Friday 23 June 2017

Best Kept Secret Festival 2017 Day 2

After a wonderful first day that was a good warm up, things promise to be heating up further today. Fried eggs and coffee get us ready for the first band of the day, that are playing early on Stage Five.

The Courtneys

Three ladies that make cheerful fuzzy slackerpop. It sounds nice on paper and in the beginning it actually does sounds good. But after a while it is clear that all songs sound alike and drummer/singer Jen Twynn Payne plays the same four on the floor drum groove in every song. She's hardly hitting her snare drum so the sound engineer cranked up the volume of it a lot, making it sound horrible. The three also look pretty pale on stage and the crowd quickly loses attention including me.

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Kim Janssen

We decide to wander around the festival site and end up at Kim Janssens's performance at Stage Two. It isn't something I put on my schedule, but he's doing quite well over here. His quiet music requires a bit of effort from the audience and although it stays half full, the people that hang in there get treated to a nice show. The string and horns section are a good addition that gives his songs a bit of extra.

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The Amazons

I can appreciate a nice piece of britpop and The Amazons are exactly playing that. They don't have the cocky attitude but have a lot of heart. It isn't really anything special or original, but these guys are trying hard. It may be a thirteen to the dozen band, but it's not a bad way to start things off today.

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This band has been getting a lot of attention especially for their live shows. I'm not really a fan of their music and I don't like the falsetto vocals too much. The band looks happy enough to play here and it's a rare setup to see a drummer at the middle of attention. The music is quite nice and sounds good, but the falsetto vocals are getting too much after a while. It doesn't grab me enough to hang in there for long.

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Two girls, a drum kit and a guitar, sometimes it doesn't take more to play a good show. Scottish duo Honeyblood play lo-fi indie rock songs with a lot of heart. The two work really hard and their rock songs have enough power and variation to stay interesting. It isn't mind blowing but it definitely works and it is exactly what I need to get this day going.

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Cloud Nothings

I know these guys won't have any trouble to keep me going. Their rock music is tight and in your face. They play loud, with a lot of fire and their songs don't miss their effect. A big pit forms and keeps going for the whole show, only getting bigger. Singer Dylan Baldi genuinely looks appreciative of the positive response and it fires up the band even more. It may not be subtle but every song is a slap in the face and works like strong coffee.

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The Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer Rebellion play the main stage with a lush view of the lake and the sunbathing people. They have come a long way and got quite big during it. But it doesn't seem to work well and their performance is a too mellow where not a lot is going on. People seem to enjoy the sun and the cold beers more. The band isn't really trying to spice things up either and the show just dozes off.

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The Wytches

These three guys don't have the word "mellow" in their dictionary and like to play loud and dirty rock. There's plenty to enjoy if you like things a bit rough and their music sounds interesting and good enough. But the band largely ignores the crowd, which doesn't have to a problem. But today it simply doesn't really work. Maybe if the band would have worked a bit harder, it could have turned into something of a rough party but now it won't exactly take off. We leave to see Cigarettes After Sex, but as I expected with their continuous slow depressing music this is definitely not a band for me. Time to get a good spot for the big headliner of the day.

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Arcade Fire

The festival has a dream headliner on the bill today. Arcade Fire are one of the reasons why I wanted to return this year and draws a big crowd. A lot of people have gathered in front of the stage and I find myself squeezed in somewhere halfway the field. Many here are very hungry to see this band and it's a treat seeing them on a medium sized festival. A show unfolds that nears perfection, with more hits than you can count and a band that is in absolute killer shape.

The Arcade Fire machine starts rolling from the first second and comes to a halt nearly two hours later when they leave the stage. In between we got everything that makes this band so good. Great songs that sound amazing live and are played with a lot of detail and dynamics. The brand new song 'Everything Now' already proves to be a classic that people are chanting along massively. The members switch places and instruments very smoothly with the music not stopping for a second.

Needless to say the crowd is simply ecstatic and it turns the show into a big celebration with a cheering crowd and happy faces all around. The band simply has to come back for an encore and close with 'Intervention' that apparently wasn't planned, since it wasn't on the written setlist. And so this festival has the headliner it deserves and gets even more from them. There aren't many bands of that quality around any more and I haven't seen many festivals ending in such a overwhelming climax.

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All Pictures

Best Kept Secret Festival 2017 Day 1

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