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Festival Coverage : Incubate - September, Day 2

  • Published in Live















Another gloriously sunny day in Tilburg so what better way to start the musical experience than in the courtyard of the Duvelhok as the sun filters through the trees and the bells of the nearby church sound out the quarter hours? Otto Lindholm was up first, sampling his own upright bass and messing around with the resultant loops, followed by the "deep, percussive techno" of Acronym. Both had to be appreciated through wireless headphones but, unlike a silent disco, no one was dancing so all rather more staid than the music suggested.

In between the aforementioned acts I took a walk across the city centre to Sounds record store to see the punchy (and currently topical) Paralympics. Definitely a Dutch trio to be checked out if the idea of a hardcore version of Shopping appeals to you. Exciting and vibrant bands with female singers were key parts of today's choices as it turned out for next up was this year's first visit to Little Devil to see Blank, whose darkwave-style set (in particular 'Performance' and 'White Noise') vocally brought to mind Savages and overall was of a quality that belied their tender years.

Only one outing to Paradox today, to take in Zeno Van Den Broek, a man who likes it seems to have his minimal beats play out in minimal lighting. They do at least amount to something of substance. Whispering Sons, however, sound like a guitar being murdered, slowly & so their show was swiftly exited in favour of the excellent hardcore of Paranoid State, over in Extase. A bizarrely under attended gig but they cracked on with it unfazed & provided me with the second of today's fully watched shows.

Slow Down Molasses were in Cul De Sac for the second of their festival residency shows, four years after first playing the event. More restrained than last night they played a fair number of tracks from new album 100% Sunshine. 

Sweden's Grieved drew a good crowd to Little Devil & their metallic hardcore was on the the whole good quality but lacked that final something which would have seen me raving about it. Whereas Germany's Svffer pushed all the right buttons. Do they sing in German or English? No idea & it's the kind of style where it doesn't matter - extreme vocal delivery from a diminutive frontwoman backed up by hefty speed drumming and hammering riffs made for another exceptional show.

A complete change of genre at 013 next for Shackleton's Powerplant show. Tribal drumming performed live along with Giallo-esque input from an electronic xylophone and samples etc. made for an eerie and mesmerising performance that you could well appreciate the physicality of seeing as there was no let up for the four guys involved. A real tour de force.

The night finished off with more hardcore from Dutch veterans Vitamin X (old school and all over in half an hour filled with the weekend's first decent moshpit, spray string, a confetti bomb and an inflatable seal), more great darkwave-ish material in the shape of French youngsters Rendez-vous (the dancier end of the field is what they ply), punk of sorts from Mike Krol (dressed as a burglar supported by onion sellers on the tenth date of his & the band's Netherlands tour) and let down at the end by his fellow countrymen, shoegazers Nothing who failed to excite on any level. Maybe a 1am start was too late for them and they did experience a tech-related delay but whatever the reason theirs was a rather flat set. 

Overall then as varied and enjoyable a collection of acts as expected, for the most part. Roll on Saturday.

Thanks to Peter Spapens for the photo of Shackleton.


Festival Coverage : Incubate - September, Day 1

  • Published in Live
















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.    

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