Live Review: Best Kept Secret Festival – Day 2, 20.6.15

Dutch festival Best Kept Secret continued today for its second day, following fantastic performances by The Libertines, The Jesus & Mary Chain and Circa Waves yesterday. All Things Loud is bringing you photo coverage of the whole weekend, as well as a deeper insight into each day’s proceedings. There’s a small delay in our Friday and Sunday coverage, so read on for a full insight to the Saturday.

The day, which was almost sold out, kicked off on the main stage with a mellow yet serene set from Australian band Little May. The all-female trio (accompanied by two extra live member) performed in front of an unfortunately sparse crowd, which was a given considering their first-on status. The lack of crowd didn’t deter the band from playing a strong set though, with their songs following in a similar vein to contemporaries First Aid Kit and The Staves. Set highlight Boardwalks featured sprawling guitars, whereas new single Home being the first indication as to how the trio’s new album will sound. A waspy synth line and jagged guitars underpin the demure-sounding track, Liz Drummond’s woozy vocals adding an extra, hypnotic sense of depth to the track. The band may have been on very early, but don’t expect that to be for much longer. Little May are going places, and it won’t be long before more tracks from their The National-produced debut album rattle your eardrums. Whilst Little May were giving people a calm start to the day on Stage ONE, Derbyshire duo God Damn were doing the exact opposite over on Stage FIVE (the smallest, most intimate venue at Best Kept Secret). Their 45-minute long set encompassed tracks from their recent debut album Vultures, a raw and gritty collection of songs encompassing heavy distortion, pounding drums and menacing vocals. Their set drew a disappointingly sparse crowd, yet those who were there definitely experienced the heaviest lunchtime set of their lives. The ghost of Death From Above 1979 seemed to lurk above guitarist Thom and drummer Ash’s head for the most part of their set, although definite hints of Drenge and DZ Deathrays also flew by. It wasn’t the most spellbinding set, yet the potential for more was definitely present.

The Best Kept Secret Festival site is split across five stages within the massive grounds of the Beekse Bergen safari park. It not only makes for picturesque viewing, but also for some amazing surroundings in and around the stages. The second largest stage, TWO, is a stone’s throw away from the beachside ONE, and is surrounded by beautiful tree’s and hammocks on either
side of its entrances. The first act to take to the stage here was the sharply dressed American singer songwriter Matthew E White, a man who you could consider the modern day saviour of blues rock. “Everybody likes to talk shit” he sings on the 12-bar blues progression of Rock & Roll is Cold, the standout track of his career thus far. It’s upbeat, happy pace and “oh na na” backing vocals make for extremely light listening as White muses about the dismal future of rock music to his heart’s content. He may think that “rock and roll has no soul”, but that’s definitely not the case once you leave his set. Dutch sextet Sue the Night followed back on ONE, pulling a considerably larger crowd as they slowly but surely prove themselves to be one of the best live bands in the country. Originally a Suus de Groot-bedroom project, Sue the Night have grown to become one of the biggest indie rock bands Holland has to offer, with debut album Mosaic getting people more than just talking. Their Best Kept Secret set was the first of two shows in one day, with the set closing on an energetic rendition of radio hit The Whale. Its Bruce Springsteen-esque guitars and catchy chorus got a majority of the crowd singing along, yet this track alone isn’t the only thing that makes the band stand out. Early track Top of Mind and anthemic Look Forward also generated a great response from the crowd, who flocked to ONE in their masses over the course of the set. It’s only upwards from here for these guys.

Following Sue the Night on ONE were Kettering psych quartet Temples, who are no strangers to Holland. Since their inception nearly two years ago, the band have played nearly ten shows on Dutch shores, ranging from sold out Paradiso shows to festival main stages. Their Best Kept Secret show was by far the biggest show that the James Bagshaw-fronted four-piece have played in Holland, with the crowd being double the size of that which turned out for Sue the Night. Two new songs featured, both of them showing that the band are staying on a similar path to that of debut album Sun Structures. The former, titled Volcano/Saviour, featured tone-shifting guitar breaks and eerie vocals from Bagshaw, with the latter, titled Henry’s Cake, based on a story of baking a cake for somebody’s funeral. Debut album cuts Keep in the Dark, Colours to Life and emphatic set closer Mesmerise also featured, yet the real highlight of the show was (and always will be) Ankh, an older B-Side. Its trippy-as-hell melody is one of the most infectious things you’ll hear all day and is guaranteed to be glued within the confines your skull for days to come. Temples are the new kings of psychedelia, and this is just the beginning. Once their 45-minute long set was done, it was up to the Liverpool-based Outfit to play a mid-afternoon set on Stage THREE. This tent is perhaps the most visually pleasing of them all, its curved white arch tops making way for two separate entrances from two different places onsite. Outfit’s set drew a small yet interested crowd, most of them there to hear cuts from new album Slowness, released last week. Set highlight Everything All the Time encompassed everything the band do well, in particular their ability to get people dancing. The basslines were infectious and the synths were buzzing, yet there still seemed to be something missing in their live set-up. New Air proved to be a popular track, starting off as a low key affair before building up over its course. We’re undoubtedly going to hear a lot more from Outfit over the next few months, and that’s definitely with good reason.

Icelandic collective Of Monsters & Men had one of the toughest jobs of the day – the mid afternoon set. This is the part of the day where people are either just arriving for the bigger acts, or are already tired because they’ve been exploring all afternoon. Luck was on the nine piece’s side this time round, though, with the sun breaking out just as their set began. It made for an extremely picturesque setting, especially as Stage ONE is situated next to the water. Of Monsters & Men’s new album Beneath the Skin came out earlier this year, with their hour-long set leaning heavily towards it. Lead single Crystals saw the band fully utilize their expanded live set-up (there are now nine people on stage) as pounding layers of percussion accompanied a vibrant cacophony of instruments. Set closer Little Talks received the best reception of the day, sending the Icelandic band home wholly satisfied with their well-received set. Noise rockers Cheatahs appeard on Stage FIVE at the same time, drawing in a larger crowd than God Damn did earlier in the day. Alternative rockers Death Cab for Cutie, who were programmed rather low down on the bill, absolutely packed out Stage TWO as they played three tracks from their most recently studio release, Kintsugi. Brooding lead single Black Sun swirled in and out of consciousness, before The Ghosts of Beverly Drive saw the band pick the pace up slightly with Radiohead-esque guitars. “If you let me be your skyline, I’ll let you be the wave” sang frontman Ben Gibbard as the band performed further tracks from across their 16-year back catalogue. Popular track I’ll Follow You Into the Dark didn’t feature, with the heaviest emphasis being placed on Kitsungi and 2005 release Plans. The tent was absolutely packed to the rafters as people from far and wide sang along happily, making it very clear that a band like Death Cab for Cutie shouldn’t have stayed away from Holland for as long as they did (almost four years to the day).

As evening approached, it was up to Belgian group Balthazar to get people warmed up for penultimate act The Vaccines and headliner Noel Gallagher. They last appeared at Best Kept Secret two years ago, peforming on Stage ONE yet again this time round. As the band took to the stage individually, they received a hero’s welcome from the packed field. Violinist Patricia Vanneste walked onstage first, signalling the beginning of Decency, taken from 2015’s Thin Walls. Comeback single Then What made for an extremely early highlight as the whole field sang along to its euphoric chorus. It proved early on that Balthazar are one of the most incendiary live bands in the Benelux, their live reputation having even earned them a slot at Glastonbury Festival later this month. Balthazar’s set peaked during the massive Fifteen Floors, a song which features unarguably the best ‘drop’-meets-melody you’re ever going to hear. “Firetruck always pretending, motherfucking Disney ending” sang the band in unison, before its breakdown section saw the whole crowd bounce up and down all at once. The Belgians are a household name in their homeland, and it won’t be long before that becomes the case just across the border. One band who don’t have to worry about becoming a household name are English shoegaze pioneers Ride, who followed over on Stage TWO. Partly comprised of former Oasis bassist Andy Bell and frontman Mark Gardner, the band are considered one of the biggest shoegaze names of the 90s. Their reunion last November was met with massive excitement from fans the world over, with their world tour now stopping off in Europe for a handful of festivals. Just as with Death Cab for Cutie, Ride absolutely packed the tent out as they opened their set with Leave Them All Behind, an eight minute long shoegaze epic held together by a buzzing synth lead. The guitars sprawled in and out of consciousness for the duration as Gardner’s vocals embraced the track with psychedelic sweetness and sincerity. Like a Daydream followed, before the one-two of Polar Bear and Seagull made for set highlights. The hour-long show closed on a massive rendition of Drive Blind, sending many people away from the tent with little-to-no hearing thanks to its overbearing use of feedback. Ride’s comeback has been going on now for a good seven months, and it doesn’t seem like an end is in sight.

Sub-headliners The Vaccines subsequently took to Stage ONE, performing a set which drew largely on the highlights of recent record English Graffiti. The Justin Young-fronted band, all dressed in matching black jackets, walked on stage and kicked straight into an energetic rendition of comeback single Handsome. “I got so down that I held the world to ransom” sang Young, before following track Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) saw the frontman take control of the microphone and run around stage as if his life depended on it. Crowdsurfers emerged all around and mini pits erupted near the barrier, with the quartet absolutely lapping up the crowd’s energy and channelling it back into their own performance. Recent single Dream Lover was every inch the live anthem as it is on record, yet it still had nothing on 2011’s Wetsuit. Wetsuit is The Vaccines’ flagship song, making for a set highlight wherever they go. Justin Young and co. are one of those bands who can only go in one direction – upwards. Give it a couple of years and you’ll see their name right at the top of the festival line up, because those are the heights that this band are made for. As the crowd filled up with expectant Oasis fans, many people headed in the direction of TWO for tent headliner A$ap Rocky. Although he was set to take to the stage at 9:45pm, it wasn’t until 10 that we got to witness any action from the Harlem rapper. Even once the show began, it was hard to spot Rocky as his two hype men ran across the stage commandeering the crowd. Rocky’s set was considerably energetic and filled with fantastic visuals (which also adorned the two stageside DJ decks), yet the same high quality couldn’t be said about his actual performance. Standout track Fuckin’ Problems received the biggest reception of the evening, yet it was nearly not enough to make his set memorable. The crowd also picked up on this, with the tent emptying rather quickly as people made their way towards ONE for Saturday headliner Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Noel and his High Flying Birds took to the stage just after 10:45pm an absolutely packed out field of people who sang their hearts out for the duration of Gallagher’s short, hour-long headline set. His live band took to the stage one by one with Noel in tow as they kicked into Everybody’s On the Run, the emphatic album opener from 2011’s self-titled debut album. Noel’s band were on top form, with two brass players also appearing and subsequently adding extra layers to each song. Gallagher himself was considerably quiet, seldom speaking to the crowd. “You can’t fight the feeling” sang Gallagher during the opening song, his voice almost entirely drowned out by the crowd. “Hang in there love, you’ve gotta hold on” he sang during the chorus, before Lock All the Doors kicked some pace into the show. Noel’s most recent studio album Chasing Yesterday was leant on heavily, yet comeback single The Ballad of the Mighty I unfortunately didn’t even get a look-in. Five Oasis songs did make their way into the set, though, including early renditions of Fade Away and Champagne Supernova. Old singles Dream On and If I Had a Gun made for two of the high points of the set, yet the best moments in the set came during the final four songs. Of these four songs, three of them were Oasis originals. B-Side Digsy’s Dinner preceded a raucous The Masterplan, which made way for a massive rendition of Noel’s own AKA…What a Life! An extremely euphoric Don’t Look Back in Anger brought the whole show to a massive end, with the whole crowd singing along louder than ever before during the huge chorus. Whether or not Oasis will get back together will always remain an important question, yet for now it seems as though many people are rather contempt with seeing Noel make a nice balance between his solo work and the music which put his name on the map. Do we even need an Oasis reunion when Noel has such a strong back catalogue? Probably not.

Day three of Best Kept Secret continues with sets from Alt J, Royal Blood and Future Islands. Click here and here for more pictures from Best Kept Secret 2015.