Wednesday 25 June 2014

Best Kept Secret 2014 Day 1: Jungalow Galore

It's hard to keep a secret. The Best Kept Secret festival couldn't keep it a secret that they had a dream start last year with their first edition. So this second edition we decided to check it out for ourselves. For the first time on a festival, we would not be camping but we were going to stay in a bungalow, or jungalow how they are called here, since the festival is at the site of safari park Beekse Bergen. This is a winner right from the start.

Best Kept Secret Festival Day 1, June 20 2014

After we are settled in in our comfortable leopard print jungalow in the woods, we head to the festival site but are not in time to catch Telegram. Sorry guys.

To Kill A King
So instead we end up at to Kill A King's set. This band wasn't on my list and for a good reason. They aren't exactly my cup of tea with their folky indie pop music. Of course the main stage along the lake is the right setting but it gets to weary in the end.

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Circa Waves
Circa Waves are the ones who really kick off the festival for me and the band from Liverpool do a good job. The four piece bring garage rock from the catchiest kind with guitar hooks, singalong lines like The Strokes can (or could?) do so well. This band is not even one year old and already looking good. Now we're eagerly awaiting their debut album.

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The pride of Dutch alternative music are taking their reunion tour to Hilvarenbeek as well. It should be the ideal setting for them, on a festival whose target group are all potential fans. But the band are playing a routine set that is actually a bit slow. Instead of a magical moment things are only turning nostalgic for those who fell in love with the band back in the nineties. There's no spark like at their Paradiso show earlier this year.

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Birth Of Joy
Fortunately three piece rockers Birth Of Joy are the ones replacing , who are eagerly taking this chance. Within no time they are setting fire to stage Two, playing their contagious blues rock with plenty of heart. The guitar is screaming, the drums are rolling, the organ is boogying and the crowd is going mental. It turns into an unexpected highlight of the day.

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Midlake are taking it more slow on the main stage, or stage One. Their dreamy folk rock is actually quite nice at the start of the evening, when the beers are starting to sink in. It's nothing to go wild about, but it feels nice dozing off to the light tunes that are circling around our heads.

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But it's way too early to doze off and we need a good wake up call. Bring on Breton! The Londoners are just the right amount of pepper we need to spice things up. Their highly danceable songs catch on really well with the crowd who are all switched on to party mode by now. Dancing and partying is exactly what they want us to do.

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James Blake
But then James Blake comes in to bring us down again. This one probably goes into the category "it's me, I know, but I don't get it", since everyone seems to love this electro music producer except me. I'm pretty sure his minimal electronic songs will go down better in a much darker place, than right now on the main stage while the sun is still up. But it simply doesn't do anything for me. His music is too slow to my taste and his voice is annoying me. Time to grab me one of those burgers I guess.

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It's been a while since we last heard from Interpol. That's about to change with a new album coming up and here they are back on the road again. Their show is quite intense and tight, especially songs from their earliest and best records. It doesn't offer any new insights though, so I'm curious how the new album is going to sound.

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The highly anticipated album by the Pixies was quite a disappoint in April. The urgency and impact they had is gone now and so all that's left is "just" a good rock band. This was already clear from the shows I saw them play over the past few years. But today Black Francis and his band mates are doing well, playing a tight and fierce set in the dark on the main stage. Now and then you can even see a few traces from their golden years shine through.

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Bombay Show Pig
The golden years for Bombay Show Pig are still ahead of them I think. They are getting better and better every time I see them and their is still so much potential. The duo are now a trio since they added a bass player. It is a smart move, because it gives their music more body and depth. The bass is emphasizing Linda van Leeuwen's grooves, making the songs more powerful. I can't wait to hear their new album.

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We close the night with Caribou. Although the beers are setting in by now, I understand why people are so excited about this musician's live shows. His electronic music sounds really natural and quite intense. It reminds me of Atoms for Peace whose music has the same feel and Caribou and his live band also know how to make his music breath and how to sound organic.

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We are off to a great start on this first day of the festival. It's a lot of fun exploring the festival site that is new to us. The program was really full today, but still I managed to see a lot of the bands I picked out. But how am I ever going to have time for all the great food that's around?

More Pictures

Best Kept Secret Day 2
Best Kept Secret Day 3

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