Tegendraads Festival – LVC Leiden 04/04/09
Well whadaya know? WotNxT & Dstruct yet again showed the way with an eclectic mix of underground sounds at the LVC. And a packed venue to boot; proof yet again that there are noiseniks and strange types just dying to hear weird music out in these provinces. Still we Heads shouldn’t be surprised at how good Tegendraads 09 was. Last year’s festival was so successful with its mix of uncompromising rackets and intelligent beats it would have been criminal not to repeat it. It’s always fun to see what these lads come up with by way of entertainment.
Team Incendiary had limited time this year, so duly sloped early in to catch Dikke Vandalen who I’m sure played last year… No matter, their fantastically upbeat hip-hop deserves a bigger audience than the enthusiastic knot of early festival goers who crowded round them. I love hip-hop when it’s free and easy and fun like this. And listening to Dutch hip-hop somehow is much more enjoyable than the English version, maybe it’s because you have to work harder to bend those guttural sounds into something fast and sharp. Am I sounding flippant? I hope not, and I recommend them to you.
Upstairs then, to see Piiptsjilling a Fries/Leiden combo who (on this evidence) play minimalist, very quiet post-rock replete with muttered ‘thoughts’. And no, before you say it, it wasn’t boring. Actually, once you got into the stately groove of the show, it was utterly mesmerising. In fact Team Incendiary found ourselves grooving along quietly with all the other hippies and floor sitters. I reckon their vibe is better experienced live than on record, but check them out.
Then it was down to the main hall to catch some of We vs Death who did their perfunctory post-rock thing. They’re bloody good, and possibly the best exponents of the genre in Holland, but it doesn’t really shake my boat. So, we sodded off back upstairs to catch Plieuw, who I’d heard a lot about. This skinny lad, who looks like some 10 year old who’s undergone severe stretching courtesy of a medieval dungeon, used a laptop, an Emu card and a keyboard to create a ferocious noise which Incendiary just couldn’t get enough of. Cut up, vicious breakcore sometimes morphed into quite beautiful sonic experiments. Frankly he could have played all night. All the while Plieuw stood there, grinning like a child who’s been allowed to stay up and watch Des O Connor’s Friday night show. A jerky, fun-packed half an hour later and Incendiary had to take 5 minutes out before the arrival of Stöma.
We saw Stöma play at Sub 071 a few months previous. Then, they were content to run through some pretty perfunctory spaced-ut funk with the odd sonic freak-out, especially near the end of their set. Tonight they are a different animal, much more in-yer-face, more punky and loud, and the bass player’s got eye liner & lippy. It really looked like he was pretending to be in Julian Cope’s late lamented Brain Donor. And you know something, they were stonkingly good. I’m not one for the whole slap bass thing, but the band’s mix between drums, samples and thumping bass lines (augmented with about 30 pedals) is a pretty potent one. Their confrontational stance vis a vis the audience really got somewhere too. Check them out.
It was at this point that the festival started to kick off. Following on in the attic, Logosamphia (Obnoxious Records Project) quietly began to blow the place apart with off-its-head breakcore and the kind of minimalist drumnbass that grinds bones down. It’s virtually impossible to write about music like this, suffice to say Team Incendiary shook some rug and moonbeams shone like gossamer from the attic’s crannies and rafters. Or summat like that…
One more act? We really had to go, but the vibe was too good after Logosamphia. Having said that, the wait for Crowd Surfers Must Die nearly finished us off. Still, their enthusiastic, worse-noise-than-Swell-Maps-but-just-as-endearing routine was pretty great, though we feel you have to be in a particular mood to enjoy them.
Shame we had to leave, missing Gewapend Baton but that’s life. Get yourself to this festival next year.
Words: Richard Foster