Tuesday 13 September 2011

Into The Great Wide Open 2011 Day 2: Magical and Perfect Day

We wake up to a gorgeous sunny day. It will stay that way the entire day which is great for the fullest day of the festival. So no time to waste and we head for the first band.

Into The Great Wide Open 2011 Day 2, September 3 2011

Alamo Race Track (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
It's nice waking up with a cup of coffee and this Dutch band on stage. It's hard to put a label on their music. They have never restricted themselves to a music genre or even the laws of song writing. Their creative songs are definitely growing even more in a live setting. The band is focused but also a bit modest. Maybe they need to wake up a bit themselves too.
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Onder Invloed Sessions
One of the nice things are the live sessions with the musicians at different places on the island. We went to this one in the only village on the island, in a garden behind a dyke separating it from the sea. We just missed Roy Santiago and sit down when Rebecca Sier is playing a Nick Drake cover. All musicians were asked to play cover songs. And so Dave von Raven, front man of The Kik and MC on the main stage this year, is cracking jokes and playing songs by The Beatles and Herman's Hermits. Bettie Serveert's Carol van Dijk is also playing, but especially Case Mayfield's impressive and passionate version of Damian Rice's '9 Crimes' is
outrageously beautiful.
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Agnes Obel (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
After hearing about her highly acclaimed shows I was ready to be impressed. Her songs are beautiful and it's great how she and cellist Anne Ostsee can manage themselves on this stage. But somehow she's not focused enough today. The show is a bit messy, also due to a sliding pedal, and therefore it misses the impact I was expecting.
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La Pegatina (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
Their show on Lowlands ended in a big party a few years ago, therefore this was expected to be a big hit. And with this great sunny weather the Catalan band turns the field into a Spanish fiesta. But at the same time it is clear how weak their songs are. It's all very cheerful and full of energy, but it's nothing more than playing easy party tunes. The musicians are loving it themselves and even when their time is up they continue playing in the crowd.
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GEM (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
Maurits Westerik didn't have an easy time after GEM's last album. The rest of the band quit and he was left behind. But now he's back with a great new band including fine musicians like bass player Daniel Rose (C-Mon & Kypski) and drummer Bram Hakkens (Kyteman, Dazzled Kid). The songs of the new album sound great with some potential hits and Westerik is a convincing front man. The stage in the forest is the perfect setting to show case the new album and I'm pretty sure it will put GEM back on the map.
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Kings of Convenience (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
After Erlend Øye played here with The Whitest Boy alive last year, he was so excited he really wanted to come back. And so this year he's here with his good friend Eirik Glambek Bøe as the Kings of Convenience. Their Simon and Garfunkel like songs are perfect for this sunny and warm day. Øye is looking completely at ease again and is enjoying every minute. When he brings in his other friends of Kakkmaddafakka who are playing later that day, it even turns into a happy party.
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dEUS (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
After this year's program was completed the organization had one more surprise up its sleeves: Belgian rock band and superstars dEUS were also coming. They played a small intimate set a day earlier in the forest that I sadly didn't know about, but tonight it's a full on greatest hits rock show. Front man Tom Barman is looking even more focused and driven as ever nowadays and we get treated to all the big hits and a few new songs of their upcoming album Keep You Close. Maybe the crowd is a bit too relaxed since it doesn't really catch fire but they prove once more how big a rock band they are.
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Crystal Fighters (Ronald Says 5 out of 10)
Because of their one hit 'Plage' Crystal Fighters are invited to many festivals. Although they turn the main stage into a big party, their songs are not interesting at all. It's actually a poor performance with just loud, messy songs. Even their big hit 'Plage' sounds pretty awful.
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Time to leave for better parties. After a while we find ourselves on the beach at one of the camp fires. People are playing camp fire songs and the boys of Kings of Convenience and Kakkmaddafakka are entertaining everyone by playing cheesy cover songs. Even Willy Wartaal is treating us to a song. Can this day get any better?

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