Location: Haarlem (Netherlands)
By: Sabine van Gameren
While the sun was shining in The Netherlands, many people visited one of the many liberation day festivals in the county. On May 5th the Dutch celebrate they get liberated from the second world war and every year people unite to remember that we are free and live in peace, but it have not always been this way.
I was in Haarlem and I knew that I would see a lot of hip hop today. While hip hop is not really the genre I like most, I knew I did not really have to worry that much, since Haarlem’s festival had the Dutch finest on the bill. Besides the hip hop, there was also dance and rock and as usual a lot of bands who are from Haarlem area. But besides the music, there is one central point of attention: peace.
Traditionally, the winner of the Rob Acda Award opens the festival. This year Schizoid Lloyd was the band who won, so the day started with their progressive rock tunes. Although they did not play that long and as being the very first band on the main stage still quite some people already gathered to cheer for them.
Since they were done after only a few songs, I decided to walk over the festival terrain to the smaller stage where William Wixley would play. I was curious how this band would do, I saw them before in Emergenza Bandcontest of 2007 and I was wondering how they would do nowadays. Their music is funky rock, actually… the perfect music to start a festival with. Sitting on the grass and enjoying the sun, maybe even a small picnic and a performance of this band to watch. Nice!
On the same stage there would be a rap battle. I never saw a rap battle before so I thought it was interesting to see. For those who don’t know the concept: 4 rappers called MC’s are “spitting” against each other. The audience gives a subject and the rappers have to come up with a rap. They have no time to prepare anything. Interesting to see, but after watching this all I have to admit that this really does not meet any of my musical interests. But what did fascinate me was a young guy on the stage which showed some beat boxing skills. Pretty amazing.
|Up next there was a local band called Heist. In the start of the year the band was extremely lucky. While there was a fire in their building where they rehearse, all their equipment didn’t had a scratch. Their music is melodic pop rock. I liked watching them for a while, but overall they are one of the many bands in their genre and also their stage act did not really stand out.|
On the main stage came the biggest surprise of the day: Matt & Kim. This duo came from New York, but actually there were not that much people that knew them. They make very danceable electro music and when I say danceable I am damn serious about that! I felt the need to dance to their happy tunes. Both of them were pretty amazed by seeing so many people in front of them and they kept on telling the audience how surprised they were about that. Yes, I like d this a lot. Definitely the biggest surprise of the day!
After that, Kubus & Bangbang came onstage. A lot of people came to see them. Their popularity grew a lot since they had an own reality show on MTV called Pie & Mash (also the name of their second album). They make hip hop music with synths. Kubus, the vocalist, has tattoos all over his body. Even his face is tattooed. This brings up an image that he has been trough a lot, especially the tattooed tears next to his eye. For those who have seen the MTV shows might know a little bit more about that but listen to what Kubus tells you in the lyrics and you hear parts of the story as well. Most people just dance and sing along though. A lot of people were having a great time and that is why this act was perfect here.
|Juliette and The Licks were more or less the headliners today. The rock band around Juliette Lewis got a nice welcome and when Juliette marches on the stage, people started screaming. The band started of a little hold back but later on they gave all and everything and rocked the stage. Juliette and The Licks is typical rock ‘n roll and you can not have missed about them. Front woman Juliette is full of energy and gets a lot of attention by the way she takes over the stage. The band played 11 songs in total including their biggest hits: “Sticky Honey”, “Hot Kiss” and “You’re Speaking My Language”.|
Alphabeat was the next band. The recently scored a hit with their song “Fascination” but for the rest we haven’t heard too much of them before. They are coming from Denmark and half of the band is named Anders. The performance was quite simple; they just stood on their place and did what they have to do: play. Besides their hit, their music did not attract me at all. Just some easy pop songs. No thanks. I decided it was time for dinner now.
|After my dinner I made sure I was back on time at the main stage where Pete Philly and Perquisite would play. Today they were the “ambassadors of peace” which means that they played at many festivals this day and they would get transported by helicopter from one place to the other. Unfortunately, there was something wrong with their helicopter which made they had to cancel one festival in the north of our country, but they got transported on a different way to Haarlem which they luckily reached in time. Pete Philly and Perquisite makes hip hop with a lot of instruments most hip hop acts don’t have. They make use of an electronic cello, saxophone and many more instruments you would not really associate with hip hop at the first place. No surprise, that there are many influences of different sorts of music in their songs. Recently they are having a hit with “Empire”. I have to say that I really enjoyed this performance. It has been almost two years ago that I saw Pete Philly & Perquisite and I have to say that I really liked the way they grow in their performance.|
For me it is now time to go home. Festivals on this day are not just another festival but there is a deeper meaning in it. It is good to see that there are still a lot of people out there who still think about peace and tolerance.
More pictures of this gig available at sabinevangameren.com