Glory and hallelujah and what not, finally bands are playing in the Area51 Skatepark. The small shabby stage and bar offer one of the best possible atmospheres for raw punk, garage and psychrock anywhere near, around and in Eindhoven. Residents complained about the noise though, so it was silent for a while around the skatepark. That silence is broken tonight with a performance of Ben Prestage and his one man band.
Ernest van Aaken
Even a one man band needs a support act. Luckily we have in Eindhoven a man just for the job. Ernest van Aaken plays bluesy southern guitarmusic on his resonator guitar. With a thick accent, like the man came from Alabama himself, he sings songs that set the mood. Many of the visitors have sat themselves down on the sides of the hall on the benches, chairs and floor. The heat is making everyone sweat a bit, which adds to the sweaty, bluesy feeling van Aaken is creating with his excellent music.
Some interesting information, I just read that the good man builds his guitars himself. That’s something.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think the man sitting on stage is normally driving steam trains across the continent of America. With his big beard and engineers cap, he looks the part. Ben is playing his guitar, drumming with his food, playing the harmonica and utilizing all instruments to their maximal potential. His vocals are the typical southern warble at much to high speed to make out what he’s saying at times.
Staying true to his roots, he plays blues, bluegrass, boogie woogie with a bit of country and western thrown in the mix. The sound is unique due to him playing all the instruments and not necessarily in the conventional ways. In that sweltering heat, Prestage still puts out songs like that steam train, not taking time for breaks except to take a swig of his beer. Did I mention it was really hot?
A various arsenal of guitars is being used, but also his famous cigar box one. Self build, it produces a primitive punky and raw sound. Prestage enchants his audience with his variations and skill, but mainly with his a performance. The man is full of jokes, delivered in words and song. Particularly funny are his stories about his own upbringing and how he started playing on a one string guitar, then got a second string and so on.
Artists like Ben Prestage are exactly those that work best in small venues like this. A bit grimy and run down, but great for music, drinks and atmosphere. The sounds of skateboarders in the background and the buzzing chatter of the visitors provides the perfect place for an artist like Ben to do his thing. He even introduces the band members by instrument to great amusement of the guests. Music at its best and purest. A great night indeed.