Submotion Orchestra whipped up a deep, libidinal storm and Inc. did a great job of blissing out the crowd
Rotterdam, glorious port city and former gateway to the New World, recently hosted a festival that promised to teach you a thing or two about ‘THE DUTCH MINDSET,’ and how those kooky liberals with their futurist architecture, jumbo doobies and hoverboards (probably) have managed to put on an event that goes beyond the music; using bands on stage as an entry point for everything else great the city has to offer, including harbour tours, hard-hatted gigs on construction sites and the totally bonkers ‘sleeping project,’ which eschews festival camping in favour of an unusual one-off location for a festival-goers for a couple of nights. Sleeping what? In the past being invited to bed down in converted trucks of disused tunnels, this year people did relatively well to be allowed to sleep in the foyer of the De Doelen hall – Rotterdam’s equivalent to London’s Royal Festival Hall. They were woken by staff dressed in white robes who brushed their teeth and combed their hair for them whilst they were still in bed, but didn’t go so far as to aid them in toilet procurement or supply a happy ending.
To the music: Submotion Orchestra popped up as a fully functional musical vestige indebted to golden era trip-hop and those early Jarvis Cocker-directed Nightmares on Wax videos, by whipping up a deep, libidinal storm offering the best jazz-infused smoke rhythms you’re likely to find this side of a time machine to prohibition era New York. Elsewhere Inc. did a great job of blissing out the crowd with their James Blake-come-Weeknd-come-Prince pillow talk music, even if singer Andrew Aged looks like Jasman from Babylon Zoo crossed with a toy troll.
Headliner Wood Kid let everyone down by pulling out at last minute due to a mysterious hospital trip that no one could quite explain. But it was more than made up for by Norweigan experimental 10-piece prog-rock / jazz ensemble Jaga Jazzist, who linked up with the Rotterdam Sinfonia orchestra for a performance that felt like winning big-time on the slots and having endless gold coins and cherries pour out until you drown. Meanwhile, the UK electronic underground was represented by Lapalux, who brought over the best of UK bass, minimal and glitch that felt like a b-line through the best of early Warp IDM, Fly Mo and a Night Slugs 5am b2b set.