Thursday 8 September 2016

ITGWO 2016 Day 1 + 2

After a very wet edition of the Into The Great Wide Open festival last year, this year promises to be much better. At least it's sunny when we leave home and head to the harbour where the boat to a glorious weekend is waiting for us.

Into The Great Wide Open 2016, Thursday September 1 2016

On the boat to the island Vlieland, we already get treated to a first performance. Zimmerman is playing for a TV recording but the sound is not loud enough for us to hear. However it does set the mood right away for a chilled out musical weekend.

Later on we see the same band again for our first performance of the day. Zimmerman, named after Bob Dylan's birth name, is the band of Balthazar's bass player Simon Casier. He is the first one of the several Balthazar spin off projects that are on display throughout the weekend. He's playing guitar in this band and the soft indie rock songs have a nice sound, but never get really adventurous or dangerous. Casier isn't the greatest singer in Balthazar and his voice isn't very versatile giving the songs a bit of the same feel. Also his English pronunciation isn't that good. In the end it is not bad way to start though and the friendly sounding songs are nice enough to the ears to get into the right mood

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Balthazar & Quartet Cordette
We explore the festival site and then wander into the woods for another Balthazar project. This time it's the full band with Patricia Vanneste's string quartet Cordette. The arrangements of some of Balthazar's songs have been reworked into acoustic versions with lush string parts. This is working wonderfully and it shows how good those songs are. The songs sound swirling this way and the crowd responds very enthusiastically. The beautiful setting in the woods while it is getting dark does the rest.

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The reincarnation of Bombay Show Pig is sending us off this first night. The changes in the line-up that left Mathias Janmaat. as the remaining part of the original duo, has transformed the hooky and bit electronic edgy sound into a more heavier rock sound. It suits the band well and although I really liked their original sound, the new direction works too. It still has that jumpy edge to it and it is getting everyone getting worked up for the night. While the hall has filled up nicely everyone is ready for the first big party of the weekend.

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Back to back Prince and Bowie songs are an excellent way to get this party going. The cold beers help very well too of course.

Into The Great Wide Open 2016, Friday September 2 2016

We wake up in our old but cozy apartment and after a hearty breakfast head over to the sports field for the first band of the day.

The Gospel Sessions
There on the main stage Michelle David is leading us into a cheerful and soulful gospel service. Her strong voice and positive appearance is catching on. It gets everyone well awake and on their feet to join in on the festivities. The songs are moving between blues, soul and gospel and the music is heart warming.

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J. Bernardt
Today is Balthazar day with three performances related to the Belgian band. First up is the biggest mystery of those three, since no one has heard any music yet from Jinte Deprez' project, that is debuting today on this festival. He's playing groovy electronic driven songs that sound warm and very relaxed. It isn't dance music to go wild on, but more relaxing, sexy sounding songs to slowly sway along. Afterwards Deprez tells me it went far from perfect. I thought it was really nice and interesting though and it makes me look forward to hearing a full album.

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We move to the other stage in the woods where we decide to have something to eat. While we sit down for a nice meal Jalen N'Gonda is playing his friendly soul music. He's one of those soul singers that draw inspiration from old soul music like Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. It has a nice sound, but stays on the safe side. It's nice music as a side dish to our meal though.

Fantastic Negrito
Time for some good ol' soul. Fantastic Negrito is a rhythm 'n blues show band the old fashioned way with a tight group of musicians and front and show man Xavier Dphrepaulezz. He knows exactly how to entertain a willing crowd. It doesn't take long before everyone is dancing to the swinging and raw bluesrock music, while the band is playing their heart out. Dphrepaulezz is all over the stage to make sure everyone is staying on their feet.

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Balthazar's Maarten Devoldere is the one with a solo project that has been running for a little longer. His first album is coming up soon and we could hear a few songs the past few months that sound promising. They are mostly dark and slow songs in a story telling kind of way, that remind of Nick Cave. Sometimes he picks up a trumpet to create loops as a basis which is quite a nice touch. Devoldere looks confident on stage and although needs to warm up a bit in the beginning, his performance is very intriguing and convincing between the trees.

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
I've been looking forward to the space rockers from Australia a lot and the seven piece rock group delivers big time. The band goes full speed from the beginning and never slows down. The returning theme is the title song of their latest album Noganon Infinity which you can hear pop up now and then. There are hardly any breaks in between songs and the pit in front of the stage gets bigger and bigger where people are crowd surfing and stage diving. Once again the band are in killer form and turn the place into a psych rock fest.

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We stay at the stage in the woods for a different kind of party. Suuns play dark psychedelic music with synths, drums, guitar and electronic add ons. I've been wanting to see this band for a while but never got a chance. Big inflatable letters at the back of the stage are lit by the stage lights and in the woods in the dark it creates a suiting mysterious atmosphere. The deep and dark sounds of their music are very effective in this environment. Simply close your eyes and let yourself float away on the psychedelic grooves between the trees.

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The Belgian band has been all over the island this weekend in different formations and shapes and now it's time for the most familiar one with the full band closing the day on the main stage at the sports field. It will be one of their last performances until they go on a long break but the band doesn't look tired at all. They play all their big hits that we know so well to a full sports field at the main stage. Now and then the band members move really close together which is always a good sign. Once again the group prove why they such a good band.

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We're halfway the festival now and in a very good mood after such an incredible day. I guess this calls for a party!

All Pictures Day 1
All Pictures Day 2

Into The Great Wide Open Day 3+4

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