Another gloriously sunny day in Tilburg so what better way to start the musical experience than in the courtyard of the Duvelhok as the sun filters through the trees and the bells of the nearby church sound out the quarter hours? Otto Lindholm was up first, sampling his own upright bass and messing around with the resultant loops, followed by the "deep, percussive techno" of Acronym. Both had to be appreciated through wireless headphones but, unlike a silent disco, no one was dancing so all rather more staid than the music suggested.
In between the aforementioned acts I took a walk across the city centre to Sounds record store to see the punchy (and currently topical) Paralympics. Definitely a Dutch trio to be checked out if the idea of a hardcore version of Shopping appeals to you. Exciting and vibrant bands with female singers were key parts of today's choices as it turned out for next up was this year's first visit to Little Devil to see Blank, whose darkwave-style set (in particular 'Performance' and 'White Noise') vocally brought to mind Savages and overall was of a quality that belied their tender years.
Only one outing to Paradox today, to take in Zeno Van Den Broek, a man who likes it seems to have his minimal beats play out in minimal lighting. They do at least amount to something of substance. Whispering Sons, however, sound like a guitar being murdered, slowly & so their show was swiftly exited in favour of the excellent hardcore of Paranoid State, over in Extase. A bizarrely under attended gig but they cracked on with it unfazed & provided me with the second of today's fully watched shows.
Slow Down Molasses were in Cul De Sac for the second of their festival residency shows, four years after first playing the event. More restrained than last night they played a fair number of tracks from new album 100% Sunshine.
Sweden's Grieved drew a good crowd to Little Devil & their metallic hardcore was on the the whole good quality but lacked that final something which would have seen me raving about it. Whereas Germany's Svffer pushed all the right buttons. Do they sing in German or English? No idea & it's the kind of style where it doesn't matter - extreme vocal delivery from a diminutive frontwoman backed up by hefty speed drumming and hammering riffs made for another exceptional show.
A complete change of genre at 013 next for Shackleton's Powerplant show. Tribal drumming performed live along with Giallo-esque input from an electronic xylophone and samples etc. made for an eerie and mesmerising performance that you could well appreciate the physicality of seeing as there was no let up for the four guys involved. A real tour de force.
The night finished off with more hardcore from Dutch veterans Vitamin X (old school and all over in half an hour filled with the weekend's first decent moshpit, spray string, a confetti bomb and an inflatable seal), more great darkwave-ish material in the shape of French youngsters Rendez-vous (the dancier end of the field is what they ply), punk of sorts from Mike Krol (dressed as a burglar supported by onion sellers on the tenth date of his & the band's Netherlands tour) and let down at the end by his fellow countrymen, shoegazers Nothing who failed to excite on any level. Maybe a 1am start was too late for them and they did experience a tech-related delay but whatever the reason theirs was a rather flat set.
Overall then as varied and enjoyable a collection of acts as expected, for the most part. Roll on Saturday.
Thanks to Peter Spapens for the photo of Shackleton.