Friday 6 September 2019

ITGWO 2019 Day 3 + 4

Halfway the festival I notice the island is sucking me in again. I've said it many times, but this place is simply amazing. You only see smiling faces around and we are all simply spending four days in our own perfect happy little bubble.

Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Saturday August 31

Bobby Oroza

Finnish soul singer Bobby Oroza kicks off the day at the main stage. There’s a small group of people that are enjoying his classic soul music. He has a nice sound and the songs are quite groovy. His voice is a bit thin though and the songs miss variety. Oroza is a nice guy although he looks bit serious. But he is chatting with the crowd, cracking small jokes. Not a bad way to wake up I guess.

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Jordan Mackampa

We make our way to the woods where Jordan Mackampa has drawn a much bigger crowd at the small stage. His pleasant soul songs are comforting with the warm voice of Mackampa. He introduces his songs with short stories in a soft voice, but from our position in the back we can’t really hear them properly. Fortunately it's the soulful music that counts, which sounds lovely between the trees. I really like his band as well, who are adding a lot of depth and groove to the music. Judging from the fact that hardly anyone leaves, the crowd seems to like it a lot as well and thank Mackampa at the end with a heartfelt applause.

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Pip Blom

Dutch singer Pip Blom had quite a run this year. She released her debut album and played many festivals including Glastonbury. I’ve seen her a couple of times before of course and enjoy her music a lot. You notice that she and her band are spending many miles on the road. The band has grown without losing their young enthusiasm, including the always happy looking Blom herself. Among all these happy musical eruptions you could easily forget how mature her songs actually are. If she's able to keep up writing clever songs like 'Daddy Issues' one can only imagine what the future can bring for her.

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Personal Trainer & The Industry

Like Pip Blom we have to rush ourselves to the indoor stage where Canhaker Pi's Willem Smit is playing with his Personal Trainer playground project. He was asked to record new songs on the island the week before and has gathered even more of his friends to help him out. Most of them are here tonight to play them live on stage with him. You can leave it up to Smit to come up with interesting music in such a short time. The result are interesting indie songs ranging from slow and edgy to wild post punk ones. Pip Blom joins later in the set with her own little children's choir, which is totally adorable. Mixed in are Personal Trainer songs and tracks of the guest musicians. It makes the show lack structure and cohesion and an unbalanced setlist. The eager group of youngsters in front of the stage also have trouble following it, very willing to form a wild pit. But the band compensates largely for this in enthusiasm and some members are running all over the stage, dancing around and simply having an amazing time. You can only admire this young group of people for being so creative and working together on exciting new music. You simply have to look at Smit and his friends to know the future of the Dutch alternative scene is looking very bright.

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A few years ago, Belgian musician played the smallest stage in the woods, that was already too small for his fast rising star. Since then the word was out about his remarkable voice and the wonderful music of the kind singer. So this year he got promoted to the main stage at one of the best spots in the schedule, the time the dawn is setting in. It is the perfect setting for the slow, dark but gorgeous songs of Tamino. Don't let the swooning school girls and house moms fool you, since his music is of great quality. His songs are a mix of fellow Belgians Balthazar, Radiohead and a large scoop of Jeff Buckley. His voice is clear even live and the young men has an incredible range. With the spotlights on him for most of the show, you would almost forget the other two musicians who build the structure of the song. Especially drummer Ruben Vanhoutte is playing his drum grooves very convincingly, making sure to never take away the focus from Tamino. The singer is able to impress most of the people here, slowly and patiently performing his songs. Of course he closes with 'Habibi', his first hit song that started it all and that still never fails to impress.

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We are in for a bit of a party and Flamingods from Bahrein are the ones to give us just that. I saw them play at Klikofest a few months ago very late at night and liked their psychedelic music with oriental influences. Singer Kamal Rasool is the core of this band of multi instrumentalists where every member seems to be able to play every instrument. They smoothly switch positions and instruments in between songs, although I never have an idea why. It doesn't matter since tonight the band has found the perfect balance in their show. They keep the party going at all times and the crowd is loving it. This is no straightforward psychedelic rock, but a tasteful oriental twist on it that sounds amazing tonight between the trees in the dark.

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At the indoor stage Wand have already started their show, who played here before at the same spot. We continue the psychedelic rock party but this time from a different angle. Singer Cory Hanson is the centre point with nice solos and skilful guitar playing. It makes sense Ty Segall is a big fan of them, releasing their debut on his own label. The band have slowly made their sound more heavy, but are able to balance this out nicely. The songs can explode into wild jams, with lots of reverb and fuzz. However it is always in a subtle way, effectively using dynamics in their music. The band may look a bit serious on stage, but are slowly loosening up towards the end of the show, that is the last one of their European tour. I'm sure this is a great place to end a tour and have a big party to celebrate. I know that's what we're going to do.

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Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Sunday September 1

It is the last day of the festival and the one where it I don't want to rush to shows. I just enjoy the island, the festival, the people and a couple of good bands instead.


At the small stage in the woods we find two musicians entertaining quite a large crowd. Beraadgeslagen are keys wizard Fulco Ottervanger and drummer Lander Gyselinck who play modern, groovy jazz music with a twist that isn't hard to swallow. Normally the duo likes to be playing in the audience, surrounded by people. So towards the end of the show Ottervanger invites anyone who wants to on stage. It is a nice view, all those happy people dancing around the duo. When they ask the audience to rap on a song, only one man is brave enough to hold the mic. Parts of his rap are sampled immediately and the duo improvises a song around it. It doesn't get more interesting, creative and exciting than this, which is what jazz is all about.

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Strand Of Oaks

At the main stage we find Timothy Showalter and his band. I like the kind big guy, who apparently has to go through a rough time in order to find inspiration for his music. This shines through in his songs, that are full of emotion, where Showalter will dig deep into his soul and bare it all. His songs may not be the most innovative ones, but they are honest and full of heart. It makes his shows worthwhile and today is no exception. Showalter himself seems to enjoy the beautiful weather and the festival, which seems to put him in a good place. Many people with me enjoy this moment and his music with him.

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It's that time of the festival where it's time to party one more time at the main stage. You actually don't want it to come, since you want the festival to go on for ever. But when the moment is there, everyone is ready to dance and close the main stage in style. Parcels are the perfect band with their Bee Gees inspired disco. The band members seem to have stepped into a time machine in the seventies that brought them here. The Australians know what this crowd wants and play a funky set full of happy disco tunes. You can also hear the Daft Punk influences mixed into their music. I find the variety in their music a but limited and don't really like the falsetto harmonies all the time, but Parcels are clearly playing at the right place and time here.

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Another wonderful edition comes to a close and we couldn't have wished for more. The weather, the food, the people, music and most of all the island were wonderful. Can't wait 'til next time!

All Pictures

Into The Great Wide Open 2019 Day 1 + 2

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