Le Guess Who? Days Three and Four
Somethingyousaid.com’s Carol Bowditch concludes her time in Utrecht with bloody feet:
After a lengthy visit to a ‘very nice’ ‘coffee shop’ I stopped by Kapitaal, a gallery space/retailer of art nick-nacks and one of many venues participating in the offshoot festival, Le Mini Who? which was completely free and open to the public. As ERAAS played industrial art rock to a selection of pretty locals, I found the walls covered in projected art installations of models tweaking their fruit covered nips a little too distracting to fully enjoy it. They were soon followed by His Clancyness, the lovely guys from Bologna, whom I recently interviewed. After many listens of their newest record,Vicious, it was great to hear the romantic Miss Out On These Days, and the wonderful vocal harmonies featured in Hunting Men in a live format.
The allure of a gig in an 11th century built church led me to Lonnie Holley performing in Janskerk later. It was strange to see hundred of hipsters drinking beers and getting (quietly) wasted to this set of serious African ‘world music’. After, back at Tivoli, I caught Crystal Stilts. As a big fan of their record, Alight of Night, I was incredibly disappointed with their set. As a band that uses heavily many a fuzz pedal in their recordings, the set was filled with indistinguishable numbers, just noise, not of the good variety.
In need of a genre re-jig it was back to the city fringe for ODDISEE and new find, Young Fathers. The first providing rhymes and swagger a-la Lupe Fiasco, the latter, making my body shake like it has never shaken before.
After, not quite ready to throw in the towel, it was back to Tivoli for a party that I attended and knew would be the best few hours 100% based on its name, ‘New York Night Train’s Soul Clap & Dance Off featuring Jonathan Toubin‘. Between a series of moves that weren’t unlike this, I made a spotting and may have even forced my dance rhythm on frontman, Nick Thorburn of Crystal Stilts, who was redeeming his earlier onstage performance with a series of serious shapes. Hours passed and I found myself in a pub usually reserved for the criminals and lowlifes of Utrecht (were there any?); shoes were bloodied (from drunken bicycle shenanigans) and dignity was left behind hours ago at Janskerk. It was time to rest my head on my filthy red vinyl covered hostel bed.
Feeling unsurprisingly worse for wear then next morning, it was time for the fourth and final day of Le Guess Who? The Sunday proceedings starting early, I checked out English lads Traams at EKKO. They played a solid set, including Flowers, a ridiculously great track with sweet hammer-ons and clever lyrics about hopeless modern courting. They were followed by Hanni El Khatib, wearing a cowboy shirt and a sticker on his guitar saying ‘TEX’. I noticed these things and couldn’t help thinking and giggling to myself about the likeness that he had Peter Serafinowicz’s character in that Alan Partridge episode where he wears fringed leather, drinks Dr Pepper and ‘just likes American things’.
Back at Tivoli de Helling, I chanced upon two impressive young acts, coming in the form of The Holy Drug Couple and FÖLLAKZOID (pictured right). Both loud and fuzzy with great accompanying visuals. With the festival winding down and housing bands in only two venues rather than six, The Tivoli soon became packed with those not into Yo La Tengo. I caught OM, who played a very long set consisting ambient monotonous throat-singing with tambourine, the set’s saving grace however was the gentleman playing said tambourine and his obscure hand and facial gestures.
Finally, to end a long week of psych bands, was San Fran psych band, Wooden Shijps. An outfit that is currently winning spots in many an indie end of year list were the hot favourite for the evening. The large venue was decorated by incredible swirls and concurrent circles by Sanae Yamada, the audience and I alike were very impressed by the overwhelming psychedelic drone and vast hypnotic imagery. Full marks.
Weary, but easily swayed by friendly Dutch fellows, I stuck around for the final DJ set of ‘Portuguese style Moroccan desert music’ by JIBÓIA before Le Guess Who? was to be packed up for another year. The festival had treated me well, providing me with four days of quality sets and interesting venues in a great small city that I probably would have never had the pleasure of visiting otherwise, as well as cheap Dutch beer and a slew of the friendliest and most accommodating punters I had ever had the pleasure of grooving alongside. I’ll be back for sure, or send others in my place, promise.