like that my photos are used in public without my permission. Even though it's not commercial use, but still. It's not a big task to ask, because I find that part of graces.

09 August 2009
Comment by lottelou

I suppose that everyone can tell his own opinion about festival and bands. Even if it's someone who had played there. More to say, I don't see any rude or very bad things in this article - it's just opinion of a man who had been in Valga, and opposed to a lot of drunken people, at least has seen practically all the bands who performed there.

And, I think "employer" and "colleagues" are strange words to describe relations in music field. It's not a company or joint-stock bank, music is a creative work, where everyone could have his own feeling of music, own favourite styles, own vision of music.... So it's very strange to hear such reaction on an article which contain just personal opinion without any unfounded criticism...

09 August 2009
Comment by yulkav

First of all thanks to Hans for such a full review! Great job! I don't care what other people think, but i respect your opinion!

And now want to write few words to Jari Kuivanen...
I completely disagree it is unprofessional to write the review with own opinon in it. It can be good or bad. I guess it is more unprofessional, when organizer try to guilt a guy, who gave the true information about your festival. I also been to Valga cruising twice and can't say anything good about conditions.
What about bands and music quality, for me is easier to trust to Hans opinion (aka RJ. dutch), who have 20 years expirience, but not to people who drank only during the festival and 99% sure afterwhile can't remember anything, what was happened before. I never seen more drunk people in my life.

08 August 2009
Comment by kitti

Well, I guess we are living in a free World where everytone has right on his own opinion.

So as for me, better to say anything (sorry, guys. I didn't see any insulting in the article... well, maybe some critics, but it is pure opinion of the person who was there), than to keep silence.

At least he looked and listen to the music carefully, he had opinion, said it honestly and open. Why cannot we just respect it?

08 August 2009
Comment by dutch

I'm sorry if I hurt somebody's feeling. Also if I said things that my colegue musicians would disaprove. It was not my meaning to be disrespectfull to organizer, bands or musicians. Evrybody in our business deserve respect.

I gave my opinion how I experienced the festival. Evrybody is free to comment on that.

I reject threats to my health or my person because I have an opinion.

07 August 2009
Comment by rockvillejohn

R.J...whats bad for you is good for another.
At the end of the day its about entertainment. I think most people would have had great variety over the weekend.

Jari and his family worked their arses of so that everyone could have a good time, well done Jari!!!

As for guitar sound, if you didnt like it you can always leave and listen to your own brand of Rockabilly!!
Remember, the Backbeat Combo lent all their gear and also worked all weekend to ensure that everything went well.

Good luck in the future and I hope our paths wont meet,,,and definetely NOT in Holland

07 August 2009
Comment by jules

I totally agree, a poor show by R.J., I wonder who reviewed his show, I know for sure i1ll be waiting for him to come to England in the Autunm.

07 August 2009
Comment by valgajari

As organizer of the event I feel duty-bound to comment the article above as follows:
I thank for criticism but at the same time I think that it's unprofessional and unethical behaviour from one performer ("R.J." alias "dutch") to criticize the organizer of the event as an employer and other performers as colleagues.

Jari Kuivanen


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