In the third week of september the city of Tilburg turned for the 10th year in a row into a paradise for alternative music-lovers. With a large variety of over 290 acts during the six days of the festival almost all corners of the musical spectrum were covered and could be enjoyed. Preceding the festival I wrote a preview in Dutch about the 20 Nordic acts which came to conquer the audience. As I was very curious myself I decided to have a taste of it myself and experienced two days of the festival.
Noisy Wednesday with Norwegian Next Life & Deathcrush
The line-up for the wednesday Incubate-program looked like it was going to be a quiet night. However as this years Incubate had a “Norwegian invasion” quietness was the least to be expected. Two Norwegian bands were there to stir up the crowd in café Little Devil. To start off the night 15yo Next Life took over the stage. This band became well known for its crossover of playing metal music with oldskool computergame-consoles like the Atari 64. Although they left the Atari and life drummer at home the sampled sounds from the laptop sounded convincing. Within 17 minutes they jumped, ducked, dived and rocked the stage with their metallectronic. It sounded rough, fast, energetic and fantastic but 17 minutes was just a bit too short. Asking them about the how or why they told me their performances can be “fucking intense”. Also one of them was a bit ill so they had to keep it short.
Around the clock of 11pm it was finally time for my highlight of the evening: Deathcrush! In 2013 they also played at Nordic Delight Festival and 1,5 year later they’ve not only gained loads of musical fans but also been busy with fashion-design. In the preceding week to Incubate they played at the Black Rat-Deathcrush collection releaseparty in Oslo and they blew away the crowd. Literally. This wednesday-night at first they looked like inconspicuous Norwegian hipsters while enjoying Next Life until they took over the stage themselves. Ultimately noise-rocking they teached the audience lesson after lesson (they titled their songs as lessons). As it was pretty crowded dancing was almost strictly possible in front of the stage in between some photographers who got carried away on Deathcrush’s enthousiastic raging tunes. I would say they really did live up to their name as the audience was Deathcrushed, in a positive way as they were really great! Missed out on their performances and wanna see them? They’ll play in Amsterdam November 29th!
To complete the Norwegian experience during the performances Little Devil served several Norwegian beers from the Nøgne-brewery for prices Norwegians would be drooling. Very tasteful indeed!
Mystical & guitartastic Saturdays.
On the Incubate saturday the Nordic invasion could be experienced in roughly three categories. First there was the contradictory Norwegian Tusmørke in Paradox, the insane loud and angry Unkind, Skitsystem and Okkultokrati in Extase and in the middle of the musical spectrum there was Goat in Midi.
If you had watched one of the YouTube-video’s of Norwegian Tusmørke you were probably a bit prepared for their performance. A weird fairytale was going to happen on stage. While the dwarf-look-a-like keyboardplayer sat down behind his organ and the magic flute player got his flute in position the singer walked through the venue clinging a large bell as to alarm the audience they were going to start their performance. Back on stage he picked up his guitar and they started playing uplifting prog-folk-rock with a mythic hint. Their long robes, beards and regular usage of small bells gave the suggestion Paradox was temporarily back to the middle ages. From start to end an intriguing show.
After the mysterious Tusmørke it was time for some hardcore crust punk in rockcafé Extase. Listening and experiencing the angry rock with loud, screeching guitars, heavy drumbeats and most of the time indistinguishable lyrics by the Finnish Unkind and Swedish Skitsystem couldn’t really satisfy my eardrums. Nevertheless the crowd, mostly heavily tattooed admires of the genre loved it and even build their own small mosh pits.
Although the Crust Punkers were still raging on stage after a couple of songs I searched for a safer haven and found it in Midi. Midi was the place to be this saturdaynight to experience one of the most extra-ordinary Swedish bands of the moment: Goat. About 45 minutes before they got on stage the doors opened and within moments the venue started filling up. It looked like everybody wanted to see them. Minus one or two visitors who didn’t like the masquerade. Just before midnight Goat came on stage for their almost 1,5 hour show and were welcomed by a cheerful fully loaded theater. The Goat-men dressed up in Middle Eastern gowns and masks started off with a musical mix of psychedelic-voodoo-worldbeat-rock. Just as the audience was getting into the groove the female Goat-members jumped and danced on stage with their prayer-sticks and immediately enchanted the venue. A dancing mass was their reward. At home you can listen to Goat on CD and pause it but the Goat live is a inevitable phenomenon. After seeing them at work during Iceland Airwaves the Incubate-performance was even better and even more magical. Musical voodoo exists and is made in Sweden. Go see them, if you dare!
Norwegian Okkultokrati had the honour to close of the Nordic part of the Incubate-night. Their music sounded less aggressive and more melodious than the previous hardcore crust-bands but still looked quite dangerous as the singer was waving and juggling with his microphone-stand. His fellow bandmates looked more relaxed and cool playing their guitars next to him. One of them showing his suntanned torso while the other one was trying to ignore the poorly lit venue by wearing sunglasses. They closed off their performance with a big sip of red wine and waved goodbye. Probably flying back the next day to their beloved “Ugly Fucking Oslo”.
As was to be expected not all bands were my cup of tea. However my personal favorites Deathcrush and Goat were a delight to watch and listen to. The next edition of Incubate can already be written in the calendar: September 14th – 20th 2015! Undoubtedly there will be many more bands from the Scandinavian Underground-scene in 2015 to shock ‘n impress the audience.