Friday, November 26, 2010

Crossing Border 2010!
AustinSurreal Show with Nive Nielsen in Session!

Man it went down once again! Forgive me for the late blog post but I was at the Crossing Border Festival in The Hague, Netherlands and Antwerpen, Belgium, till this past Monday and then had to hit the ground running upon return. Between work deadlines and Thanksgiving and such, there was no blog time. But man, Crossing Border really is one of my favorite festivals. They combine music, literature and art into one big cultural mish mash of brilliance in one place at one time and it's unlike any event I have ever experienced.

Michael Madsen was interviewed on stage and read passages from his books in both The Hague and Antwerpen. And was basically around the event the entire time. He's a real kick ass dude and I had no idea he was such a writer until meeting him at Crossing Border. Seen here with Michel Behre, the heir to the Crossing Border Throne. And a kick ass dude himself.

Michel seen here with his father Louis, the man who founded the Crossing Border Festival, seen here in the library of the City Hall building, strategizing. This is my people right here. Brilliant dudes.

The schedule was crazy! Manic even!

Wednesday night, as you may have seen a couple posts ago, they presented the 3 local bands who will travel to Austin for SXSW 2011 from The Hague.

Pop Up Animal Kids

Pitch Blond

And The Deaf

Then Thursday night was a special performance by Rufus Wainwright, who did an amazing piece for his mother who had recently passed. And on Friday and Saturday it was four buildings and multiple stages of music and readings.

My favorite stage was in this tent, where this girl and her cohorts served beer and Gluhwein (this warm wine that was lekker),and most of the more up and coming indie bands played. More on that later.

But every room was incredible. The Royal Theater played host to multiple stages, including this one where I saw Nive Nielsen and Deer Children perform for the first time.

Nive is an incredible singer songwriter from Nuuk, Greenland, who will blow yo' mind. More on this later as well.

Her set was a great way to start the night.

Ed Harcourt performed solo in a church just up the street from the other venues. The ambiance and acoustics were magical.

Got to see Low in the same room I saw Nive in, they're one of my favorite bands of all time. I don't think I've seen them since I saw them at the Axiom back in the day.

Scroobius Pip blew the roof off the mother sucker. I wish I had a recording of the last poem he did, in which he took the perspective of God... wonder if it's available. I have no idea.

There was so much going on and I was running in and out of shows every 3-4 songs. I think this is Bruce Behrman.

And I believe this is John Grant.

I know for sure this is BP Fallon...

And Band.

And this is the Smoke Faires, whose intricate guitar work had me trippin'. I have got to get their record.

They also played in the church, which was pretty perfect.

My good friends Robyn and Pete met me on Saturday to kick it. Always a pleasure to see them. Pete plays keys with the Blind Boys of Alabama, and he was also the man on the keys on that Gym Class Heroes song that freaks that Supertramp song. Among other things. And Robyn is the co-host of the show The Busted Halo on Sirius Radio.

There was a full moon over the old city.

Kern Koppen was the festivals sole hip-hop act, and they rocked the house in front of a full Cuatro.

Dudes jammed, it really went down.

So all that went on into the night in The Hague, and the next morning we took a bus out to Antwerpen, Belgium where I linked with Nive Nielsen and her boyfriend and bandmate Jan de Vrode to record an interview and a bit of a live session for the AustinSurreal Show.

Live in my hotel room.

After a bit of tuning,

She kicked out the jams and killed it. You can hear, download or stream the show here. Nive's live set starts at the top of the second hour.

Peep the view out the window, that's how I'm livin' when I'm in Antwerpen!

Wim was in the house!

That evening I hit the shows up in Antwerpen at yet another beautiful theater building. Michael Madsen was in the house once again, seen here with Michel and Louis Behre. Rumor is that Madsen broke 3 ribs at the end of the night. Possibly drunk?

Anyway, I always love coming to this festival because while taking in some great music, you are fully surrounded by great art, and culture, and literature.

And that's a really nice change of pace.

Here's a shot of part of the crew that makes it all happen, after a very successful weekend.

Though before Michael Madsen fell and broke his ribs I suppose.

Anyway the party went on well into the night, but I had an early flight from Brussels to catch, so I rolled with my good friend (and Houston rap afficianado)...

LEAN SIPPA! Down to his place just a few kilometers from the Brussels airport, where we finished off the stuff I could not bring home and caught up after not seeing each other for like a year or some shit.

And this is me in an elevator. I hope to never miss a Crossing Border Festival. What a treat. See y'all in Austin soon!

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