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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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All Pictures Day 2

Into The Great Wide Open 2017 Day 3+4

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