Friday, 14 September 2012

Into The Great Wide Open 2012 Day 1: Happy To Be Back



We were so lucky to get tickets to this little festival on the Vlieland island off the north coast of the Netherlands. After our first time last year, we couldn't wait to get back to this special place. It sold out in not time and we were really happy to be one of the lucky 5000 able to buy a ticket. And even the weather gods were on our side once again.

Into The Great Wide Open 2012 Day 0, September 6 2012

It was a good choice to book our boat ticket for the day before the official start of the festival, since the organization already booked a few acts to warm us up.



Rats On Rafts
And even this great band was included that I was dying to see. And they don't disappoint for a bit. The band is playing the stage in the forest while it's already dark, which only adds to their 80s new wave punk sound. Vocals and guitars full of reverb break the silence that normally can be heard in these small woods. The foursome are looking determined and confident. The repetitive elements in their songs, suck you into the music, like you're in a trance. A great way to warm up for the festival.

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Into The Great Wide Open 2012 Day 1, September 6 2012

The first full day of the festival always starts a bit late. So we have plenty of time to try out our bikes and have a nice lunch at the beach. The sun is out and is covering us with a feeling of an endless summer. Time to soak ourselves into the festival vibe.



Anne Soldaat
Many years ago this Dutch musician was part of the highly acclaimed alternative band Daryll-Ann. Now he's on his own and releasing his second album as a solo artist. That self-titled album is full of beautiful songs that are a mix of The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. On stage he's bringing an all-star band with keyboard player Matthijs van Duijvenbode (Tim Knol, ex-Johan), guitarist and singer Maurits Westerik (GEM), drummer Bram Hakkens (Kyteman, Dazzled Kid) and bass player Jeroen Overman (Tim Knol). This is a good choice. These confident musicians are looking comfortable and are playing very tight. And their faces are showing they are enjoying it a lot too. Soldaat meanwhile is concentrating on his music that goes down very well on this warm and sunny afternoon.

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Case Mayfield
It's time again for one of my favourite musicians. He released his début album just over half a year ago but is already planning a new release next month when his second album 10 will come out. Today he's playing the full album on the new stage at the lighthouse stage. This stage is set in a beautiful environment in the dunes down from the lighthouse and with a sea view. A perfect setting for Mayfield's impressive and intimate songs.

It's obvious he's making the transition from solo artist to band leader. The new songs are more of a band effort and sound a bit lighter. Although I like his darker songs best, the new material sounds promising and I'll be eagerly awaiting this release. Mayfield is turning the afternoon into a cheerful one with small chats and his unique combination of a shy appearance with a great sense of humor. Every time I see him play he has grown more confident and it looks like he's enjoying the combination with a band. Mayfield doesn't give his best show ever, but doesn't disappoint at all and I gladly buy the limited 10" after the show. Thanks for the small calculation "10 + 1 - 1 = 10" you wrote on it Case! Time for some amazing grilled mackerel. Did I mention the food is great here?

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Ben Caplan
The heavy bearded Ben Caplan from Canada wasn't on my list to see, but we happen to end up seeing him anyway in the forest. His raspy voice and outgoing stage appearance make him an immediate hit. He knows how to play a crowd and has every one eating from his hand within no time. He's enjoying every minute of it. It's easy to compare him to Tom Waits, because of his folkrock songs and sandpaper voice. But that wouldn't be fair to the master himself. Caplan, who's only 25 which isn't obvious from his appearance, can't come near Waits yet. His songs are too light for that and miss depth. But today, on this amazing forest stage, the balance couldn't be more right. Backed up by his band The Casual Smokers, his roar can be heard far beyond the forest. I bet he will be howling to the moon later tonight.

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Kampvuur (eng: Campfire)
On that same stage in the woods, writers and musicians are proving that literature and poetry match really well with music. The idea is to combine a writer, who's reciting some stories and poems, with a musician who is supporting it with music. First up are writer Maartje Wortel and Anne Soldaat. Soldaat is combining the absurd story about a couple and their dead dog, with tasteful and subtle guitar playing. Only Wortel's story telling is pretty monotonous and she could make it more exciting.

The second writer is doing it a lot better. Dirk van Weelden is a charismatic writer who confidently puts himself behind the mic. His stories and poems are well written and especially the obituary for Dutch writer Martin Bril is giving many goosebumps. The music by Awkward I, or Djurre de Haan, is well chosen and totally fits. When the electricity goes out, the duo continues unstirred with flash lights. The crowd goes dead quiet so every one can hear them, turning it into an more than impressive moment.





Franz Ferdinand
We leave before the last writer and musician to see the return of britpop band Franz Ferdinand. It's a big name for such a small festival, but I believe they wanted to play on this island so badly, that they worked it out with the organization. It turns into a greatest hits show with a few new songs. If these songs are going to be representative for the next album, we can expect a lot of disco. They even manage to slip in a bit of Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love'. Singer Alex Kapranos is singing quite a bit off-key tonight, but it isn't really disturbing. The band is looking a lot more relaxed than the last time I saw them. Their time away must have paid off. They are enjoying themselves today, where Kapranos even joined Rats On Rafts on the small stage opposite the one they're playing now. Of course hits like 'Take Me Out' and 'Burn This City' go down well tonight. They look like a garage band again, ready for the world and great music ahead of them. Hopefully this will turn out to be true.



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Time to head for the camping site's bar to do a little more dancing. And drinking.

More Pictures

Into The Great Wide Open 2012 Day 2
Into The Great Wide Open 2012 Day 3

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