Monday 27 August 2012

Lowlands 2012 Day 3: It Doesn't Get Hotter Than This

We wake up to a simmering heat. Today will be the hottest day ever recorded in our country and it certainly is the hottest day ever on Lowlands. But who cares? This is still better than rain and mud, so time to get some eggs, coffee and juice to start us off.

Lowlands Day 2, August 18 2012

The big Alpha stage is only half full and it still is a mystery to me why Moss aren't playing the smaller Grolsch. Okay, they killed it there a few years back, but this band isn't a big stadium rock band. Their songs are working best in a smaller place. And this is exactly why their show isn't as good as it could be. The band is playing great though and it's obvious the songs are all little gems. But the big stage screams for big anthems and crowd pleasers. We get a glimpse of that at the end with their big hit 'I Love The Chemistry'. It's simply a matter of the right band at the wrong place.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Orgel Vreten
What do you get when you put two Hammonds together and a crowd ready to party on the hottest day ever? A crazy sweat dripping hot Hammond beating. Thijs Schrijnemakers and Robin Piso, who's also playing for DeWolff, are scourging their organs making it impossible to stand still. There are no vocals and it's like listening to a long Hammond solo. That's exactly the weak spot, it does get a bit too much in the end. Still a surprise on the always interesting Lima stage.

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Pulled Apart By Horses
We may be hot but who cares? Let's see if we can take some hardcore punk rock at the hottest stage of the festival at the hottest moment of the hottest day. So Lowlands was hot? Mwah, not too bad. These guys definitely don't take it easy. They are playing their guts out, almost literally when singer Tom Hudson is puking off the stage just in front of the first row. It turns out he's doing that more often so it probably wasn't the heat. It's a high energy performance that will definitely have pleased a lot of the people that came to see them. After their show they run off to Lake Lowlands to take a well deserved jump into the water to cool off.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Ewert and The Two Dragons
I have a break in my schedule and decide to go buy some records at the local festival record store. There's not a lot to my record collection, so I'm done pretty quickly. Why not take a peak at the Lima stage where Estonian band Ewert & The Two Dragons are playing? I heard many good things about them although it may a bit too light for my liking. I'm pretty sure of this after seeing them here at Lowlands. There's nothing special about their music and the band is looking pretty pale. Nothing is really happening on stage and the band members don't seem to put a lot of effort in it. Maybe it's the heat, but I'll skip them next time.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Foo Fighters
I decide to watch Kyteman from outside the Alpha tent to save some energy for the big finale. Therefore I cannot say much about his orchestra's performance tonight. I leave my friends to ensure a spot in the pit at the front. I have seen Foo Fighters play several times but never from up close and definitely want to take this opportunity to get close this time. The band isn't wasting any time and fly right into it. They knock out hit after hit song and the heat is rising to incredible heights inside the tent.

Dave Grohl says it's probably the hottest Foo Fighters show ever, but the band recalls one other show that was even hotter. Later on Grohl says he doesn't care and thinks this really ís the hottest Foo Fighters show ever. I'm not too sure about that, but it definitely is a great one. For over two hours they are rocking the place, only to take it a bit more slow in the end, where Grohl is chatting more. There are great versions of a long spun out 'Monkey Wrench' and the original 'Everlong'. Afterwards I hear they had to cut the show short because of the heat. It doesn't really matter. It was the perfect close of another great Lowlands edition.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Within no time this edition seemed to be over. Time was going by so quickly because of all the great bands we watched and all the fun we had. When the gods are on my side and the horrible ticketmaster/livenation ticket sale system is cooperative, I'm definitely back in 2013 for my fifteenth edition!

More Pictures

Lowlands 2012 Day 1
Lowlands 2012 Day 2
Read more!

Sunday 26 August 2012

Lowlands 2012 Day 2: The Party Is Heating Up

After a good start yesterday the sun is burning us out of our tents way too early. A bit sleepy we find our way back to the festival area, where a pancake is bringing back life into my body. Let's start this day slow.

Lowlands Day 2, August 18 2012

Phantom Limb
Not exactly my cup of tea, gospel and country. But singer Yolanda Quartey is gifted with a great voice, which she already proved when singing with Massive Attack. So it's definitely worth checking out. Only half of the British band are present today, but it still is enough to impress. The songs are mostly slow, which is perfect at this point of the day. Piano player Dan Moore and guitarist Stew Jackson do a good job supporting Quartey's soulful vocals. And when they join the singing, it results in beautiful harmonies. Like angels carefully waking us up.

Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | Spotify

Eagles Of Death Metal
Time for some good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. This time it looks like Jesse Hughes and the rest of the band are actually sober. Unfortunately the sound is awful, which makes it impossible to hear the songs' groove. Maybe the sound isn't the only problem and is the band just not focused enough to lay down a good groove. This is noticeable from the crowd and this party never really takes off. Even their great version of 'Stuck In The Middle With You' doesn't work today. Of course Jesse 'Boots Electric' is his charming self, joking around and he's trying to get the love across. But it simply isn't good enough this time.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Willy Moon
Maybe this rocker from New Zealand can put some swing in it. It certainly looks great. Willy dressed sharply in a suit even in this heat, while his female drummer is wearing only a bra. The female guitar player, looking like a hot sexy rock diva, is playing the rock licks. The casual DJ in the back ground is a bit out of place like his contribution to the music. While Willy and his ladies are rocking, the DJ is adding some samples and loops, but it feels like there's no thought behind them. Also the breaks in between songs take too long while Willy himself is trying hard to get a move on. It does have potential though and I would love to see him back when it's all running more smoothly.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Two Door Cinema Club
Everyone seems to love this band from Northern Ireland, and what's not to love? They wrote some great catchy guitar songs like 'Undercover Martyn' and 'Something Good Can Work' that will go down very well on the festival stages. And they do, but I keep missing something. Their stage performance is too static. It's lacking believe and they don't seem to put a lot of heart in it. The band still can't convince me. Which is a shame since it could potentially make this place explode.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Johannes Sigmond or Blaudzun released one of the best records this year. It's full of nice indie songs leaning towards Arcade Fire. He already proved that he can play them in an intimate surrounding, but what about this big Grolsch stage? That's not a problem, just make the songs a bit bigger. And that's exactly what Blaudzun did, without doing harm to the songs themselves. What follows is a great show that stays interesting throughout the whole gig. But his band could be a bit more outgoing and challenging instead of just backing up the beautiful songs. The musicians are a bit pale in contrast with the extravagant Blaudzun.

Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

I could've gone to see Charles Bradley or Of Monsters And Men instead, since I've seen Triggerfinger so many times in the past years. But they never disappoint and you know what you're going to get: a full on smoking rock show with tons of energy. And this time is no different. This band is simply amazing and solid as a rock. So no surprises then? There's one: Dutch happy hip-hoppers De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig join in to play their song 'Sexy Beesten' with them. The sound is pretty bad like earlier today, but this time it doesn't seem to bother the band or the crowd. They're going on a vacation now according to singer Ruben Block and they deserve it. Next time I'll see them it will be with a new record and probably as headliner.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

The Whitest Boy Alive
We go take a peak at the Whitest Boy Alive. When we get there it's clear that Lowlands has surrendered itself to the catchy summer tunes. We watch the full tent dancing to Erlend Øye and his band mates. We only watch a small part of the show, but it's clear that they are doing exactly what every one hoped for: loosening our hips and bringing good vibes.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Krema Kawa
Time to end this great and hot day with a bang. You want it hot? You got it with Krema Kawa. The Belgian band aren't anything special but are at the right place at the right time: a sultry summer night at the end of beautiful day at the Lowlands festival when everybody just wants to dance. And this party band knows how to do that. And so we all dance to their funky and swinging grooves.

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Lowlands already was at boiling point today, but we have to get ready for the hottest day tomorrow. So we party a bit more, drink a few more beers and try to get some sleep before that golden ball relentlessly will wake us up again.

More Pictures

Lowlands 2012 Day 1
Lowlands 2012 Day 3

Read more!

Saturday 25 August 2012

Lowlands 2012 Day 1: The Party Is Starting Early

After thirteen editions you kind of know the drill: leave on time on Friday to beat the crowds at the entrance and within no time the tent is up and the first can of beer open. So we have plenty of time to explore the festival area to see what the changes are. We feel at home right away and are ready for the first band.

Lowlands 2012 Day 1, August 17 2012

Go Back To The Zoo
They made it from the India to the big Alpha stage in just two years. This was the result of their highly successful first album Benny Blisto. But the excitement has worn off after their disappointing second album and today it is showing why. The songs of the first album that is full of hits still are great, but the new ones can't come close. So although they are definitely playing more tight and convincing now, their set has too many weak moments. This is killing on a big stage like this. They want to start the party but only a few people are really joining them.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

White Rabbits
The description read "a mix of dEUS and Radiohead", which is enough to raise my interest. The band from Brooklyn do play a varying set with good songs, but their stage performance is too static and singer Stephen Patterson lacks charisma. A singer that is sitting down to play keyboard is never a good idea. It's just not enough to keep some of the crowd from leaving and stay until the end. I do think we're going to hear more from them and hopefully they can spice it up in the future.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

The hardcore punk-band broke up after their third record in 1998 and out of nowhere returned. Their status grew to legendary proportions in the meantime so I wanted to see it for myself. According to singer Dennis Lyxzén they ran out of fuel back then, but they are showing they have plenty at the moment. Lyxzén is all over the stage and their set is full of speed and solid convincing songs. It's good to have this band back to show those lame high school punk bands what the real deal is.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Django Django
The hype around this funky surf band results in a full and hot Bravo tent. And they don't disappoint. Their highly danceable catchy songs make it impossible for people to stand still. Hit song 'Default' is greeted with many cheers. The nerdy band members in their homemade shirts(!) forget to light the fuse of this explosive mix of catchy music and a willing crowd though, which is a shame. But they are showing to have a lot of potential.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Hot Chip
Since we're near the Bravo stage anyway, it's a good chance to check out Hot Chip. I wasn't impressed with their latest album, although I like their music. They continue where Django Django left off. though a few notches down,and we can keep shaking our moneymakers. They aren't exactly killing it on stage, but we're all having a good time with their swinging dance tunes.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Bloc Party
The four members of Bloc Party had a rough time, which made it unclear what their status was for a while. Now they're back with their new album and a tour that includes many festivals. They are showing they still got it today. Kele is the always friendly and charismatic front man who's proving his voice is just great. So maybe they never really got close to their first album Silent Alarm, but they sure know how to entertain a big festival crowd. Hopefully they will stick around long enough and prove they can still write great songs.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Alberta Cross
A few years ago Alberta Cross were playing the same small Charlie stage after releasing Broken Side Of Time, which was my introduction to the band. I thought I would see them back on a bigger stage. They are proving today that they definitely deserve that bigger stage. Singer Petter Ericson Stakee's voice is very clear and their rootsrock songs sound great. The band is looking energetic and the short set they are playing, because Bloc Party ended later, should definitely get them bigger crowds and a better spot in the line-up. Hopefully their new album Songs Of Patience is going to help them.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

The Black Keys
Who would have thought The Black Keys would be a festival headliner a few years ago? They have suddenly grown into a big band that is closing the full Alpha stage today. They did add two more musicians to enlarge their sound, which is very effective. And with so many great songs they are not disappointing. Especially the El Camino hits 'Gold On The Ceiling' and 'Lonely Boy' are great crowd pleasers. They show that they can even handle this big a stage with only the two of them. The duo do look like they are playing on routine and singer Dan Auerbach could look for more crowd interaction. Maybe they still haven't fully adjusted to their new status. The two are proving they are worthy of it though.

Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

Not a bad start of the festival at all. Where the party at?

More Pictures

Lowlands 2012 Day 2
Lowlands 2012 Day 3

Read more!

Monday 13 August 2012

Sniffing The Grass: A Lowlands 2012 Warmup

Hopefully we can continue our nice-festival-weather streak at the Lowlands festival this year. Fortunately all stages are in tents, so we have even more reason to go inside and watch one of the many bands in case of bad weather. Not that we need more reasons of course. With so many stages we have to make choices again. Let's see what the possibilities are for me. See the full line-up over here and the time schedule over here.


Go Back To The Zoo shot to the top in no time. They made it to the biggest stage this year and are the ones to open the festival there. Not a bad start I guess. Otherwise we can always catch a bit of funk and ska with The Black Seeds.

First dilemma coming up: Ed Sheeran, who played a good set at Werchter last month that unfortunately we didn't see, or White Rabbits, the indie rock band that get such positive response. Another choice right after that: legendary hardcore band Refused, or Howler's garage rock?

At least we'll catch some feel good rock music with Brian Fallon and his The Gaslight Anthem. Or maybe see the catchy and weird music of Merrill Garbus in her tUnE-yArDs. Django Django are one of this year's hypes and are supposed to put on a great live show. If it's a let down we can always go for some old-fashioned blues rock with Graveyard.

Time to dance with Hot Chip followed by Bloc Party who hopefully will have some great new songs to show case. I love Alberta Cross' roots rock who are playing the small Charlie stage. The Black Keys have grown into a headliner and I'm sure they can live up to that status and close this day with a bang.

The first day is a busy one, so hopefully we'll have enough juice left to party a bit more.


Let's start the second day slow with some country and soul, Phantom Limb seems perfect for that. Then we'll get dirty and high with Jesse 'Boots Electric' Hughes' Eagles of Death Metal and their sleazy rock. Grease it up people! And why not keep that going with Willy Moon?

Two Door Cinema Club are getting bigger and bigger, but still haven't convinced me. Time to give them another shot. Blaudzun doesn't have to convince me any more with his hypnotic and beautiful music. Kasabian never really got to me, but I'm willing to give it one more try.

Triggerfinger are always good for a loud and impressive rock show. Although I have seen them so many times already and at the same time Charles Bradley is pouring out his soul. And the only band from Iceland who don't make annoying arty-farty itchy music, Of Monsters And Men, are playing as well. This is gonna be a tough call.

The Whitest Boy Alive should definitely loosen up our hips and otherwise Krema Kawa will, with their crazy mix of funk, ska, latin and African highlife. The Walkmen are probably the ones to send us off into the night. Maybe a few beers in the Titty Twister?


Moss are opening the last day for us. They impressed a few years ago and I'm sure they can repeat that again on the big Alpha stage. If not there's always Splendid with their easy listening summer tunes. Let's see what Zulu Winter are about. Are their pop tunes not too polished and light for me? Maybe catch some Sleigh Bells or two swinging Hammond organs at Orgel Vreten? We'll see what we're in the mood for when we get there.

We may get tired by now but Pulled Apart By Horses should keep us awake. Hopefully Colin Benders and his The Kyteman Orchestra can stun us once again. The Jarman Brothers and their band The Cribs are hot at the moment, so we're going to take a look there. Then it's time for the big climax of the festival when Foo Fighters will play a two and half hour rock set that will blow our mind. Hopefully we are able to get up close and see Dave Grohl and his mates work up a sweat.

Like always it's a full program with some interesting choices and some great headliners. So another year with plenty to enjoy. Good company and vibes do the rest. Can't wait to sink my teeth in one of those cold beers. See you there?
Read more!

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Dave Gahan's Lovely Singing Feeling in Soulsavers

Soulsavers is the musical collaboration between producers Rich Machin and Ian Glover. They release albums regularly with a changing vocal line-up. In the past this was mainly Mark Lanegan, but also Mike Patton, Will Oldham and Richard Hawley among others contributed to some of the music. When Soulsavers are the support act for Depeche Mode's 'Tour Of The Universe' in Europe they get to know singer Dave Gahan better, which eventually leads to The Light The Dead See.

Soulsaves - The Light The Dead See (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)

It didn't result in a happy record. Which is not so strange, since Gahan never really wrote cheerful music. This is a perfect match for him. He's descending into the deepest and darkest crypts of his soul. There where no light shines any more, only the light the dead see. The album opens with an instrumental piece that will get you in this heavy mood. 'La Ribera' sounds like it was inspired by Ennio Morricone and could have easily featured in one of Sergio Leone's movies. This dramatic opening is the forerunner for Gahan's dark inner journey. The music has also shifted from electronic to more guitars.

Despite the gloomy and somewhat uncomfortable mood of the songs, there's plenty to enjoy. They are a perfect fit for Gahan. His voice now and then sounds full of soul, like in 'Take Me Back Home', supported by an organ with the blues. In general the songs are slowly tearing along. Images of empty rainy landscapes are passing by. The glass is always half empty or actually completely empty. As Gahan is singing himself in the melancholic 'Longest Day': "This could be the longest day and the night has yet to come". But his voice is always warm and comforting. At times it will get a bit more sharp like in 'Gone Too Far', along with a gritty guitar.

"There's no tomorrow only yesterday" he's singing in 'Bitterman' once more. The timing of this album seems a bit unfortunate in the summer, since it's a perfect fall album. But with the wet and cold weather of this month and the soaking wet summers we got the last couple of years, it may be appropriate after all. Just get in that sinking feeling and stare out of the window, while the lashing rain is rattling on the glass.

This review has been published on ROAR E-Zine in Dutch over here.

Listen to 'The Light The Dead See' on Spotify.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | MySpace | YouTube | Spotify
Read more!