One of the coolest festivals in the Fall in the Netherlands is Le Guess Who. This year they decided to organize a one-day event under the name Le Guess Who May Day, with a lot of cool acts at Tivoli, Ekko, ACU and Neude (which was part of Festival Aan De Werf)
I began this evening with Sleepy Sun at Ekko. The band returned this spring with a brand new record called Spine Hits, a bit more lightweight compared to previous record Fever. Live it took a few songs before the show took of. The sound on stage was not optimal and the bandmembers weren’t at their best. After they started to play some songs of Fever it started to roll; frontman Bret Constantino came more on fire and the psychedelic groove where the band is known for came back. Also I’ve got to give some credits to light engineer for a stunning light show. With this gig they proved that Sleepy Sun can also exist without singer Rachel Fannan. (Oh.. and I can already reveal that we’ve got some nice news about this band this week.)
Bear In Heaven
Then I had to choose; Willis Earl Beal or Bear In Heaven. Beal didn’t really convince me with his album, but after seeing this live performance from Swing On Low I started to doubt (later that night I found out that this performance became legendary by another reason). Eventually I chose for Bear In Heaven, because weirdly enough I never saw them live and Beast Rest Forth Mouth was definitely one of my favorite records of 2010. Just like Sleepy Sun they came with a new record last month and at the first turns of this cd it didn’t really convince me. Luckily that changed during this gig. Their new songs turned out really good live, but this is mainly due to the rhythm section; the bassplayer and the really tight drummer created a really solid base where singer Jon Philpot could just go crazy on with dancing and singing. That was right away one of the negative sides of this performance. I was really surprised that Bear In Heaven is performing with only three guys, as their albums are filled with layers of (mostly) synths. This was solved by two MacBooks, which were controlled by Philpot, who was singing out of tune at some moments by the way. An extra bandmember to play keys would be a useful extension for this band. But besides that, Bear In Heaven was on some moments really on roll, especially when they played the mesmerizing tracks Lovesick Teenager and Ultimate Satisfaction.
The most buzz of this evening was probably around the Cleveland band Cloud Nothings. Their second album Attack On Memory, which they released at the beginning of this year, is probably gonna end up at many people’s year list. So I was pretty curious to see if this band can live up to these high expectations on stage. The songs they were playing were really good, especially the fact they are making grunge-music, but without copying typical grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. But still, the time schedule said that they would play an hour and now they played just 40 minutes, while they got three albums. Besides they played a couple of times a break with only a lot of noise for 10 minutes long. It really took the momentum out of the show and it felt like they only played this to fill their set. Please if you’re wanna play a short set take an example to Iceage, with 12 songs in 20 minutes. I can’t say that it was a bad show, but still it was a bit disappointing.
A good thing about the short Cloud Nothings set was that I could still see almost the whole show of Young Magic. I’ve seen the band play the night before in a not filled Stage01 at 013, so I was quiet happy to see that this trio pulled a fully filled and sweaty basement of ACU. It also looked like the audience appreciated the performance more than the night before, and I think the band members noticed this as well, they played a longer set and with more enthusiasm.
For the people who don’t know Young Magic; this band is playing a weird kind of psychedelic pop, with tribal drums and eastern influences, think something like Gang Gang Dance. Personally I think Melt is the best record I’ve heard so far in 2012. But lets face it; that doesn’t say anything about a live performance. This band had a similar problem as Bear In Heaven; On Melt the most songs are filled with a carpet of sounds and like BIH they’re playing with only three people so a lot of sounds came out of box. I know a lot of people won’t bother and will not notice, but still.. An advantage of a lot of sounds out of a box is that it doesn’t sound messy or empty. Even though, I really liked this adjuringly performance, although the show went in waves of excitement; some songs of their debut were a lot of more thrilling than others.
Last but not least was Mmoths, the 19-year old kid who we just announced a few hours ago for Incubate 2012. Not a banger as afterparty (maybe next time LGW?), but a set of dreamy chillwave. Jack Collera played, like most acts in this genre just with a MacBook and a controller songs of his excellent EP. Nothing wrong with it of course, but I was expecting a bit more excitement or variations of the songs. Maybe next time (September at our place!) he could experiment more or make it more danceable. Ok, I have to admit; I can’t be too critical! This youngster is just 19 years old and for his age he’s a fucking genius and I’m really looking forward to hear new work from this Irish hipster!