Dunk! Festival is Europe's finest festival, period. It's more than a festival, it's a family reunion and everyone is welcome to join in on the fun.
A big 'thank you' goes out to the nice people from the bed & breakfast we were staying at. For the second year in a row we were treated so nice, even including a daily ride to the festival area (and back if we wanted, but we did that on foot). They were volunteers in the kitchen, so they had to be there too, but nonetheless. It was nice meeting them again and it was lovely to feel so welcome at their home. I also want to thank Eric from our colleagues of Snoozecontrol. I'm sure he'll come up with a great review too. Thanks for introducing me to Dirk Serries and Stratosphere and thanks for the beers. Next time they're on me.
Thursday - The Polish Party
Friday - The Consouling Clan
They were followed by Sounds Like the End Of The World, another brilliant act from Poland. This was vintage heavy post-rock, ideal for an early afternoon show. Once again, the sound was perfect and the whole thing was pretty damn immersive. This was about to become a great day.
At the main stage, Baikonur were about to make their European debut, and, much like every other band at that stage, they did a very decent job. Their narrative post-rock sounded familiar and adventurous and a lot of people seemed to enjoy the show. I don't need to tell you that we enjoyed them from outside again, do I?
At every festival there is at least one band we miss, and this year we missed Eleanora. Why? Well, post-hardcore simply isn't my dada. So I decided that this gig would be a great opportunity to socialize a bit, something every reviewer needs to do once in awhile. I'm sure I'll catch these guys later and I promise to give them the exposure they deserve. A review for their new album will be on this website soon, perhaps that review will be the debut of our newest writer, but more about that soon.
I could say that Her Name Is Calla was one of the worst acts on Dunk festival this year but that would be way too negative. After all, they weren't bad, no band on Dunk festival is bad. Perhaps it was that middle-of-the-festival fatigue that was coming up or perhaps it was the fact that the mainstage felt a bit one-sided on Friday, but this gig was not the blast I expected. It could also have been the heat.
In the other tent, Yodok III rolled over the audience like a massive bulldozer, delivering nothing less than an eargasm. Not bad for an act which is described as jazz, right? Then again, would you expect any less from Dirk Serries? I know I wouldn't. We'll be back on Dirk soon.
Yet, once again, the stargazer stage would top that, this time by the absolute highlight of this day. Josh Graham, a.k.a. IIVII was about to embark on a cosmic mission, inviting everyone to go with him. And what a beautiful set is was too, both musically and visually. I've witnessed this trip once before, then with some technical issues but today, IIVII was perfect. Top-shelf ambient and a stunning experience...
This Will Destroy You could not top that anymore, even though they delivered a solid set. We only watched a small part of their show, since there was not a lot to see on stage. While we went back to our bed, we could still hear most of it, becoming a nice soundtrack for a night walk.
Saturday - Highfliers and highlights
Another highlight came from I Am Waiting For You Last Summer, a Russian act that blends post rock with breakbeats and drum & bass. 'Is that possible', you might ask and believe me, it is and it sounds pretty damn awesome. Lots of people were dancing to this highly energetic blend of styles. I'm sure some of them imagined themselves being protagonists in some wild action movie. This was surely the most surprising act on this festival.
In between it was time for a stage debut, the very first performance from Collapse Under The Empire. Of course, everybody already knew that these guys made great music so the tent was quite filled. After all, this act has been around since 2009, they just didn't perform before. So how was their set? Well, it was simply great, exactly what you would expect from a band of this caliber. I think they have been practicing for this...
In the stargazer tent, Arms And Sleepers played their ten year anniversary show (or in their own words: "ten years of not getting famous") and plenty of people got on their feet to start a little dance. I tried too but my legs started laughing at me, telling me I shouldn't be dancing after three days of festivalling.
So it's not really a miracle that the tent was packed to capacity for this final explosion, and an explosion it was. This American trio rammed their massive riffs through our skulls with deadly precision and pummeling intensity. I'm sure this was the absolute highlight for most people in attendance. For me it surely was one of the highlights and a perfect apotheosis for another epic festival.