Where Down the Rabbit Hole’s Saturday presented some 25,000 visitors with a somewhat musical dip, it was up to Sunday’s closing day to provide Beuningen with an absolute day to remember. And boy did they do that, with the festival’s final day featuring show-stopping sets by the likes of Temples, The Avalanches and Spoon. And that’s not including De Staat’s secret show, nor Oscar & the Wolf’s visually spectacular headline set.
Maryland vocalist Maggie Rogers opened the day on the Teddy Widder stage, proving an early highlight with her sickly sweet voice and eye-catching dance moves. Donning an outfit somewhat reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s Regine Chassagne, Rogers took to the stage in support of new EP Now That the Light is Fading, which is purported to be a precursor for her as-yet-untitled third studio album. Early set highlight Dog Years injected some tender emotion into the show, one which saw the 23 year old pull a decently sized crowd. Down the Rabbit Hole’s final day was all about small and new surprises, amongst them native New Yorker Hamilton Leithauser, whose blend of indie, folk and country sparked a large crowd at the tiny Fuzzy Lop stage. Leithauser and his Texas-based band put out new album I Had a Dream That You Were Mine last year together with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam, leaning heavily towards it for the duration of the show. His set turned out to be more than just a bit of early-day filler; rather, it was an exciting example of what today’s future headliners may look like in the coming years. One band who have spent quite some time building up momentum is the Australian sampling machine we refer to as The Avalanches. Seminal studio album Since I Left You dates back all the way to 2000, with its equally intriguing and ground-breaking follow-up Wildflower seeing the light of day last summer. Live, The Avalanches transform their sample-led tracks into a party fit for all by incorporating vocal appearances by MC Spank Rock and vocalist Eliza Wolfgramm, both of whom accompany core members Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi with effortless ease. Set opener Because I’m Me demonstrated the best aspects of the band in one doo-wop themed track as Spank Rock ensured that nobody stood still, not even for a minute. Classic tracks Since I Left You and Frontier Psychiatrist made for the biggest responses, especially for an act whose appearances on Dutch soil have been few and far between.
Kettering psych outfit (and modern day cult heroes) Temples took new album Volcano to a decently-filled Hotot for a mid-afternoon set which ticked all of the right boxes. Set opener All Join In incited the psychedelic heavens to erupt, with technical issues not stopping frontman James Bagshaw from giving it his all as the band powered into early cut Colours to Life. It must be admitted that the band’s live show has seen better days, but that looks like something which can be attributed more to the sparse and relaxed crowd than the band themselves. Texas outfit Spoon rocked the Teddy Widder not too soon after, bringing some victorious rock’n’roll to Beuningen for a solid hour of uninterrupted anthems, riffs and grooves. Frontman Britt Daniel knows how to control a crowd, and he did so with little difficulty for the duration of his band’s set. Another band who have become no strangers to controlling a crowd, despite their young age, are The Lemon Twigs. Brotherly duo Brian and Michael D’Addario bounce off each other like no other sibling team, with debut album Do Hollywood throwing things back to the golden days of the 60s and 70s. Early highlight These Words saw lilting keys (courtesy of Danny Ayala) and rhythmic bass (courtesy of Megan Zeankowski) combine to form a solid part of the Twigs’ coherent whole, with a handful of new songs from their upcoming EP also popping up throughout the set. There’s no doubt that the D’Addario brothers are two of music’s modern day maestro’s, so here’s hoping that we hear from them as time goes by and as these young lads mature into fully-fledged artists.
If there’s one thing that Down the Rabbit Hole’s final day made sure of, then it was the abundance of party moments across the board. Long Island rappers De La Soul brought their huge live band to the Hotot for a celebration of everything good about rap and hip-hop, with the collective making good use of headliner Oscar & the Wolf’s catwalk as they descended into the crowd on various occasions to pit left and right against one another in a loudness war. There’s very little about De La Soul that you could dislike, regardless of how hard you try. One artist who some people may have more ease in disliking is Father John Misty, who took to the Teddy Widder later on. New album Pure Comedy is equal parts laid-back, serene and pretentious, three things which we’ve come to expect from Misty (real name Josh Tillman) in the past. His set drew a relatively full crowd, one who wasn’t aware of De Staat’s absolutely chaotic secret set just two minutes down the path. Torre Florim and co. have been considered by many as Down the Rabbit Hole’s very own house band, making some sort of appearance on and offstage every year. This year, they were onstage as they took to a manically packed Vurige Veld to rock the smallest stage on the whole festival site. The stage shook from left to right during set opener Witch Doctor, which demonstrated De Staat’s ability to cause carnage everywhere they go. Belgian vocalist Oscar & the Wolf closed out the festival with a set which didn’t shy away from utilizing a massive production, enabling frontman and mastermind Max Colombie to strut his stuff in front of a Hotot so packed that there were people dancing and screaming as far as the eye can see. Compared to last year’s lacklustre Anohni finale, Oscar & the Wolf really presented themselves as the perfect headliner. The sky is the limit for Colombie and his live band, who look like they can’t be stopped. Down the Rabbit Hole subsequently came to an end by means of some fun-filled afterparties and night-time swims, proving once more that there’s something for everyone in Beuningen.
Down the Rabbit Hole will return in 2018.