Eurosonic Noorderslag 2018: The All Things Loud Top 20

And with that, Eurosonic Noorderslag 2018 has come to an end. The performances have been and gone, the delegates have flown home and the hangovers have (almost) been nursed, which means it’s high time to reflect and look back on the best sets of the weekend. Here are our thoughts on Eurosonic Noorderslag’s twenty best sets.


What we said: “While pop vocalist MAAN took on the Kleine Zaal, and while Mooon packed out the Marathonzaal, it was up to The Overslept to give the venue entry hall its first big set of the night. The pop-punk outfit are one of 3fm’s emerging talents, and they’ve utilized this honour to boost the presence of alternative music within the Dutch musical climate. And they seem to do it well, because the crowd absolutely lapped up their catchy and energetic pop-punk cuts. 2018 is going to be a big year for The Overslept, so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of them.




What we said: “Another Dutch artist whose international appeal somewhat trumps her national presence is bedroom pop vocalist Naaz, whose soulful voice soared through the entry hall as she proved exactly why the hype surrounding her first demo was so worth it.


What we said: “Away from the glitter and confetti of the Popprijs, Dutch/Turkish outfit Altin Gün pulled off one of the night’s best performances. The project, founded by Jacco Gardner’s bassist Jasper Verhulst, sees a mix of Dutch and Turkish musicians come together to perform a quirky brand of psychedelia-infused Turkish folk. Popular single Goça Dunya stood out, something which shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider the addictive nature of its funk-laden grooves and percussion.”




What we said: “Swedish duo Pale Honey followed them in Huize Maas’ front room with a set that highlighted their musical tightness and Tuva Lodmark’s impressive vocals. Their cover of ABBA’s Lay All Your Love Me is one of the more intriguing takes on one of Sweden’s hottest exports, demonstrating the pair’s ability to take a cheesy 80s pop smash and transform it into a dark, sultry slow-burner.”




What we said: “One of the evening’s biggest draws, MY BABY, didn’t need much introduction as they entranced Groningen with their irresistible mix of funk-infused psychedelic blues. Frontwoman Cato van Dyck (an absolute beast on guitar) is one of the nation’s strongest, and paired with her bandmates Joost van Dyck and New Zealand’s Daniel Johnston she fronts an absolutely wonderful project. It thus shouldn’t come as a surprise that the likes of Glastonbury Festival have snapped them for appearances in the past, because it’s big events like these which MY BABY are made for.”




What we said: “With so much going on elsewhere, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that the intriguingly morbid Charlie & the Lesbians had been handed the graveyard shift set in the sparse Marathonzaal. Not that this stopped frontman Charlie Hoeben and his band from going all out, though, because as time passed their set only got better.”




What we said: “The truly international, EBBA Award winning Alice Merton kicked off proceedings over at Huize Maas later that evening, packing out the room as executives from some of Europe’s biggest festivals watched on. Merton’s backstory involves multiple countries and nationalities, and hit track No Roots is testament to this global appeal which she executes so well. Alice Merton is the kind of artist who you’d expect to be seeing on bigger and bigger stages year upon year, so don’t be all too surprised if you can’t get her irresistible bangers out of your head.”




What we said: “Hard rockers Tusky brought a necessary dose of high-voltage punk rock to the table not too soon after that, with former John Coffey guitarist Alfred van Luttikhuizen taking on vocal duties as his former bandmate David Achter de Molen watched on in the crowd. Early single Folly hits as hard as is humanly possible, with the band later on inviting one fan to the stage to partake in a beer-fuelled stagedive. It’s only early days, but Tusky are here to show you that heavy music is back on the way up.”




What we said: “London’s Husky Loops followed them, taking to the pitch black stage and remaining largely away from the light for the duration of their intense set. From the moment the first lasers directed themselves towards an absolutely jam-packed room, it seemed as if absolutely nothing could go wrong; and it didn’t. Husky Loops may well be the discovery of the festival.”




What we said: “Over in the Vera at the supposed graveyard shift time of 1:15am, Cardiff grime/nu-metallers Astroid Boys performed their first show of the year in exquisite fashion, giving the full room something to mosh to as they demonstrated exactly why it’s worth getting even more excited about grime and its respective offshoots in 2018. Set highlights Foreigners and Dusted seemed to do the job for the quintet, so much so that the line to get into the legendary club stretched out all the way down the street. Good job for a band whose appearances on Dutch soil have been few and far between.”




What we said: “Austrian trio NIHILS didn’t find themselves being one of the week’s hottest tips, but based on their enigmatic performance and large Mutua Fides crowd, you could assume that they just laid down the building blocks for a big career. Gloomy synth lines and pulsating percussive stabs found themselves littered throughout the set, strategically placed in and amongst Ramon Riezouw’s vocals. It thus shouldn’t come as a surprise that their remix of own track Help Our Souls has been streamed tens of millions of times. Still, though, it didn’t seem like a big enough milestone for the Mutua Fides stage host to mispronounce the track name in hilarious fashion.”




What we said: “The same applies to Amsterdam’s brand new TRAUDES, whose schizophrenic blend of indie funk, RnB and rap works even better in practice than it looks on paper. Frontman Benjamin Traudes and his band carry a sense of unrivalled energy with them wherever they go, something you’ll probably be able to gauge after one play of debut single Back Down. “I’ll tell the cops to come, be ready now” sings Traudes on the aforementioned with the swagger of Bruno Mars and Eminem’s love child. It’s a good combination, honest.”




What we said: “Fellow Scandinavians Velvet Volume followed swiftly, with their brand of raw and manic indie punk bordering metal-infused boundaries at best. Heavy riffs and pulsating rhythms formed the backbone of their set, which saw an early peak in popular single Look Look Look!




What we said: “Danish punks Iceage took to the city’s legendary Vera not too long after Sigrid’s show came to an end, with the somewhat seasoned veterans presenting Groningen with a somewhat jarring and captivating performance. Their music is far from benevolent; rather, it’s vicious, frenetic and plain mad. From jangly guitars to a curious mix of violin and sax, Iceage pulled off everything you didn’t expect them to do.




What we said: “The aforementioned Zeal & Ardor closed out the night in a sweaty Huize Maas, with Manuel Gagneux’s extremely unique blend of blues and black metal proving a success as the crowd watched on in utter, jaw-dropping awe. Accompanied by a live band and two male vocalists, all of whom were draped in black hoodies, Zeal & Ardor demonstrated exactly why the hype factor surrounding their music is so high. Early cut Come on Down saw strobes flicker at rapid pace, before Devil is Fine helped the set reach a crashing end. Tonight, Gagneux and his band will perform a second show at Eurosonic, and it’s sure to be just as much of a success as the first one.”




What we said: “The Megan de Klerk-helmed EUT subsequently took on the entry hall as the evening careered towards an end, tearing the room a new one in the process with their amusing brand of britpop and indie rock. De Klerk’s sickly sweet vocals are the perfect accompaniment to this somewhat quirky sound, meaning that their 3fm emerging talent nod is well within expectation. Standout track Supplies is one of the best tracks of 2017, bearing a chorus so catchy that you’ll have it stuck in your head for days on end.”




What we said: “London trio Arcane Roots kicked off proceedings on the Huize Maas main stage, utilizing their unique blend of atmospheric post-rock and heavy metal to full effect as they impressed a near-full room. Set opener Off the Floor instantly set the tone, with the riff-heavy Matter only taking things to the next level. Arcane Roots’ stunning set climaxed with a manic rendition of Curtains.”




What we said: “EBBA Award winner Sigrid took to the Stadsschouwburg just shy of 11pm, celebrating her fresh Public’s Choice victory with a set which ticked all the right boxes. Sigrid is the perfect popstar, and if tracks like Strangers are anything to go by then you can expect her to take over the world over the course of the next twelve months.




What we said: “Electro pop collective Superorganism kicked off the evening at the Machinefabriek, with the period before their set spawning a queue which stretched all around the block and back into the centre. And quite rightly so, because there is something extremely special about this unique septet. Frontwoman Orono’s sickly sweet vocals, accompanied by three backing vocals and a tight live band, spearheaded the night alongside her dry wit and humour. Superorganism are the kind of band who tick all the right boxes, whether it be musically or visually. Set opener It’s All Good kicked off proceedings in a captivating manner, with the set’s peak coming in the form of unreleased track SPRORGNSM, taken from their upcoming self-titled debut. “I wanna be a superorganism” repeat the band’s trio of backing vocalists, with wispy beats and a lilting guitar line giving the track that little bit extra. Set closer Something For Your M.I.N.D., the track which gifted them with their breakthrough last year, served as a memorable moment in a set full of quirky surprises. If this isn’t Superorganism’s year, then something is definitely wrong.”




What we said: “Over in the legendary Vera, London’s HMLTD performed a set which almost seemed as if it wouldn’t go through. Earlier that day, the six-piece shared that all flights to and from Amsterdam had been cancelled, with the band in desperate need of an alternative to make it to Groningen on time. Luckily, their flight made it in the end and the band took to the stage to prove exactly why they’re one of London’s hottest. Set opener Is This What You Wantedincorporated some 80s drum patterns and sultry vocals, before the Western-tinged To the Door proved that HMLTD are worth every inch of attention they can get. A battering ram by the name of Stained proved a highlight, although this word should really be reserved for the frenetic and schizophrenic Kinkaku-Ji, which flittered in all directions like a storm under little control.”



Eurosonic Noorderslag returns in 2019. Click here for all of our 2018 coverage.