The economies of scale warranted by last year's great but overreaching Incubate are evident from the start of this, its second of three outings this year - paper wristbands rather than cotton, none of the larger performance spaces being used (so consequently expensive headliners are avoided), last year's merchandise rubbing shoulders with the new stuff etc. None of that should be seen as a negative though - think of it in terms of your team dropping down a league to return stronger after a year's recuperation. Better to try and fail etc.
Apologies are due to Statue who, due to making presumptions about my stored memory of Tilburg, I failed to catch through taking a wrong turning on my borrowed bike. No doubt they'll feature on another bill soon.
The first music which I managed to take in was therefore The Cult Of Dom Keller, last seen at Rockaway Beach 11 months ago. The more enclosed stage of Extase lends itself well to the moodier show they put on tonight. You could almost call it downbeat if not for the fact they still thrash out and suck you into the proceedings despite the more considered approach. Great to experience such growth in ability.
Nipping round the corner to Cul De Sac a cover version of Sinead O'Connor's 'Nothing Compares 2U' confirms for me that Quiet Hollers' brand of folkiness is not for me so instead the time's used to check out that diminished merchandise stall (al fresco as it's still in the 20s at 22:00) before wandering in to 013 to see Thurston Moore for the first time in 20 or so years.
Taking to the stage a tad late (possibly due to Thurston not yet having his watch on European time - it shows it's just gone nine) The Thurston Moore Band are clearly one of the event's highlights for many people. New album Rock And Roll Consciousness comes out next year but new song 'Ceasefire' turns out not to be on it any longer, having been culled to slim the tracklisting down from triple album length. Moore's in great form regaling the audience with chat, introducing the band and thanking the city for having him back. The class on offer is very evident.
Options after that point are thin on the ground - over at Paradox Edgars Rubenis's one note experimentation is a cross between listening to the noise your fridge makes and the torture methods used on terrorists, elsewhere Dead Days Beyond Help do the guitar and drums duo thing to reasonable effect but they're not yet in the upper strata of the form.
Back at Extase we squeeze in for the final couple of numbers by Slow Down Molasses, the last being a messed up version of The Stooges 'TV Eye'. The band are playing a set each day over the four so it'll be interesting to see if they are each as intense as this one. A band on the rise anyway.
Finally tonight we caught Worlds Dirtiest Sport, a solo act by American Kevin Branstetter. Sampling himself and looping it, drum machine, semi-acoustic guitar playing etc. all combine to make a sound that flows over you more than it arrests your attention but that's not to say it doesn't butt in on your conversation now and again.
Three days to go - thanks for having us back Incubate.