Monday 25 September 2017

Indiestadt Festival

With the Indiestad pass it is possible to see many bands in a year for just 25 euro. That way I get to see some bands that I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Once a year there's even a whole festival and this year it will even have four days. I wasn't sure if I could make all four but will definitely visit a few nights.

Indiestadt Festival 2017

Day 1 September 20 2017

I really don't want to miss out on the first night that looks like the best of all nights and I am expecting a lot from some of the bands playing tonight. It also is the night with the most bands which means it starts quite early. By the time I walk in, I still an catch the last few songs of Beach Fossils. This band isn't really my favourite band and the few songs I see prove that.

Elephant Stone

I sure want to see Elephant Stone whose elegant psychedelic rock music has always pleased me. Their last album showed a bit of a change where their music shifted a to more pop friendly songs. They have payed good attention to Kevin Parker whose last Tame Impala album was an incredible success. Live the band hasn't changed too much though, which means their music sounds pleasant with Rishi Dhir's soothing voice. It is still a great attraction when he's playing the sitar which at the same time is so important for their sound, adding the ultimate psychedelic touch. I like this sound a lot and enjoy their show again, but at the same time it doesn't reveal anything new for the band. This is why so far the group haven't been able to get to the next level and keep playing the small room of Paradiso. There's nothing wrong with that but I can imagine it could be frustrating. In that case the band may need more chances.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter | Spotify

A Place To Bury Strangers

A Place To Bury Strangers When I get back to the main hall it is dark and filled with smoke. A Place To Bury Strangers have taken the stage and are blowing everyone away with an impressive show. Stroboscopes and smoke machines are working overtime and together with their heavy noise rock it creates an intense atmosphere. We hardly get to see the band on stage and when all of a sudden blue lights point to a spot in the middle of the hall, we can't see what is going on there. It turns out part of the band have moved there with a mobile drum kit and start playing a techno kind of track. This group knows how to get and keep everyone's attention. They make sure to go out with a bang as well and leave us behind completely stunned.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

The Black Angels

I was really looking forward to seeing The Black Angels again after their show at the Into The Great Wide Open festival several years back impressed me a lot. Today they bring gorgeous visuals to support their psychedelic music. I love their sound and the way they create their own world with fuzzed guitars drenched with reverb. Their music has evolved over the years and although their newest album Death Song returns to their roots they seem to also have found their own sound. Of course they got their name from The Velvet Underground and with the new album they come full circle. That band is never far away and you can hear many references in their sound and songs but the new ones are more their own. Live they fit in perfectly with the rest and we get treated to a wonderful 60s inspired psychedelic trip.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify


The Dutch trio Bartek are playing all over the place and the three rockers look comfortable on stage. Their music is a wild trip and goes from garage rock to 90s inspired grunge. Especially those grunge songs sounds great where the garage rock songs are more of the same. There's plenty of variation now, but if they could focus more and find out where their heart really is, maybe it could make all of their songs interesting enough. Now you notice it is hard to stick with them, although they play with a lot of heart.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

All Pictures Day 1

Day 2 September 21 2017

The second day of the festival has quite a nice bill, but mostly these are bands that somehow aren't really for me. Still I'm going to check out a few of them since I keep hearing good things about them.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Once started as a five piece band, Alec Ounsworth is now the only remaining member of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah who released a new album The Tourist earlier this year. On stage there's a full band who have many good songs to choose from, since the band wrote many good ones. It's just that I don't really like Ounsworth's singing style which is kind of a deal breaker for me. No matter how good the songs are and how solid the band sounds, it just doesn't work for me because of the vocals. Their show has a few dips where you notice people are losing attention. It also is clear why people are here tonight, which is the next band.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

Portugal. The Man

I had no idea Portugal. The Man are this big, since tonight is completely sold out and now the main hall is packed. This is the band people are coming to see. Of course Indiestad pass holders like me are here as well, but I didn't expect this big a crowd. Starting with Metallica's 'For Whom The Bell Tolls', Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall' and their own 'Purple Yellow Red And Blue' the group is off to an overwhelming start. Surrealistic visuals are projected behind the band who are mostly playing in the shades. Now and then singer John Gourley or bass player Zachary Scott Carothers will step into the light of the projector. After that flying start the band shifts into a more soulful vibe with Gourley's typical mostly falsetto vocals. The warm light songs are very groovy and easy to dance to, but sound quite complicated at the same time. The band make it sound quite easy and are totally into their music. There isn't a lot of interaction, something they pointed out themselves at the start in a projected text, but that also isn't really necessary. Together with the great visuals it is a well balanced show, although I just don't like singers that mostly sing falsetto. The band closes with another cover, an unimpressive version of Oasis' 'Don't Look Back In Anger', which ends their show with a sing along. But Portugal. The Man prove to be big enough to handle big crowds.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

Theme Park

Upstairs in the small hall Theme Park have just started their show and I decide to catch a part of it. The London based band are playing poppy funk rock songs inspired by Talking Heads. They do create a warm disco vibe tonight where it's easy to dance to, but unlike Talking Heads their songs are still a bit too pale. It all sounds pretty decent but it is also too much on the safe side. It does make people move but is probably not blowing anyone's mind.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

All Pictures Day 2

Read more!

Wednesday 20 September 2017

On Stage: W.I.T.C.H.

Personally I never heard of the band W.I.T.C.H. (short for "We Intend To Cause Havoc"), the Zambian rock band that especially was popular in the seventies. Things went downhill late seventies because of economic turmoil in Zambia at that time. Singer Jagari, the alias for Emanuel Chanda, started performing again a few years back and a documentary about his life is being filmed. He came into contact with Dutch musician Jacco Gardner and they are now performing together with a few of Gardner's friends and remaining members of the original W.I.T.C.H.

W.I.T.C.H. at Tolhuistuin, September 18 2017

I listened to a few songs that I liked a lot, still I really don't know what to expect tonight. Since I like music from many African countries and rock music, this mix sounds like something I could appreciate. I don't know how many people here tonight knew about this band, but the venue has filled up quite nicely. Of course it is a free concert for anyone that owns the Indiestad pass and the name "Jacco Gardner" probably raised the attention of a few in here as well. Still it comes as a nice surprise to me that so many hopped on the ferry over here.

Mysteriously looking figures appear on the scarcely lit stage, wearing giant witch hats. It is not a real mystery since this is Jacco Gardner with drummer Nic Mauskovic, who work on several projects together, with guitarists J.J. Whitefield and Stefan Lilov. On keyboards is the only other original member Patrick Mwondela, who played with the band in the early eighties until the group disbanded. They start a catchy song with a fantastic rhythm to warm us up.

After that Jagari completes the group and leads us into 'Introduction' from their first record with the same title. Jagari is a cheerful man who is really excited to be playing here with this reincarnation of his band. He's eager to introduce us to "zamrock" and to make us dance. Sometimes when the band is playing hypnotic and groovy jams, he sits down, eats an apple and simply enjoys himself. His vocals aren't always great, maybe he's still a bit rusty, but he makes up for it with a lot of energy and it actually suits the music. The band moves from James Brown funk-like music to sixties Jimi Hendrix style rock. But it's always mixed with the original Zambian rhythms.

The band isn't always very tight either and at some points even a bit messy. But this is part of the charm of this music, that is a lot more free than what we're used to over here. Zamrock is all about sounds, rhythm and improvisation, and not so much about music with strict boundaries. The intention is to make people dance, which is exactly what everyone is doing tonight. I really hope they can continue this project and hopefully new music can come out of it. Or at least a regular visit to one of the festivals and clubs over here in the low lands.

All Pictures


Read more!

Thursday 14 September 2017

On Stage: LCD Soundsystem @ Paradiso

Some rumours are saying LCD Soundsystem only quit a few years back to sell more concert tickets for their shows at Madison Square Garden. The shows did sell out in record time and now the band seems to be more popular than ever. Whatever the reason was, after releasing a great new album American Dream, the band are playing two dates at Paradiso that sold out in a matter of minutes a few months ago. I was one of the lucky few to grab one.

LCD Soundsystem at Paradiso Amsterdam, September 12 2017

Although Paradiso is one of the bigger clubs, it is still a lot smaller than the middle sized venues or the festival crowds they are normally playing. So tonight is a wonderful opportunity to see this band from up close. The day before people were euphoric about the show over here so I was prepared for something good.

We get to hear a nice cross over from all of their records including the new one American Dream. Every album is represented with a few songs without focusing on the newest. Their unique sound, punk rock blended with electronic dance music, or electronic dance music with a punk attitude, never changed but gradually evolved and was perfected throughout the years. The band, surrounded by analog synthesizers, amps, instruments and other equipment, never go out of their way to fire up the crowd. Front man and anti-hero James Murphy walks around stage like he's in an office and when he's not singing he's going through his lyrics like he's reading a manual for one of the complicated looking synths. But the band have such an amazing repertoire with incredible songs and the setlist is so well balanced that they don't have to fly around the stage to keep the attention.

The crowd is dancing from the first second on and transforms into a hot swirling mass of people during crowd pleasers like 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House' and 'Tribulations'. The band is watching seemingly unaffected, but when you look closely you can sometimes see them making eye contact with each other with approving faces. Murphy is poking fun at his band mates with a grin and it is clear they are having fun here. This is one of those nights where a band gets the best out of Paradiso and the venue lives up to its legendary status to get the best out of a band and the fans. The whole room is electrifying and buzzing with excitement.

Murphy explains halfway the show the remaining plan of the evening and that they will leave the stage for a short break at one point. Not for an encore but for an "intermission" as he calls it. He promises they will play one of their songs live for the first time ever after that. It turns out to be 'I Used To' off their latest record which sounds just as convincing as the rest of the set. The night ends with an explosive version of 'All My Friends' where there's not a single person left who is not dancing. After two hours everyone leaves completely satisfied with memories of a unique experience.

All Pictures

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

01. Us v Them
02. Daft Punk Is Playing at My House
03. I Can Change
04. Get Innocuous!
05. Call The Police
06. You Wanted a Hit
07. Tribulations
08. Movement
09. Someone Great
10. American Dream
11. Tonite
12. Home
13. New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down
14. I Used To
15. Dance Yrself Clean
16. All My Friends

Read more!

Friday 8 September 2017

ITGWO 2017 Day 3+4

After a slow ending of the second day I'm ready for a bit of action and today promises to give us exactly that. The sun is out again so we're off to a good start.

Into The Great Wide Open 2017 Saturday September 2 2017

Ronald Snijders

There can't be a much better way to start the day than with flute player Ronald Snijders. He's a wonderful musician who brings a great band and sunny music from Africa and Surinam. Best of all, Snijders is a very cheerful person who is laughing a lot and likes to chat with the people. Needless to say that with the gorgeous weather all ingredients are in place for a tropical party led by the energetic Snijders. His flute playing skills are unmistakable and he is stealing many hearts today.

Official Website | Facebook | Spotify

Kikagaku Moyo

I saw this Japanese psyck rock band a few years ago at the Eindhoven Pysch Lab where they played a good show but didn't really convince me. At that festival the dark venue should have been perfect contrary to today where they are playing in the sunny forest. This time however the band have no trouble to impress with an eclectic mix of sixties and psych rock. It is a versatile show where the musicians are playing very focused. They tell us it is the last show of their European tour but it sounds as if they had a good rest with refreshing music. The hypnotic music works very well here between the trees where a good crowd is watching in awe.

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify


We head back to the main stage where MY BABY have already started their dance party. I saw them here for the first time a few years ago and things have moved fast for them. The threesome played every festival humanly possible and managed to leave a good impression judging from the many sold out club shows. And what's not to like when you can dance to the hypnotic catchy blues and tribal grooves in the warm sun? The band has no trouble adding another victory to their long list and give the people just what they want.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Don Bryant

A true soul legend is playing today, although not many may know him (including me). This 75 year old soul singer has been around for a long time and helped writing many songs most famously 'I Can't Stand The Rain' that he's also playing today. The charismatic veteran wins everyone's heart within no time. Bryant, who is still very energetic, has an amazing voice and his songs come from the heart. Slow and swinging songs alternate and Bryant is the radiant centre of the show surrounded by his very tight band. He definitely won me over and I hope to see and hear more of him, like his new LP 'Don't Give Up On Love'.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify


Thai funk and 60s's rock and surf sounds good to me and that is how Texan band Khruangbin are described. However it turns out to be very mellow and it is clear that the duo with their wigs aren't too serious. Singer Mark Speer has a funny way of chatting to the audience. But it gets a but too cheesy for me. We do make it to the end but it isn't really appealing to me. The guitar melodies have a nice ring though and with the steady bass grooves it could be good. But it sounds too much alike a lot and could use more (Thai?) seasoning.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Belle & Sebastian

I head back to the main stage where Nick Mulvey is playing but I know I don't really like it. I join my friends for Belle and Sebastian, the highly anticipated headliner for today. I know I also don't like them too much either. They are praised for their great light pop tunes, but it is too weary for me. Today is no different and together with the bad sound it doesn't impress me for a bit. Singer Stuart Murdoch sounds out of tune once and a while and this is simply not my cup of tea. Many people seem to be enjoying it a lot, but I head for Indonesian sate instead which is a lot better.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Today started out great but ended a bit on the slow side. This is a festival that has many folk artists and singer songwriters and that can lack some fire now and then. That's no problem, there's still plenty to enjoy and there's a new day coming up.

All Pictures Day 3

Into The Great Wide Open 2017 Sunday September 3 2017

Ryley Walker

A few years ago Ryley Walker played this festival as well, but I wasn't planning on going to see him then, since I thought I wouldn't really like it. Of course the good thing about festivals is that plans usually don't work out, so I ended up seeing him anyway and loved it. His last album 'Golden Sings That Have Been Sung' simply is an absolute gem and I sure wasn't going to pass on him this time. He's off to a good start with his usual humorous chats and music that is so rich. But then the power goes out and the band leaves the stage. Fortunately a few seconds later the power goes back on and the band can continue. Events like this can be disastrous for a performance when the band is interrupted from their flow, but this group simply continuous where they left off. The power outage does seem to have killed something of the bass player's equipment (who looks a lot like Bruce Willis by the way) who is not able to use his standing bass while the crew tries to repair it. It doesn't get anyone in the band down at all and they play an amazing set. It's a mix of folk, jazz and rock with dazzling parts by all musicians with Walker's soothing voice on top. Again my mind is blown.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify

Jens Lekman

We stick around the stage and enjoy the sun, getting ready for Jens Lekman. The Swedish musician writes melancholic lyrics but his music is a blend of calypso, samba and disco with lots of samples. This way it never sounds sad but it actually has a positive vibe. Still it is not enough for me to stick around as his songs simply don't do it for me. More importantly, Millionaire are playing at the main stage.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Spotify


At the Best Kept Secret Festival where many Belgian visitors go to as well, the show of Belgian band Millionaire was exploding. They were in great shape and the tent was packed with people celebrating the return of the rock band who disappeared for a while. Today only a handful of people show up at the main stage which is a shame. Frontman Tim Vanhamel is cracking a few jokes about the turn up, but doesn't seem affected by it for a bit. He's clowning around the stage like always and is leading the band into an explosive set full of thundering and roaring rock music. I'm pretty sure the people that did show up had a great time like me.

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Then our traditional lazy Sunday sets in and we find a spot for all our friends to sit, where kids can play and we can enjoy food and drinks in the warm sun. In the evening we dance a bit to the exotic music of Altin Gün and The Mysterons before we decide it's time to call it quits. A few more last drinks and then this edition is over. It didn't turn into a legendary edition this year, since the line-up could have used a bit more spice and surprises to my taste. However it was wonderful again and the combination of live music, great food and so many friends and lovely people simply is bliss.

All Pictures Day 4

Into The Great Wide Open 2017 Day 1+2

Read more!

Thursday 7 September 2017

ITGWO 2017 Day 1+2

Since a few years we've been renting a small apartment on Vlieland for the Into The Great Wide Open Festival. One of the "drawbacks" is that you have to rent it for a week while it's only a four day festival. By the time the festival starts we have already been in island mood for a few days and are totally ready for the first bands.

Into The Great Wide Open 2017 Thursday August 31 2017

The Mauskovic Dance Band

Just before the festival starts it turns out the Togo All Stars can't make it on time due to visa problems. Fortunately The Mauskovic Dance Band can fill in to kick off the festival in a festive way. The band, consisting mostly of Mauskovic family members, have plenty of funky and groovy tunes to start the dancing early. The songs mostly have a gentle mellow feel with an African vibe. The young band still looks a bit shy, but it definitely can please me.

Official Website | Facebook | Spotify


We stay at the small stage for this band from Brooklyn which allows us to stay in the mellow African vibe. Sinkane is led by Sudanese-American musician Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab. Their music is a mix of many things like Afrofunk and krautrock with a psychedelic edge. It is mostly very danceable although a bit tuned down, which gives it a mellow feel. More importantly it sounds good and it draws a lot of people to the stage. The band doesn't have any trouble keeping the party going and the people moving.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

The Lemon Twigs

We head to the other stage in the woods to see the crazy moves by the D'Addario brothers and their band. I like their theatrical music and performance but I understand not everyone can appreciate it. The songs are so diverse and are all over the place like Michael D'Addario, who always takes over lead vocals halfway the show. His karate kicks and lively stage performance are very entertaining, although not every song is great. Still I think if they can focus their music more and themselves they could be up to great things.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

Tomorrow the festival will break wide open with the first full day and tonight we had a nice warm up for that. Bring it on!

All Pictures Day 1

Into The Great Wide Open 2017 Friday September 1 2017

Pink Occulus

The young artist Esperanza Denswil has been gradually building her musical career where she released a single through the Paradiso Vinyl Club and gathered attention with her live performances. She just released her EP Delicious and today she shows she's ready for the big work. With a lot of confidence she moves around the stage and her voice sounds strong and clear. Her mix of R&B, soul and hip-hop isn't really my kind of music, but it definitely sounds interesting. Her keyboard player and drummer are backing her up very effectively with tight grooves and get a moment for them selves when they give a lively drum solo. I can see this going places.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify


The Dutch indie band Moss never ceases to surprise and keeps evolving. Their last record Strike is an absolute gem with their best work to date. Live it is clear the band has perfected their sound a lot. It sounds much deeper now and the band is in killer shape. The creative drum grooves, the synths that have been added, the way the lead guitar combines with the playful bass lines, it all simply sounds amazing. Together with of course Marien Dorleijn's vocals it makes Moss one of the best bands around.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify


On the smallest stage it is clear Belgium's fastest rising star Tamino's reputation has made it across the border as it is very crowded. We find a good spot to sit and Tamino lives up to his reputation with his amazing voice which sounds better than ever today. His vocals float around the trees and don't miss their effect judging from the loud applause after each song. A much needed toilet break for me, makes me get stuck at the back since it is too crowded to find my way back to my spot. Here at the back unfortunately many people are chatting a lot, but the majority that is listening gets treated to a magical performance.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | Spotify

La Jungle

We stick around at the small stage to see another Belgian band, this time the La Jungle duo. On paper their noise interpretation of krautrock and techno sounds interesting enough. Live on stage it is even better. The two musicians fly into it with a lot of energy and passion. Fast techno beats are followed by groovy songs where guitar player and singer Jim creates loops with his voice and guitar. It is very creative and very effective today. On this lovely day between the trees in the sunshine it actually is completely out of place and feels somewhat surreal but it works magnificently. This must be totally wild in a dark club.

Official Website | Facebook | Spotify

Nouveau Vélo

We quickly head back to De Bolder stage, the only indoor stage of the festival, to catch the last bit of Nouveau Vélo's set. The Dutch indie band makes playful indie rock songs with ringing guitars that are great for dancing. Live it sounds good as well and the light touch of their songs creates a cheerful atmosphere in the small dark venue. The band has plenty of good songs to enjoy and live they sound good and spacious. It puts a smile on many faces.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

The Homesick

We stick around at the same stage for The Homesick, the band from the North of the Netherlands that I want to see so badly. I had the chance a few times before but it just wasn't meant to be until today. I like their music which they describe as "noisepop". It is a good definition of what I hear, music with lots of effects and reverb but the songs have the light and catchy touch of pop music. It sounds great live as well and the young boys look like they've been on stage forever and work their way through the set seemingly unmoved. It's a no nonsense attitude that fits them and their music. Well done guys.

Official Website | Facebook | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

Bill Callahan

I'm not sure if I'll like the next act on my program, but I somehow find Bill Callahan's voice intriguing. His music does lean towards country music a lot, which simply doesn't appeal to me a lot. He walks on stage with a suit that would raise a few eyebrows among cowboys. The music is slow and his impressive deep dark voice suits the darkness of the forest surrounding us. I can see if you're into this music, that this performance will be enjoyable and wonderful, but it's not for me.

Official Website | Spotify


I decide to leave the forest to head back to the dark De Bolder, where a British pub party seems to be going on. Shame are a bunch of South London youngsters full of energy and testosterone. There's a wild party happening on stage where there seems to be more beer thrown around than off stage. Singer Charlie Steen is the leader of the pack, a young man with a look on his face as if he's plotting his next prank. He's slowly stripping of his shirt while rubbing his nipples numerous times. I really needed a lively show like this, with raw punk music by a group of loose canons. The energetic songs are a bitt sloppy and it's easy to forget the politically charged lyrics, especially because they are hard to hear. Still I enjoy this lively mess and if it wasn't for this nice and lovely festival crowd, this place would have been torn down.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

Hercules and Love Affair

There's a totally different party going on at the main stage, where Hercules and Love Affair are playing and where I find my friends. They are dancing to the electronic disco and house songs. It is the kind of act this festival likes so much: happy people on stage and dance music make this crowd dance and party like there's no tomorrow. The band have a few good songs but to me most of it is nothing special. For now though it'll do just fine and so I join in on the dancing.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

All Pictures Day 2

Into The Great Wide Open 2017 Day 3+4

Read more!