With festival season just around the corner, there are certainly a lot of things worth getting excited about. The first noteworthy festival in the Dutch festival calendar is Rotterdam’s very own Motel Mozaique, an eclectic mixture of music, arts, dance and culture. Spanning various venues within the centre of Rotterdam over two days, Motel Mozaique always manages to attract an interesting selection of alternative artists. In 2014 alone, the likes of electro-funk duo Jungle, psychedelic rockers Temples and massive singer songwriter George Ezra all appeared at the festival. This year sees an equally exciting line-up descend on Rotterdam, the highlights of which we have lined up for you alongside some pictures from Motel Mozaique 2014.
The first day of Motel Mozaique, which is located in and around Rotterdam’s Schouwburgplein, has a wide range of both national and international artists appearing. The first day starts off with four live sessions, set to take place in the Kornuit tent on the Schouwburgplein, with the official festival opening squeezed in and amongst that. Once the festival itself actually kicks off, you’ll most likely be rushed off of your feet running back and forth between venues to catch parts of bands and then nab a bit of another one. The clashes are unbearable, yet you come to expect that with a strong line-up. Our first recommendation of the evening, though, comes in the shape of Belgian alternative indie group BRNS (De Gouvernestraat 1, 20:30-21:30), whose danceable range of indie rock and grooved vibes will surely get the whole venue dancing in a similair vein to what Jungle did last year. Not too long after BRNS wrap up their set at the Gouvernestraat venue, upbeat synthpop quintet Nimmo (Rotown, 21:45-22:30) will play Rotterdam’s legendary Rotown as they slowly but surely make a name for themselves on the back of well-received track Jaded. It’s by no means anything you haven’t heard before, but it won’t be too long before you start to hear it everywhere. Just like with George Ezra’s set last year, catch Nimmo before they break loose into the mainstream. Clashing with Nimmo over in the Kornuit tent on the Schouwburgplein are the eight brothers in Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Kornuit, 22:00-23:00). With a vast back catalogue to pick from, the octet look set to bring the party to Rotterdam during their hour-long show. Their show is followed swiftly by that of American Americana-folk quartet The Districts (Rotown, 23:15-00:15) back at the Rotown. Having just released their hotly anticipated, indie folk-flecked album A Flourish and a Spoil, The Districts are slowly becoming a mainstay on festival posters and radio playlists as they take on a rockier edge to Mumford & Sons’ trademark folk style.
Temples, Motel Mozaique 2014, 3voor12 Live Session
Dutch soul singer Kovacs (Schouwburg Grote Zaal, 00:00-01:00) follows the band over in the Schouwburg Theatre’s main room as she performs songs from critically acclaimed debut album Shades of Black, which features Diggin’, one of the best songs released so far this year. Our final recommendation of the Friday comes in the form of hardcore punks Bad Breeding (Rotown, 01:00-01:45), whose raw and ragged mixture of angst and thrashed instrumentation sees them join the ranks of fellow Motel Mozaique alumni Eagulls, who tore up the Rotown in 2014 in (likely) similair fashion to what Bad Breeding will do next week. If you like your punk angsty and hardcore, Bad Breeding is definitely for you. In fact, there’s something for everyone at Motel Mozaique – so much so that it doesn’t even finish until 6am when Dollkraut (Cultuurpodium Perron, 05:00-06:00) plays the third of three planned sets at Cultuurpodium Perron, a stone’s throw away from Central Station. If you like your breakfast to be accompanied by ringing ears and a lack of energy, then we suggest you spend the night at Perron before getting some good sleep as service resumes on Saturday afternoon.
Gardens & Villa, Motel Mozaique 2014
Just like with the Friday, the Saturday starts off with a selection of live sessions (all of which are being filmed for 3voor12), as well as the “now legendary” Subbacultcha! Day Party, which takes place at De Baja from 13:00 onwards. The music itself officially kicks off at 17:00, when folk trio The Staves (Schouwburg Grote Zaal, 17:00-18:00) take to the stage of the Schouwburg Theatre, which doubles up as the largest venue of the weekend. The trio’s sweet, harmony-tainted folk is the perfect start to the festival day, well-suited to those nursing hangovers or people who simply need a dosage of far-better-than-average folk. Dutch post-punk rockers Rats on Rafts (Kornuit, 18:30-19:30) follow in the Kornuit tent not too long after to get the party well and truly started, their ramshackle post-punk set to destroy eardrums and tear a new hole in the ground. Following Rats on Rafts back in the main hall of
the Schouwburg Theatre is The Notwist (Schouwburg Grote Zaal, 20:00-21:00), an alternative indie rock band from Germany who go way back, having formed in 1989. They’re considered to be cult legends, which makes their set all the more worth circling on your planner as you make your way through the busy streets of Rotterdam. There are twelve participating music venues on the Saturday, which means that, even if you have to walk a lot, that there’s definitely a lot worth seeing. One of these venues is the well-known Rotown, who will play host to BC Camplight (Rotown, 21:00-21:45) in the evening. Debut album How to Die in the North encompasses layered pieces of art which tread upon psychedelic pop and harmonic indie as much as they do grandiose rock and subtle balladry. Album highlight Thieves in Antigua is all steel drums and happiness, and it may be one of the best songs of the year.
Eagulls, Motel Mozaique 2014, 3voor12 Live Session
Following BC Camplight over in the Kornuit is Arcade Fire’s multi-instrumentalist wonderkid Will Butler (Kornuit, 22:00-23:00), set to play songs from his fantastic debut album Policy as well as songs he wrote for The Guardian’s week-long “a song a day” project. It’ll be weird to see Butler displaced from the musical behemoth that is Arcade Fire, yet it’ll also be very interesting to see how he copes with performing solo. If Butler doesn’t float your boat, then raw indie rockers Menace Beach (Rotown, 22:30-23:15) will be playing an energetic set at the Rotown, before vocalist Shannon Saunders (De Gouvernestraat 1, 00:00-01:00) performs her synthpop at the Gouvernestraat. At the same time as Saunders’ set, Canadian-duo Purity Ring (Schouwburg Grote Zaal, 00:00-01:00) will play a visual-heavy show at the Schouwburg Theatre on the back off their recent second album Another Eternity. Just as the music rounds up, the partying doesn’t finish though – DJ collective Dave Grohl & the Topless DJs will be spinning your favourite alternative tracks at the Rotown from 00:45 until 04:00.
Alongside all the music, Motel Mozaique also offers a wide range of exciting dance, arts and culture. This includes the likes of the theatrical Thomas Dudkiewicz (Gouvernestraat 2, Friday evening), Dutch pop-art legend Woody van Amen (TENT, Friday) and creative performer Jan Martens (Gouvernestraat 2, Saturday). If you’re going to Motel Mozaique or planning on buying a ticket, you can access our Spotify playlist here, and check out the full line-up here.