Thursday 5 September 2019

ITGWO 2019 Day 1 + 2

The island of Vlieland is waiting for us again for another edition of that wonderful little festival Into The Great Wide Open that we visit annually. The sun is out and we are already sucking up its ray on the ferry to the island. I can already feel that lovely island mood flowing.

Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Thursday August 29


The festival kicks off for us with one of the most interesting new bands of the moment. Squid from Brighton play catchy and danceable punk rock songs that sound like a mix of The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem. Drummer Ollie Judge who is also taking care of most of the lead vocals has a bit of hysterical way of singing which fits their hyperactive music. The way he's phrasing his lyrics is clever and the rest of the band support him with energetic and percussive grooves. The hesitant crowd are slowly doing their first dance moves of the festival.

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We head to the bigger stage in the woods and we find a big crowd there, that has been warmed up completely by Onipa. The band from the UK with singer K.O.G. from Ghana has many people dancing to their hip hop, dance and percussive music with plenty of West African grooves. That is an excellent mix and K.O.G. is a wonderful frontman who is dancing around stage with a big smile on his face. This is one of those bands that will light up a festival with positive vibes and beautiful music.

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Whispering Sons

After seeing Belgian band Whispering Sons killing it a few times, we don’t want to miss them playing the only indoor stage of the festival. The dark small venue should be fitting for their even darker music. The sound is a bit dry though and it makes their music less powerful, making it harder to get into. Fortunately ‎Fenne Kuppens keeps working the crowd with her expressive performance and low voice. In the end they are able to grab me again with their gloomy and impressive show.

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Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Friday August 30


I found out that I saw this band from Soweto some years ago as well on this island. Judging from my post I wasn’t really impressed. But a few months ago I really liked the energetic and lively performance. Today again the band plays a steaming show with a catchy mix of spirituals, soul and hip hop. The big drums keep the dancing going while Jovi Nkosi is singing, rapping and screaming tirelessly. Kgomotso Mokone's beautiful voice adds the soul and percussion and the wonderful bass of Mosebetsi Nzimande adds a lot of sugar to the steady grooves. The crowd keeps growing throughout the show and the band wins everyone over. There’s also time for some stories about the problems in South Africa and a message of unity. At the end Jovi has a heartfelt shout-out to his child and the man taking care of him now.

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Daniel Norgren

I’m really happy to see Daniel Norgren again, since I love his music so much. It’s his second time on the island where I got introduced to him his first time here and completely got swept away. The gentle Swede starts out small behind the piano and then gradually lets it rip. The new songs are once again mostly laid back Americana tunes with Norgren’s skilful guitar that he sometimes will let erupt. His loyal band is a perfect match and plays with a lot of heart. The crowd feels this and is listening in silence, grabbed by Norgren’s music. It’s beautiful that such a happy crowd can stay quiet on a sunny afternoon like today. It is the audience Norgren deserves. He states this is one of the best festivals he ever played, quickly adding that he not just saying that. This festival and this wonderful musician are a perfect match.

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Some years ago Yolanda Quartey played in a band called Phantom Limb that was winning over hearts very fast. Suddenly they quit after their first album and I never got clear what happened. Now she’s back as a solo artist with similar Americana and country style songs. Mostly these songs are gentle tunes with the amazing voice of Yola. She is able to belt out incredible vocals but chooses to keep it small most of the time. The songs stay a bit on the safe side and it never gets so impressive as the first time I saw her. But the charismatic Yola is lovely to watch, looking very happy on stage performing her own music.

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Equal Idiots

It’s time to fire it up again and this Belgian duo are exactly what I need. Their explosive garage rock songs are all loud little firecrackers that start a small pit in front of the stage. This wonderful festival crowd is always a bit hesitant with wild guitar bands, so it never gets out of control. Singer Thibault Christiaensen notices this and keeps firing up the crowd until the pit starts growing. The duo never lets it slip and comes up winning in the end by playing contagious raw rock music with a lot of effort and energy.

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There’s a lot of music from the big African continent this year, or inspired by it. KOKOROKO draw their inspiration from afrobeat and jazz, which means they are channeling some of Fela Kuti's music and some amazing jazz as well. Indeed it’s quite jazzy with the three horn players at the front, but at the same time has exciting afro-beat vibes, making it very suitable for dancing. Trumpet player Sheila Maurice-Grey is also the front woman and the large band draws an equally big crowd to the stage in the woods. It is great to see so many people turning up for a band that doesn’t exactly play avarage festival friendly music. It proves the open mind of this festival crowd although it helps a lot that you can dance to this music. I like their sound a lot and all the happy dancing pepole around us between the trees makes for a lovely sight.

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The Murder Capital

Hailing from Dublin, this group is one of the products of the exploding post punk scene there. The music of this five piece is on the dark side and the indoor stage is a good place for it. It’s an intense performance with the impressive front man James McGovern, who seems untouched by the big turn up. He doesn’t really have a great singing voice, but his vocals go very well with the dark and violent post punk. The other band members are circling around him, waving their guitars dangerously close to each other’s heads. This band is great to watch and I’m going to keep an eye out for them.

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All Pictures

Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Day 3 + 4

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