Monday 29 August 2016

Amsterdam Woods Festival 2016 Saturday

Last year was the first edition of Amsterdam Woods, a small scale and cozy two day festival in the big Amsterdamse Bos park. It turned out to be a wonderful and relaxed festival with nice food, people and a balanced line-up with something for everyone. I really didn't want to miss this year's second edition.

Amsterdam Woods Saturday at Amsterdamse Bos, August 27 2016

Unfortunately this year the festival takes place on a Friday and Saturday and the first day proves to be too difficult for me to attend. Instead I settle for just the second day. Like last year the weather is glorious, so we hop on our bikes and ride them through the labyrinth that this huge park is. In the end we get there and find ourselves sipping a first cold beer at the first performance of the day.

Kurt Rosa
The tiny "spruit" stage that supports new and upcoming bands hosts the first band of the day. Kurt Rosa is one of those bands that are working hard to make it to the top. They won a band competition and are on the rise on their way to stardom. Their rock music is quite catchy and some songs sound really good. Especially when the band picks it up a notch and lets the guitars scream. Barefooted and in surf shorts the band gives it all on this hot start of the day.

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Jo Goes Hunting
A totally different kind of music can be heard on the stage at the large willow tree. Drummer and singer Jimmi Jo Hueting may look familiar as he is the younger brother of De Staat's Rocco. Their music is different though, which is a mix of indie rock and electronics with a heavy use of samples and effects. Sometimes the sound is more guitar driven but at other times it has a lighter touch. Hueting is looking very confident on stage and the band plays an intriguing show. I'll definitely will be watching them from now on.

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Something looks different on stage today for psych rockers PAUW. It turns out half of the band got replaced and they now have a new keyboard player and bassist. It didn't really affect their music which is still wonderful to hear. However it's still early on this beautiful summer's day and this kind of psychedelic music thrives at its best in the dark. I also did see them in better shape before and today the band looks less focused and not very inspired. However with so many killer songs from their debut album Macrocosm Microcosm it is always good to see them play.

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Desert Mountain Tribe
Another band that is at its best in a dark smoky club is Desert Mountain Tribe. However these guys definitely look inspired today and I am quite impressed with them again. This band has such a great sound, with those basic but effective pounding drums and bass. On top of that are the psychedelic vocals and guitar play of singer Jonty Balls who is completely into the moment. All of this is put through a bunch of killer effects to create a delightful big and heavy sound that sounds amazing on any size stage. I really hope this band will grow bigger to see them in larger venues.

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Jeremy Loops
Another artist that makes heavy use of all kinds of effects is Jeremy Loops. He's one of those artists that can work magic with a loop station, samples and beats. It is quite effective and people love it. Of course it is great dance music with well chosen beats and grooves, but it is seems mostly aimed at that and I find the songs a bit too meagre. However it does do the job and makes for the first real party of the day.

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Amber Arcades
We make it to Amber Arcades' show when they are already halfway their performance. The band is actually Annelotte de Graaf's project and she was able to create quite a buzz in our country with her album Fading Lines. Her music is of the dreamy kind, folky ballads with a light touch. It isn't really my cup of tea but it's well performed and this is a great stage to dream away with her.

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Daniel Norgren
We see a bit of Liima performing with percussive electronic beats but decide this is not for us. When Phil Cook is playing his Americana and country songs we kind of hear it from a distance outside the tent, until it is time for my anticipated highlight of today: Swedish Americana singer-songwriter Daniel Norgren. He caught my attention a few years ago and simply never let go. Every time I hear his music it grabs me immediately. Today it's no different when he plays his songs with two fellow musicians on drums and double bass. The way his laid-back music slowly builds tension by patiently crafting a song is simply wonderful. He is using rests and he knows how to make his songs breath like no one else. Live on stage this is even more impressive when you see him perform, completely immersed in the music. With his band it gets a bit more rough and sometimes his guitar playing brings Neil Young to mind. Phil Cook also joins in for a short bit. All I can do is just watch in awe with an occasional lump in my throat.

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Ultimate Painting
After this we watch Ultimate Painting under the big willow tree. By now the sun has set and darkness is falling over the festival site. It creates a magical atmosphere while gentle guitar music comes from the stage. The short rock songs are nice on the ears although it never gets really exciting. The band is staying in their comfort zone and are never really looking for adventure. This is alright though and fits this moment of the festival where a full day of beers and sun shine are kicking in.

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Palmbomen II, a musical project by Kai Hugo, are closing the festival with danceable mix of electronic melodies and rhythms. People are dancing into the night while we finish a few more beers before we get lost in the woods again. But getting lost in the woods is exactly the point here. Just lose yourself in music on this wonderful little festival on a beautiful spot between the trees. Next year's edition is already marked in my calendar.

All Pictures

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