After three years, Amsterdam’s Indiestad festival is still searching for its true identity. In its first year, terribly overpriced, the festival was aiming to promote local talent in the days surrounding of London Calling weekend. Last year was a bargain, with an enormous and totally unconnected line-up, spread over one-and-a-half week at numerous venues around town. This the festival consists of two London Calling weekends; a new outdoor festival that took place last weekend at the charming location of the Tolhuistuin and the traditional London Calling festival in Paradiso that takes place next weekend. These two weekends plus twenty odd shows that take place in the week in between, mainly at Paradiso, constitute the Indiestad festival. Are you following? The only criterion left for the traditional London Calling weekend seems to be that the artists performing are native english speakers. For the rest of the festival anything goes, as long as it’s Indie, which basically means that everything goes.
My schedule allowed me to attend only two gigs in the Tolhuistuin. The first are Wolf Alice, an Indie-rock quartet from North-London, whose bandname is based on a short story by the British author Angela Carter, who also wrote The Company Of Wolves. Both stories are violent and sexual adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood, not the kind of stuff you associate with Wolf Alice’s melancholic ‘rocky pop’. The melodic core of the songs betray the fact that frontwoman Ellie Rowsell actually started out as a folksinger. Even a grungy, shoegazey veil cannot conceal their freewheeling nature. The combination reminds me of band’s like Echobelly and Lush. I don’t think that Wolf Alice’s timid performance left much of an impression with most of the audience at the Tolhuistuin, but I can advise everyone to listen to this promising band on bandcamp for some excellent songs.
The other band the Fuzz see perform at the Tolhuistuin this weekend are Stockholm’s electropop collective Kate Boy. Three men and a girl, whose outfits make me wonder who’s helping out Tom Cruise on Mission impossible when the rest of the team is here doing a gig. Kate Boy have a lot going for themselves, vocalist Kate Akhurst, who’s originally from down under has got a beautiful luring voice and despite dancing around quite bit she doesn’t miss a note in the Tolhuistuin. The other main asset is the band’s tremendous percussive sound, hypnotic and fortifying. I only wonder who’s making the rest of the music when all four band members are drumming away simultaneously. Perhaps, somewhere in the obscurity of the stage there’s some more musicians hidden. I guess at this time of the year people from Sweden have a craving for darkness, but it’s terrible conditions for filming.
Kate Boy’s music is quite easy to describe: think of Nikki and the Dove and then think of Niki and the Dove some more and if you don’t know Niki and the Dove then I’m kind of stuck for references because that’s who Kate Boy sound like. Going on a range of excellent singles I think that perhaps Kate Boy will be able to produce a more solid and continuously danceable record than their fellow countrymen and women did last year and even that was allready quite entertaining.