The proud jewel in Groningen’s crown

The Eurosonic section of the event closed, leaving Noorderslag, the proud jewel in Groningen’s crown, dedicated to the best of popular Dutch talent, broadcast across Europe.

Based In the multi-venue capacity of De Oosterpoort, Groningen’s cultural centrepiece, the modernised and well facilitated structure held a large capacity of people, a whooping 8 largely sized stages, a maze of corridors and a wide range of artists. Kicking off in the middle was Wouter Hamel, a popular modern folk musician who combines jazz and funk to his pop structure, and I was treated to a slice of his ambition whilst I walked through the building.

Holland’s love affair with Jazz and Blues constantly shows within their pop continuum. A tradition upheld by Room 11, who mix the sounds of Paulo Conte, Miles and classic finger-snapping, bar room jazz. Watched in a large concert hall, I moved due to the filling crowd size and struggling air conditioning.

Beforehand, I’d been treated to David Gilmour Girls, darlings of the Dutch scene and favourites of the British press, who made a great impression to the bustling crowd. When they finish I hear, behind them in another venue, the sounds of synths twitching and bass-cones firing up; Parra Soundsystem, Holland’s answer to SMD, unleash pounding techno beats, dirty stabs and rave pianos.

Other bands worthy of taking note included Amsterdam’s Hospital Bombers, with their tweaky, weezer type rock; brat like, ska-tinged punk band All Missing Pieces and popular, indie rock outfit Moke, the former well polished, articulately pronounced sounds grabbing the crowd in its British-like intensity (apparently Paul Weller loves them and invites them on tour), sounding like its straight off the stamping streets of London.

Other standout acts included Lolly Jane Blue, singing deep, throaty country tales of bittersweet love and life, and Voicst, possibly Holland’s hottest commercial, progressive rock outfit, playing a set that’s expertly executed through an exhilarating set. Finally, a short stint in the Hip Hop stage unearthed conscious, dub reggae influenced GMB, mixing Dutch and English rhymes with full fat, rounded beats, which followed spaced out, thug type Space Kees; outer worldly beats on a more militant tip than Dr who Dat’s futurist sound.

And with that it was time to travel back to Amsterdam, and then (eventually) onto Home. With my Knee hanging off, a scummy pad of notes and a backpack full of dirty washing, my head was buzzing from the energy and discovery of new music.

Make sure you’re fighting fit and up for a good mission, because at 50 euros a ticket, and enough music to choke a horse, Groningen should be your first port of call next winter. If you’re up for going to a tucked away location to catch bands of a likewise nature, then you really can’t do much better. So many bands played, it was humanly impossible for me to catch them all; next year, go find out for yourselves.
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