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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.


Incubate 2015 - Saturday

  • Published in Live

Saturday and Sunday at Incubate sees the festival expand to include a number of further venues playing host to free gigs. Of these the first to be visited was the Sounds record store, where Subbacultcha had lined up a good international bill. Torii prove to be both a very jangly prospect and one not afraid to let the space for a good solo go to waste. Melbourne's Terrible Truths were the last of the acts we caught here and their angular, B52s-like set was a hit with the small crowd and boded well for their main show later in the day. Next up came some immense instrumental rock from Groningen's North To The Night in the front window of Kim's Kroeg. These guys have an epic sound which would easily have worked well in the likes of Midi or Dudok so their half hour set was too short by half. Further time was available but maybe they had an appointment to keep elsewhere. Finally the small downstairs bar of Cafe Babbus hosted Bonne Aparte with their short and intense yet melodic songs. From their tight playing you'd never know they last played live in 2010.

With the weather now dry it was safe to have a look at what the outdoor stage at the Muzentuin had to offer. Basking in late afternoon sunshine and taking in the sunshiny rock of Cristobal And The Sea was the musical option if you weren't just after a coffee and a vegan burger. The crowd were well entertained by the personable group although whether the bass player would see midnight given his J&B consumption (and whether he should have advertised the flautist's newly single status) was debateable.

Another new venue got a short visit next as Jad Fair and Norman Blake were to play in Factorium (which could do with investing in plastic glasses for use in the auditorium). Unfortunately Blake's flight was cancelled so Fair was unleashed alone like a precocious child left to his own devices. The grounding his cohort would hopefully have brought was sorely missed so an early exit was made.

The sounds of Malian Tuaregs was next on the list, represented at Midi by Terakraft. Much as they set large numbers of the audience bouncing though there was a noticeable linearity to their sound with few hooks to make any one song stay long in the mind. Thoroughly nice blokes though.

Jaako Eino Kalevi was also laying out danceable moments back in Factorium. Augmented by a live drummer the icier elements of his recorded work were all but gone, inspiring a small crowd to leave their seats and take to the top of the stairs at the rear of the hall so as to be able to fully physically express how much the music was moving them. 

Blank Realm had just a couple of tracks left to play when we arrived after the short walk back in to see the at Cul De Sac. They were looking tired but happy so it had obviously been an energetic show, not least for the fact that it seems to involve a fair bit of instrument swapping (as well as the use of a keyboard guitar which isn't exactly a common sight these days). 'Dream Date' went over well at this time and they'd obviously been just that for those that had been there the whole time.

The habitual trip to Paradox finished off tonight and it must have enjoyed one of its largest crowds of the week as there was only a small amount of room at the side of the stage in which to squeeze into for the final parts of Fire!'s propulsive set. Appearing here in their original trio form their danceable avant-garde jazz (with a foray into nuts-in-a-vice concentration for some dial turning noise at one point) from the prolific Mats Gustaffson and his cohorts (last seen as part of The Thing a couple of years ago) this was a sweat-drenched performance of improvised and yet catchy music delivered at a deft pace & thundering volume and one of the best shows of the week.

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