DOUR FESTIVAL 2013 – Live Review (Part 2)
aaamusic | On 26, Jul 2013
…Dour Festival 2013 Review Continued. Click here for Thursday & Friday (Part 1).
Today was always going to be a blast, with the quality of the schedule beyond outstanding, and especially with Gilles Peterson’s Wordlwide buddy – Belgium’s own LeFtO – hogging a whole stage for a day+night-long showcase. First up on his stage is the dazzling, up-and-coming jazz-fusion band Hiatus Kaiyote from Australia, who deliver interesting, impressive jazz-soul numbers, including cuts from their Tawk Tomahawk album.
My best discovery from this year’s Glastonbury was US rapper Zebra Katz, one of those at the forefront of an underground movement of openly gay hiphop artists. His slow, slurred rapping is complemented by formidable female rapper Ngena Reddd Foxxx and a hilariously boyish DJ. The tunes are abrasive and industrial, but in a coldly minimalist way – not unlike some of Kanye West’s latest productions. Zebra Katz is a menacing presence, with his overtly camp gyrating, gratuitous swearing and demented grimaces, but it all adds up to make him one of the finest, most exciting rappers to emerge from the US in the last couple of years.
We then check out the Juliper tent to watch some of The Joy Formidable, the best alt-rock band to emerge from Wales in years. Tracks like ‘The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade’ and ‘Cholla’ sit somewhere between the heavy, arena-ready math-rock of Biffy Clyro and the strained indie-punk of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Great stuff.
Throughout the day in the Red Bull ‘Elektropedia’ tent, there’s a showcasing of the ‘History of Dubstep’, in which Loefah delivers an hour and a half of retrospective, real London dubstep – it’s slow, it’s grimy, but it’s authentic, and it’s wicked to get reacquainted with the old tunes that formed the roots of this bloated scene. Afterwards, we nip over to the LeFtO stage to catch some of The Robert Glasper Experiment, who was strangely disappointing last year at Worldwide Festival. But today Glasper has stripped back some of the Experiment’s auto-tune and synthetic noodlings in favour of a more conventional jazz set up, with their covers of Jay Z and Kanye West’s ‘No Church in the Wild’ and Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ being thoroughly gratifying. Back over in the Red Bull stage Mala and Coki bang out a massive DMZ set, with gritty dubstep tune after gritty dubstep tune, each DJ playing off each other and loving every minute of it. For sheer wobbly entertainment, they surpass Leofah. Props to Mala for looking like the happiest DJ of the whole weekend. When you smile, we smile.
Over on the main stage headliners Jurassic 5 are getting down to business. They’ve been away from festival stages for sometime, but they sound as polished and professional as ever. To combat the tedious MCs-backed-by-DJ set up detailed before, they add gimmicks such as choreographed little dances, and a cheesy interval where the DJs come forward with mobile mixing equipment to do a mini-set. It fits their music, which has always bordered on the tounge-in-cheek side of oldschool, melodic hiphop, but it’s still a little grating. Obvious highlights are ‘Quality Control’ and ‘Concrete Schoolyard’.
The set of the night was always going to be Flying Lotus in the LeFtO tent. Backed by his two layered AV show, and mixing up his own productions with the best of trap and instrumental hiphop, he reminded everyone that he’s the greatest at what he does. And he knows it. Interestingly, he takes to the microphone numerous times to unveil some Captain Murphy material, and although his rapping still needs some fine-tuning, it’s great to see him pushing himself as a performer. Of his own tunes, ‘Pretty Boy Strut’ gets the best reception, but, as always, he offers plenty of TNGHT (three tacks, including ‘Higher Ground’). Nobody loves TNGHT more than FlyLo. The visuals are also more streamlined that his London Troxy show – they’re less intrusive, and play secondary to the music and man himself, whilst remaining beautifully imaginative.
The LeFtO stage is finished off by an awkward looking Gilles Peterson – who spins out a trademark mixture of electronic, hiphop and world – and LeFtO himself, who smashes it with an unyielding, quick fire set of hiphop beats. LeFtO, please come to London more!
Slow, sleepy Sunday. It also turns out to be the hottest day of the weekend. Brutally hot, no matter where you are. Queues for the showers and taps stretch out into the dusty distance. Having had the majority of the best music spread over the past three days, it’s actually nice to have the freedom to just wander around the mini forest of trees between the Boombox and Dance Hall, and relax in the secret beach bar. In terms of music, we see Ireland’s And So I Watch You From Afar (Jupiler tent), who turn in a hook-heavy set of instrumental math-rock, and Wales’ Funeral For A Friend (Cannibal Stage), who look as surprised as I do that hardly anyone has bothered to check them out. FFAF repeatedly apologise for not touring Belgium and France enough, and rip through a post-hardcore set heavy on the hardcore, but get little back from the tired crowd. Sadly, FFAF are plagued but a few sound issues (particularly the quiet vocals of frontman Matt), and they ditch the more interesting, melodic moments of their past in favour of the borderline metalcore of their last two releases. Only the closing couplet of ‘Juneau’ and ‘Escape Artists Never Die’ get some much deserved crowd participation. Disappointing, but I’m still rooting for these guys!
Other than that, we catch a bit of the ska-rock band Tryo on the main stage (which the Belgians love!), a little of Kate Nash’s new garage-punk inspired direction in the Jupiler tent (she can play guitar, but can’t quite pull off the angst), and influential French hiphop collection IAM back on the main stage. However, with Klaxons having cancelled (still no word on why?) and with the final headliner being nothing more than a Billy Corgan solo / Smashing Pumpkins tribute act (harsh I know, but their performance at Glasto showed how they have deteriorated since their glory days. *We have since learned they performed a storming set. FAIL), we say goodbye to Dour Festival.
Will Dour remain the best kept secret from the fad-loving UK festival goers? I strongly hope so. With allegedly 183,000 attendees split over four days, and some of the greatest alternative artists in the world, plus a atmosphere so warm (the heat and ridiculous amount of weed smokers helped, I’m sure), this was one of the most uniquely charming festival experiences I’ve encountered in a long time. Bring on Dour #26!
Review: Clive Rozario
Photos: Steph Hollox