Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Sniffing The Grass: An ITGWO 2016 Warmup

This year the summer saved the best for last, which also seems to go for the festival season. We’re returning to that lush little island for another edition of the Into The Great Wide Open festival and it promises to be a busy one.

The programmers of the festival must have some sadistic side to them. They have packed the dazzling and versatile line-up so chuck full of amazing acts, that I hardly know where to start. And this year we’re going to overdose on Belgium’s Balthazar, who are planning to disappear for a while after this summer. They played the festival before but are now playing it again, twice! And some of its members are also going solo, so why not let them all play as well?


We dive in right away on the first day when the festival takes off immediately with some interesting music.

The duo Bombay Show Pig reincarnated as a trio with two new members to stand by remaining original member Mathias Janmaat and with a new album Show Yout Teeth. Exciting and wilful indie rock.
One of the Balthazar spin offs and the project of Simon Casier, bass player for the Belgian band. Guitar driven melodies that kind of remind of The Strokes’ soft side.
Of course you have to see the Belgian band themselves at least once this weekend before they go on a hiatus for a while. So why not go see them when they team up with Cordette Quartet, with Balthazar's own Patricia Vanneste, for a stripped down Balthazar? Not sure what that means, but sounds good to me!

Also: the intriguing and vintage sound of Crying Boys Cafe and the live soundtrack to Martha Colburn’s visuals by Jacco Gardner and cellist Helena Espvall.


Today is loaded with great music which makes it so hard to make the right choices.

1.King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
This big Australian band just about tears any place up they play with out of control psychedelic rockers that will make your head spin
Not sure what it is exactly but it's yummy. Big grooves with drones, electronic beats, mysterious singing all bundled into occasional wild outbursts. Prepare to get your mind blown.
Another Balthazar solo project, this time from Maarten Devoldere. A few songs are already available online and promise dark and sultry music. Great to start a hot summer's night.

Also: Amsterdam slacker garage rockers Canshaker Pi, Balthazar’s J. Bernardt will reveal his solo work and Balthazar themselves will prove once more why they are allowed to take over over the festival this year.


Today I need to be cloned a few times to be able to see everything that is happening today.

1.Mozes and the Firstborn
The boys from the south are back with a new album and ready to rock your world again. Expect swinging and wild rock songs that will split your head.
2.Bixiga 70
Brazilian band that mixes their local roots with African music that will make it impossible to stand still. Note to myself: bring dancing shoes.
3.Conjunto Papa Upa
60s and 70s style psychedelic afrosurf, which packs a lot of things that I simply cannot resist.

Also: my favourite Afro beat band Jungle by Night will turn the place into a dancing hall, Klangstof with their light and melodic indie pop songs, Amber Arcades' dreamy pop tunes and Remy van Kesteren showing his harp skills.


The last day of the festival always has a shorter program which is good so I can kick back a bit.

1.Baloji & L’Orchestre De La Katuba
Congolese rumba, hiphop, afrobeat, soul. Hello! Say no more! You already had me at “Congolese”.
2.Rag ‘N’ Bone Man
The big man looks like the singer of a hardcore punk band but will impress with intense soul music, reaching out to share his deepest thoughts and feelings.
A bit too much falsetto for me, but undeniably a band to see live and experience their warm country soul songs first hand.

Also: Isaac Gracie is bringing a mix of Radiohead and Jeff Buckley. Palace is playing bluesy guitar pop which sounds great to enjoy in the sun.

Years of festival experience tell that it will be impossible to realize these schedules but it can't hurt to try. Or maybe it will.

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