Wednesday, 9 September 2015

ITGWO 2015 Thursday and Friday

This year we are among the fortunate ones again that managed to get tickets for Into The Great Wide Open. But apparently some of those lucky people can't handle bad weather and days before the festival many tickets are up for sale on the internet for lower prices. The weather forecast is really bad though, but if you bring the right clothing and are prepared you can still have a wonderful time. So let's go back to the island of Vlieland!

The trip starts with a 45 minute effort to leave our city Amsterdam because of traffic accidents and closed down highway entrances. In the end we do make it on time for the ferry and even have 10 minutes left. On the boat the weather already gets grim and there's a cold wind blowing. It's a little preview of what we can expect this weekend. We do get treated on a waterspout in the distance that I fail to capture on camera.

Into The Great Wide Open 2015, Thursday September 3 2015

Once we get settled in at our cosy little apartment we try to see story teller Jaap Boots but the the little theatre already if full. So we have a beer instead and make our way to the Fortweg stage in the dunes.

Intergalactic Lovers
There we meet the wonderful Belgian band Intergalactic Lovers again, that we saw a week ago as well, that time in a warm tent when it was sunny outside. Now they are playing while the sun is setting and it's getting really chilly. The place of the stage is lovely but very windy and the sea breeze cools the place down considerably. Singer Lara Chedraoui looks like she's pretty cold indeed, wearing a big winter coat, but their warm music warms up the band and the crowd. The lovely pop songs go down well and Chedraoui's charming personality and humour turn this into a enjoyable first show at this stage.

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We stay in the dunes to watch the Dutch psychedelic band PAUW. The young trio are successfully working their way up in the music scene with a convincing EP and performances across the country. The setting is great between the dunes in the dark and the group treats us to a hypnotic trip with dazzling guitar licks, floaty synths and groovy rhythms. Guitar player and singer Brian Pots is impressing with his guitar skills and his floating melodies. It is clear why this band is drawing so much attention. They close the set with the epic song 'Shambhala' with a very contagious guitar hook. I'm looking forward to their first album a lot.

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More Thursday Pictures

Into The Great Wide Open 2015, Friday September 4 2015

We wake up to a grey, windy and rainy new day and count our blessings that we decided to rent an apartment this time. Today is the first full day of the festival and the line-up is incredible! Forget about the weather, because this promises to be a long but fulfilling day.

The grim weather has turned the sports field into a mud field and to make the main stage more accessible the organization has dumped a layer of beach sand in front of it, with a small plastic palm tree on it. That's right, we are ignoring the weather and are determined to have a good time. Jazz combo Bruut! are helping with it by playing groovy and jazzy tunes that are easy to dance to. The catchy jazz music isn't very hard to swallow, even when you're not into jazz too much. It's all about the groove with nice light solos sprinkled on top. This is exactly how a swinging jazz combo should sound nowadays. The foursome make the rain stop and magically the sun appears.

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We cycle to the stage in the dunes where Bewilder has started their set. It's a new band with singer Maurits Westerik that presented their strong first album Dear Island last week. The songs are also working well live on this stage and once again the sun is showing itself. Westerik is a hard working musician and Bewilder looks like a good band for him. Of course his fellow band members are no strangers to him so it is a group that has proven to work in the past. The music is a blend of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and The Velvet Underground with a touch of Springsteen mixed in. Westerik looks like he borrowed some dance moves from the boss which seems fittingly. In the end the band receives a well earned applause.

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Then we have to rush back to the sports field again since we don't want to miss too much from our favourite Dutch punk rock band Afterpartees. If there's one band who can turn any stage into a party, come rain or come shine, it's this young band. Singer Niek Nellen only seems to work harder when the elements are against us and the crowd is not jumping and laughing hard enough. He's cracking his best jokes and showing his best poses and by now you know he's going to jump into the crowd to drag everyone into the wonderful Afterpartees world. Their cover of 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain' is their way of saying they don't care about the weather either. And so once again everyone is laughing while the rain comes pouring down.

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Kevin Morby
We find former Woods bassist, Kevin Morby, in the woods which is a good place for him. His gentle patient rock songs sound good between the trees, where everyone is listening closely. His songs seem to come alive in this forest and that is a good thing since Morby isn't really adding a lot himself to it. But sometimes you just don't need a lot to play nice music.

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My Baby
When we return to the sports field My Baby has already started their set. It's a group that consists of Dutch singer Cato van Dijck with her brother Joost and New Zeeland drummer Daniel Johnston. Their music is describes as "Delta trance Louisiana dub indie funk" which comes down to very groovy danceable blues rock with funky and sometimes spacy vocals. The exotic looking Cato is slapping her guitar while screaming, shouting and singing. At the same time brother Joost is playing rocking solos and Johnston is taking care of the heavy beats to make it danceable. This actually works well and it is very contagious so that many people are rocking away with them. After a few songs you notice though that many songs are similar and Cato's high pitch shouts can get too much. But who cares today, when it's nice to dance to. Hey, isn't that the sun!?

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By then it's time to leave the daylight and go over to the dark side. Wand are playing in The Bolder stage, the only indoor stage of the festival. The dark psych rock music of this band is at the right place here. Lots of noise and drones are drowned in reverb and fuzz with the high pitch voice of singer Cory Hanson. It may scare some people away but this is a very interesting band that sounds pretty good today. Long stretched jams put you in a trance and make you forget about the wet world outside.

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We stay in the dark with the ladies from Savages, who played an impressive show here a few years ago (that I missed) even before their first album was out. Now they are working on their second LP and are here to try out some of the new songs. It's not exactly a light party band and the crowd seems somewhat reluctant. But singer Jehnny Beth (real name Camille Berthomier) doesn't take no for an answer and with an impressive performance the four women take the crowd by the throat who can only give in. It's an intense show, even more intense than I have seen them play in the past and one that raises a high anticipation for the new LP next year.

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Girl Band
We return to the indoor stage for another band that flourishes best in the dark. Irish band Girl Band definitely isn't one for the masses, the strange blend of noise rock and dance, which is the opposite of what their name suggests. Instead it's a dark rock interpretation of aggressive techno with pounding drum grooves, noisy guitars and the staccato vocals that sometimes turns into hysterical singing as if singer Dara Kiely is trying to exorcise his demons. This is really intense and one of the highlights is a violent version of Blawan's 'Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage'. Definitely a band to watch.

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De Staat
We are back at the dunes to close this amazing day with Dutch rock band De Staat who turn out to be in great shape. Their heavy grooves work well at this surreal place between the dunes. The songs sound more tight and coherent than ever and the group treat us to a smooth solid rock show. Singer and master mind Torre Florim never looked more convincing and relaxed on stage. He introduces four new songs they will play back to back and by the sound of it the new album is going to be a killer once more. This show was the icing of the giant and wonderful tasting cake of this day which proved to be one of my best festival days ever.

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This calls for a celebration and we head to the camping restaurant where two Afterpartees members are spinning records and close this day in style with a lovely set of punk and rock n roll record that they are singing and dancing to themselves the hardest. I just don't want to go to sleep!

More Friday Pictures

Into The Great Wide Open Saturday and Sunday

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