Wednesday 22 June 2016

Best Kept Secret 2016 Day 1

Many people know about the Best Kept Secret festival by now, that was going into its fourth edition this year. I guess it's not so well kept any more especially since the festival grew bigger too. We rented one of those comfy bungalows again and headed to the safari park to see if the festival could handle this many people and could hold on to its relaxed character of the past editions.

Best Kept Secret 2016 Day 1, June 17 2016

The organisation did cook up another interesting line-up with some all time favourites and some exciting new bands waiting to be discovered.

Kid Wave
One of those new bands is Kid Wave whose shoegaze music sounds interesting enough to make sure we get to the festival site on time. It is actually a nice introduction but it does miss a bit of an edge. The band does look focused and do a good job at playing their jangly and melodic music, but don't exactly radiate a lot of energy. I guess they need to grow some more before being able to fully convince.

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Beach Slang
The punk rock of Beach Slang is convincing enough and their energetic songs with Hüsker Dü-like sounding guitars go down well with the hungry crowd. It's the first moment of the festival where people are going crazy. Singer James Alex may look like a cheesy rock 'n roll act but he is full of character and puts a lot of heart in it like everyone else in the band. This group makes for an early highlight of the day.

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Singer Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV isn't the most stable person and their shows can be just as fitful as his personality. I really like their last album Is The Is Are though and am looking forward to hear those new songs live. The sound of the album does come across well and the band is putting in plenty of effort. This results in moments where things come together but at the same time there are moments where I find the show a bit weary. Maybe it's the spot on the main stage in broad daylight early this evening, but again, like the previous time, I'm not fully convinced.

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Wolf Parade
I don't know Wolf Parade's music very well. Somehow the Canadians never caught my attention before they disbanded in 2011. In January they reformed and now I'm lucky enough to catch them live and get to know them. Lucky indeed, because the band play an inspired show and their music sounds interesting with some post-punk and new wave elements. It is both catchy and edgy and the band suck you right in. It's a good introduction into this band's world and I'll definitely will dig into them some more.

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Moon Duo
It started out as a side project for Wooden Shjips guitarist Ripley Johnson, but by now Moon Duo is more than just that. Together with Sanae Yamada they cook up lovely psychedelic rock built around drones that combine into a wonderful spacey trip. The dark stage is the perfect environment to digest the endless repeating grooves and fuzzy guitar.

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It's always a true delight to watch Beck play songs from his impressive and very varied catalogue. He's the closing act of the day and brought a big screen as a backdrop to show wonderful visuals that support his music. Of course his band is great and he is playing a rocking set with all his hits. It's a good show but it does lack a bit of an edge. It's hard for an artist like him to play a festival set that is both pleasing to the people who don't know his music that well and his loyal fans. I miss the moments where he slows down for some melancholic songs and works his magic. A song like the wonderful 'Blue Moon' sounds less powerful tonight. Nevertheless it's always great to see this wonderful artist play funky tunes like 'Sexx Laws' and the relative new one 'Dreams'. Some covers pass by as well as some references to Bowie and Prince when he introduces the band. No matter what, he simply is a one of a kind artist.

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The band formerly known as Viet Cong had to change their name but fortunately that is the only change. There's a new album coming up and by now the band is peaking. Their intense songs score full effect tonight and sound violent and aggressive, exactly like they should. I've seen them play before when they were still called Viet Cong but tonight finally the band shows what makes their album so good and what makes them so good. I'm looking forward to that new album a lot.

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A great end on this first day and that calls for a celebration! Beers anyone?

All Pictures

Best Kept Secret 2016 Day 2
Best Kept Secret 2016 Day 3

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