Wednesday 17 July 2019

Klikofest 2019

I love the summer, that is for sure. Not only because of the nice warm weather but also because of all the festivals taking place. Like the Klikofest at Patronaat, the indoor festival for garage, rock, punk, and anything that comes near.

Klikofest 2019 at Patronaat Haarlem, July 13 2019

Every year this festival seems to grow their line-up and come up with even bigger names. This year there's plenty to enjoy again and we head to the festival on time so we can catch the first band.


Unfortunately the Dutch railways aren't cooperating and our train has a twenty minute delay. As a result we miss half of Sons' show, which is too bad since I really wanted to see this Belgian garage rock band. You could call them the Belgian Oh Sees for their catchy and irresistible rock songs that sound dirty and heavy, full of fuzzy guitars, rolling fills and big grooves. I'm glad I'm still able to see the last part of their show and see with my own eyes this is indeed a fun band to watch. The quartet are able to write great compact songs that rock heavily and play them with plenty of energy. We're starting this year on a high right away.

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Petrol Girls

In the second hall Petrol Girls have started their set, a hardcore punk band on a mission. They are outspoken about many subjects and singer Ren Aldridge introduces the songs with little tales about mental health, feminism and gender neutrality. Aldridge is bouncing around stage while screaming her lyrics. After a while I think I have seen enough. It is not bad, but I think the band could use better songs that have more variety, despite their good intentions.

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The Blinders

Time to move ahead to the smallest stage in the cafe, that is always full and where it's hard to see the band. It usually makes up for it with a great atmosphere though. There we find The Blinders in the middle of their show, a punk rock trio that combines music with political views and poetry. The lyrics are hard to hear though, so I have no idea what their songs are about. Singer Thomas Haywood sounds like Jim Morrison sometimes when he recites his lyrics backed up by heavy rock music. I find it hard to get into and the songs can't really catch me. I will have to give them a proper listen to really hear what this band is all about.

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The Schizophonics

We got tipped to definitely watch the next band, The Schizophonics from San Diego. It becomes clear right away why, because this band have quite the live reputation. Singer and guitarist Pat Beers is moving around stage like a mad lightning bolt. He's constantly running from left to right, jumping, doing splits, rolling over, while playing his guitar at the same time. Whenever he comes near the microphone he barely has time to sing his lyrics. Their roadie is keeping very busy picking up the mic or even repairing it at one point. It is an explosive live show, that's for sure and their punk music is actually quite nice. But I do notice that at one point Beers' insane stage performance is getting really restless and in the way. Because of his insane stage performance he sometimes is not able to hit the chords or sing. Of course he does fire up the crowd who love it, but at the same time this is just too much overkill.

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At the second stage Crows are halfway their set. I saw them a few weeks back at the Loose Ends festival, in the middle of the afternoon in the sun shine. There I had mixed feelings about their performance, but now they are in the dark and everything really comes together. Tonight the vocals of James Cox blend together nicely with the noise of the guitars and the songs really have an impact. The vocals are intense, sharp and edgy, while the band sounds relentless and dark. Today Crows are definitely a winner with their raw and vicious post-rock songs.

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JD McPherson

We decide to take a look at the main hall, where JD McPherson are starting. This is a totally different cup of tea, a complete change from the heavy and explosive bands we just saw. McPherson plays old school rock 'n' roll music that sounds a bit dull at this point. It's not bad but never really gets exciting. The band isn't exactly setting fire to the place that isn't really filling up either. It seems many visitors are taking a break and have a beer instead. That's what we're gonna do as well.

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Los Chicos

In the cafe Los Chicos are about to start playing, a band from Madrid that has been around for almost twenty years. It is quite a big band for such a small stage, but the band manages to fit it all up there. Their gritty country and blues rock sound reminds me of music that could come from a movie like From Dusk 'Till Dawn. The band puts a lot of heart in it and are really working hard to entertain the crowd. But the music isn't all that great and the band doesn't sound really tight. This is a band that definitely can get a party started but doesn't bring a lot more to the table. Time to move on again.

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The Psychotic Monks

We head to the The Psychotic Monks, a band that I never heard of. It turns out the band from France is playing music that ranges from vicious hard core noise rock like METZ and Girl Band, to more psychedelic groovy rock music. Their performance is really intense, playing in the dark with the lights flashing like strobes. The band create their own world that is both intriguing to watch and listen to. I like their dark and strong sound, which really impresses me and will definitely check out more from them.

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Cloud Nothings

For me Cloud Nothings are one of the headliners of the festival and I expect a full house in the main hall. However it is almost seems like most people have already gone home. Singer Dylan Baldi mentions he finds it weird that they are playing this late and doesn't seem to know this is a so called night festival, one that starts early in the evening and lasts throughout the night. Fortunately this doesn't get the band down and their blend of noise rock and indie rock still is convincing tonight. They can play rock songs with a poppy side that almost sound like Britpop, and then follow it up with heavy noise rock. Still it all stays together and never feels out of place. Their set is well balanced and despite the low turn up, the heavy rock songs come across with great effect.

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I heard about Flamingods several times so I want to see what they are all about. The members are from London and the Middle East and their music is a blend of those worlds. I like the exotic twist of indierock and psychedelic songs. The band members look like they came from a costume party though, which is a bit too much I think. But besides their wardrobe, it is clear these are skilled musicians with a lot of creativity. It appears they are all multi-instrumentalists since they are changing instruments about every song. Fortunately this never really holds up the music and it is a nice tropical summer's breeze at this festival.

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King Khan & The Shrines

I know this time it is gonna be a long night, since King Khan and his Shrines are playing late at night. I also know we definitely don't want to miss the crazy but wonderful King Khan who seems to start a new band every year. You just gotta love his blend of garage rock and soul, that is both swinging as it is rocking. Tonight the band starts somewhat slow with Khan dressed modestly in a rock 'n' roll outfit. Of course it doesn't take long for him to change into one of his extravagant outfits and let the whole show escalate into a delightful, crazy and cheerful party.

His band are equally active with the keyboard player taking his keyboard for small trips off stage and a horns section that can make the biggest grump start to dance. Khan brought his daughter who mostly is happily dancing on stage. She is singing a few songs too, but it is better she sticks to dancing. Fortunately many people have stayed for this show and Khan makes sure they made the right choice with an energetic and wonderful show, that is definitely the highlight of the festival.

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On this high we head back home, tired but very satisfied after another top edition of Klikofest. I had the idea it was less crowded than the last couple of editions, but maybe I'm wrong. I'm sure we'll be back next year again and it is going to be interesting to see what kind of line-up they will be cooking up then.

All Pictures

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