skyline
 

MEKKUR!*

Excerpt from a random conversation after last night’s Goat show:

-“This isn’t music. It’s just sex, man.”

-“Yes. It is.”

IMG_4737

The most anticipated show in Incubate’s history would become exactly what we expected from it. But more on that later, otherwise many of you wouldn’t bother to read the rest of this review. You lazy fucks.

We had another go at Incubate Zero, around breakfast time -consisting of a beer at Extase. However, the band playing just tried to be like At The Drive-in. As in: an exact copy. Please people, when you start a band… just begin your creative process by making a lot of noise. Chances are you won’t end up being a xerox.

We proceeded to have an interesting afternoon at the Consouling Store, where the Nadja live album was being presented. Monday‘s live recording was turned into a record in just five days. It’s the kind of thing independent and underground labels are doing more often: just make speciallekes (as is said in parts of Flanders) to stand out and offer a unique product. This was also reiterated during the interesting debate which took place after and was moderated by the director of Ancienne Belgique.

There wasn’t much time for interaction, but what the concert and festival organizers of the panel had to say in terms of promoting local music, was -as usual- just bullshit. A member of the audience pointed out that Le Guess Who? -better known for having the best line-up in recent history- barely programs any Dutch bands whereas there’s more than enough local talent to go by. It’s indeed a different story from Incubate and therefore LGW? is a bad, bad festival (according to the gentleman in the audience). We don’t agree with either one point of view. There’s one word that can basically explain to you how to solve the problem with promoting local acts: Scandinavia. They too have festivals with almost no local acts. Sometimes that’s because the local acts are already abroad, either supported by governmental cultural institutions or because the artists have the knowledge and tools to work together and not lose a fortune whenever playing outside their country.

Or Canada for that matter, which is also famous for the self-organizing capabilities of musicians. It was by far the most represented country at Incubate, even though a few drone acts that shall for now remain nameless appeared half a dozen times. If there’s anything we could say about Thisquietarmy though, it’s that he is probably the best one of them. This is the type of ambient/drone music that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Because it’s loud, direct and always growing in sound.

Accompanied by visuals that seemingly represented the beginning of the end of the world, it is indeed fair to say that Thisquierarmy makes apocalyptic music par excéllence. His one hour set was perfectly in sync with the stop-motion frames, which have a similar effect as closing your eyes to his music. Slightly out of balance, there was only one thing to conclude: the scheduled extra half hour would have done no harm.

IMG_4697

We decided to stay around in Paradox, because some weird Norwegian band consisting of identical twins was about to play its first ever concert abroad. Tusmorke (You know, with the bar across the O. Don’t blame us for having civilized keyboards) wasn’t quite our cup of tea, with its blend of Black Sabbath and witchcraft and slightly unsettling song themes (“This is a song on how the oligarchs will leave earth and why you shouldn’t support exact sciences”). It was time to move on.

IMG_4703

Skullflower would have been a far better option, but apparently decided to cut their set short after only 25 minutes playing at Dudok. We are yet to find out the reason, but either way a packed Midi was waiting for us. And for Wovenhand. Despite negative reviews recently, there’s nothing bad to be said about this 75 minute hard hitting tribal folk performance the former 16 Horsepower frontman and his more than excellent band brought to the stage. The crowd was into this primal music from the first minute. It reminded us of a Nick Cave live experience and if we use our imagination quite a bit, Michael Gira. In ever softening times, there is definitely a call for men like David Eugene.

IMG_4706

A quick bite later there was still some time left to witness a brutal, brutal set by Swedish crust band Skitsystem. ‘Crust’ is basically a fusion of ‘cores’. The result of which was dudes slamdancing in front of the stage at Extase and a very happy crowd afterwards. This band indeed still has A LOT of energy after 20 years. However, we learned that at Incubate there’s a good way to choose your concert when not knowing any bands or whenever in doubt. Go for large venues like Dudok and NWE Vorst or the intimacy of Paradox. A good sound is always guaranteed there. In pubs, even good bands end up sounding like trash or garage. That isn’t to say Skitsystem sounded crappy. But we can imagine them playing one of the smaller stages of Roskilde Festival and killing it a lot more over there.

Fanboy-mode was switched on as we were told to wait on the stairs of Midi. As soon as the doors opened, the 1000 capacity venue was filled within minutes. Yes, this band is huge right now. Yes, they will play main stages of major festivals in 2015 and bring new hope within all the generic radio-friendly bullshit. Yes, they are retro as hell. But how could they not be, since Goat basically reincarnates music which is a thousand years old?

It’s not an excuse, mind you. There are always limitations to what a band playing 70’s psychedelic funk/afrobeat can do. BUT. Goat have evolved. No more saxophone or organ this time. This version of the band is far more ‘Roadburn’ than ‘World Music’. And indeed, just like their debut, ‘Commune’ only truly starts making sense when performed live. Goat is now a band that can fill 90 minutes at a rapid pace, melting songs into each other to the delight of the dancing, sweating and mesmerized crowd.

The dancing, jumping and hypnotizing singers bring a spectacular performance completely free of sexist oppression which so often plagues female artists in music. The band is so absolutely brilliant, compounded by Midi’s perfect sound: those cymbals, those wah-wah pedals, DAT BASS! Literally nothing can go wrong with this celebration of pure music. Goat is originally from northern Sweden. Once you visit that part of the world (preferably in a car), ‘Commune’ can be understood perfectly as an album that basically expresses the grand open spaces and the insignificance of humans therein. This band doesn’t only produce something timeless and utterly addictive, it also throws you into a world of mysticism. A world in which we still cannot grasp the full extent of what is exactly going on around us. Watching Goat is nothing more and nothing less than the vicarious experience of that mystery. This is so powerful that it is inevitable for this band to become absolutely huge. As long as they keep doing exactly what they do, this is only to be celebrated.

IMG_4728

The night wasn’t even over yet, as an improvisational post-rock band impressed another packed Stadskelder. Apparently, shit had gone very wrong the night before during another fucking garage show. This time though, the crowd was in a mostly introverted state as Woodsman basically performed only the ‘loud’ part from the quiet/loud dichotomy that is usually to be found in post-rock. It was great to see this three-piece perform in such a small and intimate space. Another example of the unlimited coolness that hangs around Incubate. But there are a lot more we couldn’t show you: the Norwegian hangover quiz, the heavy metal bowling and a ton of sideshows that help create a cult around this festival.

It is also refreshing to see the festival’s director “dance” to Ron Morelli at 3AM in the morning. An excellent combination of acid, house and mild techno to result in a far better afterparty than the night before. No insane douchebags on coke this time, either. We still crave for 130+ bpm techno at a festival like Incubate, but Morelli’s set -although he was clearly bored and not tyring very hard and also fucking up some mixes- had at least 50 people put on their dancing shoes.

It does sound incredible, but this festival is still not over yet. Give us one day to get back home, and tomorrow evening we’ll come up with the final report on Incubate: the festival experience, the perspectives this kind of event offers for the future and… Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra.

All previous coverage can be found here.

*Copyright: The Independer, a.k.a. the worst -but hilarious- festival newspaper in the history of festival newspapers.

(mp-h)