Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Enter Easter coma modus. *On*

A 5 day Easter weekend would normally give people some deserved rest, precious laziness or other timewasting nonesuch activities. It kinda should. Yet when one is tightly bound to the own addiction of gighopping and social outings, there's nothing left than to sully surrender to the swirl of self imposed demise.

One goes to a concert of a friend, enjoys beautifully sculptured minimalism, voice and guitar alike in this tonal shape;
Soccer Committee - Stripping The Nude
Later on, one sees and hears more minimilised forms; an imaginary soundtrack to snowpaved roads by Austrian duo Lokai. Mwoah, Easter starts easy. So one thinks. The night that blends into a late late session at the local squat bar disco tells another story alltogether.

Next day, you just need to go to that gypsy extravanza. You have gotten urged to, promised to expell the laziness that the body is craving. There are trumpets waiting, accordions with shiny teethed smiles and grins above them welcome you and the fest continues from that first nervy step on. Can one be blamed? You go deep and bow down, get your hat robbed by some urban cheeky eyed nightingale and you bow again. Some gent puts down a tray of shot glasses in front of oyu while he's juggling with records, pops the vodka open, you bow and grasp, taking it all in.
The haze leads you into a blissfull stupor, you bounce. Up, sideways, down. Drinks are spilled on you from all angles and the sharp fragrance of eau d'alcool washes over you to complete your effort in drowned Tom Waits impressions. Mumble, stumble and grunt, hardstomping and blunt...it ends.

With limp legs, one slides into bed, knowing that a few hours of snooze will not be a trustworthy preparation to the Rhaaa Lovely festival, down in Belgolandia onto the green wavy Wallonian patches just above Namur. It means picking up hitchhikers along the way and getting lost in side road belgium, as always. You do reach your destination among the indie people; bespecled, beardy, pale, darkly clothed, glum. You fit in, somehow, or try to. You notice that the band Bracken sounds like Hood, in fact IS Hood in a certain percentage way of speaking. Narky singer moans at crowd, making them more glum, apologises for doing so. It's an indie story of shoegazing, you see. Yndi Halda is late and last seen near Spa, informs one clever eagle. Another victim of the Belgian side roads, the curse of pitoresque lostness strikes again. They are postrock anno 2007, looking to the telltale past of other outfits, takes what it likes and repaints it with the same colors. The token duplicate is not of bad quality on this greyish afternoon. It actually fits sincerely. But sincerety does not equal originality. Rothko. One of those versatile bands with a sound that touches many styles at once. Call it your European degree of Tortoise and the nail has nearly been hit into the wood, barely missing your finger. They beam of enthousiasm and pride, since they hardly ever play for more than just a small room, let alone a few hundred people in a bigger hall like today. Great set. Onto Audrey, a 4pack of Swedish lo-fi rock girls that makes the male indie contingent go upfront to drool. Their solemn focus is put to noir songwriting while the cello is one of the better parts of their total sound. Weirdly enough, every one of them sounds like Björk on a weary comedown. Decide yourself whether that's good or bad. Please something heavy to wake up with. The tiredness of the day before is fighting you from within. Arnaud Michniak is formerly of the amazing french improv punk/postrock band Diabologum, now disbanded. -ooow a long time favorite, this one confesses- He drops a dirtbomb on cue. With ferocious poetry he lunges for the crowd. Smudgy guitar sounds and harsh background noises accompany the scene, while from time to time a movie plays on screen in which a manifest is being presented through action and reaction. The adaptation of him putting an announcer on the roof of his mini peugeot car and driving while ranting away over a handheld speechbox, makes me think of that rowdy character in Richard Linklater's Slackers and Waking Life movies. It ends in minutes of improvised punk noise that trickle into a steady noise drone. Yessa. You wander around the festival grounds, look at the drawings that children made in these schoolbuildings, visit the standard unlit portaloo's and there are some sounds from the mini camping. You wander over and find 3 germans dancing around an iPod connected to a ghettoblaster; hi & low-tech celebrate their sudden unity. Air's "Sexy Boy" plays on the improv soundsystem and you find yourself dancing too, because this sweetness makes you smile and shiver, chickenskinny in the cold breezy Wallonian evening air. You stay for more and electroclashmashes of Le Tigre and whatnot pass by in playfull tones, untill the soundsystem goes silent. Batteries empty. Long live the iPod indeed.
Part Chimp continues the loudness, but in a punkrockish manner. It's fun for the moshpitgoers, but nothing more than that. A Whisper In The Noise means, ''you can sit down and relax". People are even sleeping, so your eyes make you believe. One friend keeps reminding you that his voice sounds like Bono, which is a nasty trick to pull on one's enjoyment. You manage to detour it with a ''Tom Barman with a clear voice'' tactic, breaking the curse. Hmmm, the biological syrup juice was yumyum, making you relive childlike memories of hot summer days. But better to snap out of these nostalgic delusions and flashbacks, in order to get back to the festival mindset. The next band does live up to the name; Crippled Black Phoenix. You want to see this noir phoenix rise but it's crippled, which at the same time is its beauty. See, some bands do want to BE freakfolk, or act it. Or steal it. It's hard to place the finger on what they aim for. The tiredfaced leadsinger is stuffed up with a heavy flu, yet he is up there as a pristine folklore schoolboy performing his final play. Alongside him, the band is an usual mix of long beardy rockers, a freaky bespecled keyplayer and other folks who make a funny mix. You get the feeling that they are some mishmash of social outcasts thrown together. They are. In short, their live sound is like Arcade Fire with heavy bouts of stonerrock thrown in, making it more rock than folk, with a hint of post. Like a Bob Dylan who listened to 65 Days of Static, but that's crippled. Though on record, they sound well-behaved and overly polished. Go and figure, but the most entertaining band of the day; especially to end a set with an endless loop of annoying high-pitched noises for a few minutes, causing the crowd to flee, is brave and bold. Just untill the soundengineer screamed "guys, stop!" in pure anger. Clap clap.
The crafty roughness of Pelican closed off the festival giving some instrumental sludgecore that intervened with postrock, therefore; postsludge...or pedalsludge, as counting the pedals exceeded 2 hands. Good stuff, soon to be Gonzonised.
Past midnight, Matt Elliott was about to do a dj set, no songwriter set, arse. No reason to stay. But but but, the festival was worth it, even while carrying a hapless spirit in lucid coma modus.
With a friend of our posse needing to catch a flight to Naples at 9 am some hours away, it was better to go and roll back straight. A 3 hour drive surely feels nice when you deservedly spend it in dreamyland.

You could go on...explaining how Sunday was a day with gypsy and corporate food producing filmviewing...how Monday was a late nite working in the voluntary cafe, doing an piano improv and how Tuesday, after a tiresome working day, ended at 2 different livingroom concerts...one of freakfolk and one of noise drones. More about the noise drones later this week. Make a promise to keep, finder's keeper's the rule.

Coming Sunday at the Desmet Studio, the 5th Dwars festival will be held. As always, good acts and it is free in. If you had not reserved your own bodily attendance for this yet, please do so, quickly at dwarsfestival_at_vpro.nl. See a lot more about it here.
Not so ideal situation: you have your magazine to care for, to fester and pack, to talk and to write so it feels right. So you can't make it to this excellent fest. Darn pity it is, really it just is. It's pretty useless to talk belligerently when it's only addressed to yourself. Idiot moi.

The 2 acts for a wide-eyed discovery will surely be Nalle and James Blackshaw. The trio Nalle seems to consist of 2 singing Finnish pixies and a Scotsman. Yeah, these pixie voices surely sound like a certain American freakfolk singer...let's not drift into vagueness and just listen below and solve the proposed puzzle.
Nalle - Sunne Song
Nalle - Iron's Oath

James Blackshaw is a young fingerpicker and is one of those talented nailpolishers who has suddenly joined the ranks of Jack Rose, Glenn Jones and Steffen Basho-Junghans. Below a long composition of raga streams flowing off a sunglinstering cascade. Blinding and vivid.
James Blackshaw - The Elk With Jade Eyes

Greetings from somewhere, darkroomed and chained to my own 8ball.

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