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.

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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.

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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.

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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'.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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