Tuesday 28 August 2018

Sniffing The Grass: An Into The Great Wide Open 2018 Warmup

What a summer we had. Incredible sunshine and every festival seemed to have the best weather it could wish for. Hopefully we can end the summer in style with another beautiful edition of Into The Great Wide Open.

By now we know it doesn't really matter what kind of weather we get, since each edition has been amazing so far. A lot has to do with the incredible line-up of this festival and this year it's just insane. So many interesting, wonderful and great bands are lined up it will be impossible to see them all. Let's see what we can expect these four days.


The first day is turning into a more complete festival day by the year, where it started off with just a couple of bands to warm up a few years ago. Now it actually has a line-up where we need to choose. Here are some ideas:

1. METZ; I simply love these guys whose music is like a high speed train running you over. Powerful rock and punk that simply is a big upper.
2. Mauro Pawlowski & Braaknoot Ensemble; Belgian musician Mauro Pawlowski has been here before when he was a member of dEUS. Now he's here with his weird but wonderful Gruppo Di Pawlowski and tonight with a special project playing Boudewijn De Groot's Nacht en Ontij together with the Braaknoot Ensemble. Sure, sounds good to me!
3. Snail Mail; Unfortunately at the same time Snail Mail, the moniker for Lindsey Jordan, will be playing as well. The young musician left quite an impression with her music so I'm looking forward to see it for myself.

It promises to be a very good kick off of the festival, that just keeps on giving.


Unfortunately Damien Jurado had to cancel. I hope he will feel well again soon. Sure, only fourteen bands left on the bill today that sound good to me. Where to begin? Well maybe here:

1. White Denim; these guys are always a treat to me, combining garage rock, americana, prog rock and anything really into a delightful blend of musical bliss.
2. Róisín Murphy; Irish singer Róisín Murphy is known for clever pop songs that she brings to the stage with a lot of style and flair.
3. Altın Gün are a young band that recreate the Turkish psych rock from the sixties and seventies and bring it into the twenty-first century. Bring your dancing shoes. 4. John Cale; former The Velvet Underground member John Cale is simply a living legend that can't be missed.
5. Pip Blom; the young Pip Blom is a very talented musician and with her equally young band is bound to make a lot of new fans today.

If I make it through this day in one piece, I'm sure one of the parties will finish me off. In a good way though. See you on the other side.


Another day, another fourteen or something bands that are on my list. Ok, here we go:

1. The Ex; this band has been around since the late seventies and I have never seen them play. How is this possible? They have turned into a legendary rock band that play very original rock songs with lots of different influences.
2. Tshegue; Garage and rock songs mixed with Congolese music...say no more! I need to see this.
3. Django Django; I love these guys and their light pop and danceable pop songs that are so clever. Somehow I keep missing them whenever they play in the neighbourhood and it's been ages since I've seen them. Can't wait to dance with them in the night.
4. Canshaker Pi; I've seen this young rock band several times and can't get enough. They simply keep getting better and their rough Pavement like sound is simply irresistible.
5. Oumo Sangare; Mali is exploding with amazing music and I love it to bits. Oumo Sangare is a wonderful singer and one of the many great musicians that come from this African country.


Even the last day which is always a short one, has a lot of bands to check out. Hopefully I will have enough energy left.

1. Erlend Øye; he skipped a few years but Norwegian singer Erlend Øye simply is the ambassador of this festival that he embraced from the first time he played here.
2. Jeff Tweedy; Wilco's frontman is playing solo and although somehow I never really got into this band, he's someone I just have to check out.
3. Protomartyr; This post rock band keeps impressing me and I just have to see them again
4. Sunflower Bean; psychedelic pop songs that sound really fresh from a band that is quickly becoming popular. Their new album Twentytwo In Blue definitely sounds promising enough.
5. Tim Knol; Dutch singer Tim Knol has developed into a one of a kind and confident musician that goes his own way. He is a talented songwriter which he proves again on his latest record Cut The Wire. And Tim Knol is a great match with this festival. He's on really early though and I'm not sure I can make that.

I really love this festival, but somehow I'm getting the feeling it is trying to kill me. Well, at least it will be with a smile on my face.

Read more!

Saturday 25 August 2018

On Stage: Indiestad @ Paradiso

Summer time is always a bit quiet when most bands don't release new music and are playing festivals in Europe. But now the summer is coming to an end, things are picking up again. Indiestad kicked off the weeks that lie ahead of us where the days are getting shorter and colder, but the clubs are heating up. So they invited three bands to play on one evening: Snail Mail, Imarhan and Blonde Redhead.

Indiestad at Paradiso Amsterdam, August 21 2018

Snail Mail

Lindsey Jordan is drawing quite a bit of attention as Snail Mail lately. Her music is getting very positive feedback and now her name is popping up more and more over here too. She's only 19 but already is looking quite confident on stage. Indeed she turns out to be a talented songwriter with quite a good voice. Sometimes when she's raising it, she reminds me of Björk a bit, although her music is different. It is more straight indie rock, but I quite like it. The rest of the band are a bit bleak though and are not really shining on stage. However when they spend a lot of time on the road this might get better as well.

Official Website | SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter | Spotify


Completely different is the music of Imarhan, who are from the Algeria. They mix their traditional music with blues, soul and funk. The first half of the show the Malinese roots are playing a big role and the band look a bit overwhelmed. But then they start to feel more comfortable and the music slides into a mix of seventies and eighties funk and soul, that could be taken off those great soundtrack of that era. The very good guitar playing is dominant in the music, but all songs are driven by Algerian rhythms that make them incredibly contagious and it is impossible to stand still.

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

Blonde Redhead

The other two bands are kind of supporting bands for Blonde Redhead. Is looks like most people are here tonight to see this trio play. Twin brothers Amedo Pace and Simone Pace together with Kazu Makino are playing a wonderful set of shoegaze and rock music. Simone Pace is playing very tight and powerful drum grooves while Makino and Amedo are taking turns singing and sometimes also switch instruments. Makino's high voice isn't always in tune, but it does fit the music. She's a wonderful performer and the whole band have a very positive appearance. So at the end of the show, the crowd won't let them leave without playing an encore.

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

This was another successful Indiestad night, who are able to put three completely different bands together and make it work.

All Images

Read more!

Wednesday 15 August 2018

New Sounds: Oh Sees - Smote Reverser

John Dwyer's musical output is still one of the highest in the industry and following Oh Sees' two record last year, there's now a addition to their catalog. Smote Reverser will be released at the end of the week and you can already listen to it now a few days ahead:

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

Read more!