– THURSDAY 10/01/2013 –

Day 2 – Let’s see what we stumble across

So as a Dutch resident myself, I’ve been bombarded with dozens of great sounding Belgian bands that make it across the border and invade our radio playlists. Therefore, whenever there is a Belgian neighbour, whose music is described to be inspired by The National, I can’t really justify not going.

We make our way back to De Spieghel for the first of a Belgian double. Tommigun manage to draw a crowd so much so that the upstairs of the tiny venue is quite literally packed to the rafters. With people standing on tables and chairs to catch a glimpse, we settle further back to let the ‘heartbreakhangover’-tunes wash over us. With lyrics such as ‘Don’t look down on me California moon’ and a distinguishable Pixies feel to the crisp, dual vocals, their songs feels like a levee waiting to break. And when it does, you don’t mind in the slightest.

Meanwhile downstairs, Roscoe have set up. These lads live for the summer and when it’s not there, spend their time writing songs that make you long for it. They pull up a wall of sound that comes crashing down into roaring bassline driven soundscape. The lead singer’s voice carries it well and its definitely a recommendation for fans of that National sound which lets you gaze into a tunnel.

One of the catchiest revelations ahead of arriving was Estonia’s Iiris. We are intrigued by what kind of band would produce the electro pop gem entitled ‘Weirdo’. Names such as Bjork and Regina Spektor have been thrown in to describe the Eastern European pop group. And stage presence wise, we couldn’t agree more; a ukulele and an Estonian/Japanese Lolita-mix looking front woman will make you look closely for what’s going on onstage. It might be gimmicky, but remains to be seen whether that’s all there is to it. For now, it’s interesting.

We make our way across the centre of town to catch the last bit of the one lad who could be considered a ‘headliner’ at this showcase festival. Jake Bugg’s booking for Eurosonic has coincided with a huge hype surrounding the 18-year old’s self-titled debut album. Playing at the largest stage, the Cathedral, we enter just as he kicks into ‘Taste it’. And judging from the crowd’s response, the majority have heard his songs before. Be it on the radio or the night before at Huize Maas.

Whilst it’s evident who his influences are, to which he pays great tribute, I wonder whether he can keep it up. ‘Lightning bolt’, his greatest ‘hit’ so far, is straight up, fast-paced Dylan but the second time the chorus comes along I already find my thoughts wandering off. Album-wise, not an issue, but when you’re performing live at the age of 18 you can’t get away with the Gallagher- arrogance. But who knows, Alex Turner managed to turn it into a trademark persona. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of the lad from Nottingham this summer.

As the crowd leaves for local DJ’s Noisia playing a free set in the main square, it is replaced with C2C fans. The French DJ quartet has made a name for itself by mashing up soul, blues, rock, funk and electro and just won the coveted ‘Public Choice’ award at the EBBA’s two nights ago. Whether it’s old school hip-hop or an ‘Intergalactic’ MCA tribute, they create the most active crowd at this otherwise fairly laid back festival.

Further down the road there’s the little double venue called Simplon, which tonight is hosting Hola A Todo El Mundo aka Hatem. A fourpiece from Spain which could be confused with escapism-colleagues Animal Collective. With a synth sound identical to the one in ‘Chariots of Fire’, they take the energy level back down to normal. With a spacey reverb, rolling basslines and vocals similar to those of Skip and Peggy from shoegazers The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, we consider ourselves ‘mucho impressivo-ed’ and let them ring our ears away for the night.

Iiris – Weirdo

C2C – Down the road

Jake Bugg – Lightning Bolt

Hola A Todo El Mundo – To my tender love

Music enthusiast | Play guitar | Bit of gig photography on the side | MA Journalism student at University of Salford | Huge Pearl Jam fan