Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Trip To The Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands WENT DOWN!

August has been a whilrwind of travel for ya boy. Sorry for being so aloof and away from the fray of the blogosphere for so long. I probably lost about 65% of my readers, and with my lil Ozone write up below, probably about 2% of my friends, but alas and alak, fuck it. If I could camp all day and all night and just experience music freely and lay in the grass and play with my kids all day I'd straight forget what a blog was. Use my computer as a makeshift stand for my bbq grill made out of stones like how Survivorman would do.

That's my fuckin' DUDE OF ALL DUDES!

Anyway, back to the event...

This post is brought to you by My Lil Pony, which is a division of BEAUTIFUL SUNRISES ALL THE TIME - THE MOVEMENT, LLC.

Anyway, I arrived in Amsterdam round about noon last Thursday. Met up with my hosts from Muziek Centrum Netherlands - Robbert Tilli and Femke Dekker - and then Hit the streets on a mission to revisit all my favorite spots in my old city.

See I used to live in Amsterdam, for a good year in 1996. I worked for the Knitting Factory's Euro Office, and basically ran the streets every moment that I wasn't working. It's a small city, easy to cover on foot, which is how I like to enjoy a city. Probably walked 10 miles that day, sauntering in and out of bars, coffee shops and well, regular shops that sell things other than hash and weed, and well, might have had a couple of these...

My good friend Palm stayed close by my side.

As did my cousin Hashish.

This is me after a day of pretty much just walking, barely eating, foolishly drinking a lot, and being smoked out on the steps outside the Hotel V on the Fredericksplein. See, you can't smoke inside anywhere now in Amsterdam (except at a few renegade spots who aren't having the smoking ban). So I did a lot of smoking on steps, outside.

Friday we got up early and hit the road to the Lowlands Festival. The festival is unique in a lot of ways. For one, 90% of the 60,000+ people who attend camp out in tents around the perimeter of the festival grounds. I stayed in a hotel, but kind of wished I had stayed out in a tent with the people. Cuz again, that's what Survivorman would have done.

First group I saw was Pete Philly & Perquisitte. This is like, a legendary Dutch hip-hop act. They rap in English and perform with a serious full band. It was quite a show and I was so happy to finally see these cats live. I've followed them forever.

Which is one thing that made this festival so appealing to me. There was a lot of Dutch hip-hop. Extince, who I have followed since 1996, The Opposites and the, um, lemme try to spell this without looking it up, De Jeugend van de Tegenwordig (The Youth of Today) who are really blowing up out there right now.

How often do we get to see some Dutch hip-hop? I for one miss it. Some of my favorite club experiences in my entire life are from 1996 when I'd go to like Bassline, and all the parties at Melkweg and Paradiso to see how the Dutch get down. Of course that was back when you could roll a joint on the bar and smoke that bitch right up in that bitch, which is not the case today, but I digress...

These dudes freakin' killed it!

Live bands > Rapping Over CD's.

Everytime I see something like this I think about how lazy so many rappers are. They come out with vocals blaring on their CD's behind them. They rap about half of their lyrics, and let their hype man/CD do the rest.

It's a joke. I have seen operas where one woman sang for 4 hours straight. And so many of these fuckers can't rap for 15 minutes. Pete Philly did it for over an hour.


Budos Band killed it. But I had just smoked some hash so I got all introspective while they were playing. Not really introspective, but I was thinking hard about how, well, they are great, but so many have done what they do before them, and even better. And I am sure they know this. But then I thought about rock and roll, and how it was stolen from right under the noses of the Black musicians who created it and I thought about rap music and how the Budos Band are so much better than so much of that shit that I have seen, and then I decided to just go walk it off cuz there was no reason to be over analyzing the Budos Band. They're great. They really are. Glad for their presence.

Holy Fuck too. They got it fucking going.

Never paid much attention to Hot Chip, but checked him out and he is quite a showman.

The crowd was thick, 60,000 + as I said earlier, and they didn't go nowhere. They lived on the festival grounds in a makeshift tent city of sorts for 4 days. Pretty crazy.

Smoked out My Lil Pony and then hit up...

Santogold. Also not a huge fan of hers, not against her. But you know, I found out today that she's a hell of a performer and well, again, no need to overanalyze thangs.

But what I enjoyed most was seeing all the Dutch bands that I otherwise wouldn't see except for maybe at SXSW. Gem was pretty amazing, as were the metal band Textures. Lucky Fonz III is an incredible songwriter and performer and Kraak & Smaak do the hipster electro live band dance thing better than most other I have seen.

My boy Willem

Femke from Muziek Centrum Nederlands, my hosts! She's the one with the My Lil Pony tat. That is sponsoring this post.

MY BOY FARID! Always try to link with him whence in Holland. That's my dude. He came through in a pinch for real. Who knew there were no coffee shops in Nunspeet???

These lambs have seen better days. But um, lekker.


The Opposites killing it!

My Lil Pony Found a Friend!

I mean Vrienden.


This is me and Kees de Koning outside the Anouk show. Anouk is one of the biggest singers in Holland and Kees is now her manager. Thing is, Kees is the hip-hop don of Holland. Like the Tim Westwood of the Netherlands. Started doing hip-hop radio years ago and has been on the scene, pretty much running shit for many years. He's the man. It's crazy. I had hoped to see him, so I went to the Anouk show thinking it would be easy to just get to the backstage area and find him. Well I was wrong as that stage was RAMMED with people. Just utterly insanely packed. I made it like 3/4's of the way to the stage on the right side, watched like 4 songs and deicided to give up on seeing Kees, but as I turned aorund, in the massive sea of people, there he was. So we chopped it up and took this photo. He's the man for real.

Crowd like that.

Basement DJ's were fucking killer. Two young dudes from the Netherlands who know how to rock a party thoroughly.

As evidenced by this photo.

Hard to make out, but dude on the left is Wix. He's a DJ in Holland and an old friend.

On the last night, I linked with Diplo and he did a total raver set for the masses of folks who wanted just that. Boy went off. Here's Steve Aoki and Kevin backstage during his set. Diplos smoke machines were a lil too in effect, sooo I didn't get any shots of him dancing behind his turntables.

Anyway, after a few days of walking, walking, watching, walking, standing, walking, and more walking through the event, I headed back to the citizenM Hotel at Schipol Airport, which is one of the coolest hotels I have ever been in .

The room is small, as are most Dutch Hotel Rooms, but in this one the shower and toilet are in the actual room. Under normal circumstances this would bother me, but honestly, this place was PLAYA!

They had a touch screen control on the wall for the TV, lights, wake up call, the window shades, everything. Free movies, the shower had one of those rainstorm things. Felt so good. It was a wonderful way to end a wonderful weekend.

The staff is overly nice as well. So nice. And the room was like 84 Euros. Best deal uit de Nederlands.

Anyway, there's more to say, but I need to get to work. I should comment more on the smoking ban and the changing tide toward conservatism in the Netherlands, but fuck it. I'm just going to have hope. Keep Amsterdam REAL. It really doesn't need all these changes. It's the sweetest place in the world.

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