Whilst 17,000 festivalgoers recovered from three days’ worth of uninterrupted revelry, we’ve taken a good solid look back on Paaspop 2016 and selected the 20 best performances. From ear-shattering metal to lilting indietronica, the Paaspop line-up was full of so much variety that it almost seemed like three festivals came together at once.
20. Monster Magnet
Monster Magnet’s set in Schijndel on Sunday was filled with classic sludge metal which spanned a majority of the quartet’s A&M Years, a period which took place between 1993 and 2001. The New Jersey rockers may have pulled a sparse crowd, but their hour-long set still managed to keep a solid set of old fans headbanging to their hearts’ content.
19. Battle Beast
What we said: “Finnish heavy metal outfit Battle Beast had the hard task of impressing an extremely sparse crowd in the Thunderbolt just after 4pm, yet this didn’t deter the Noora Louhimo-fronted quintet from pulling out all the stops with their generic range of classic heavy metal. There were hints of 80s glam rock thrown in and amongst the controlled chaos, however it just wasn’t enough to impress. The stage itself, though, was perfectly suited to a band of this calibre.”
18. John Coffey
What we said: “One band who definitely do know how to pack out a tent are Dutch hardcore rockers John Coffey, who have had an absolutely massive twelve months. The hype is clearly still there for David Achter de Molen and co., with new EP A House for Thee being the main focus during their hour-long, chaotic set. From absolutely huge circle pits to the demand for people to swap clothes, John Coffey know how to work a crowd like no other. Set highlight Romans made for huge swathes of crowdsurfers, with security hardly able to keep up. It’s inevitable that John Coffey are well on their way to becoming Holland’s biggest ever rock export.”
17. Son Mieux
Den Haag indie poppers Son Mieux performed a 45-minute set on the Jack Daniel’s Stage which pulled a relatively large crowd. With only two songs to their name, the live outfit (who are centred on frontman Camiel Meiresonne) performed a handful of tracks from an as-yet-untitled debut release. There’s definitely plenty of potential in there, but Meiresonne and co. definitely have a long way to go to fully realize it.
What we said: “Californian garage rockers Meatbodies took to the stage and showed everyone how real Americans get things done, almost as if they were sent down by the modern day god of sludge, Ty Segall.”
15. Espana Circo Este
There’s only one word which can properly describe Espana Circo Este’s performance in the Restolounge on Sunday evening: party. The Argentinian/Italian outfit drew in elements of mestizo, gypsy punk and classic Catalan rhythms during their energetic set, one which sparked plenty of crowd interaction from a crowd full of fun-loving Dutch people.
14. The Jacques
What we said: “Bristol quartet The Jacques performed a musically tight set in front of a half-full tent, something which frontman Finn Jacque made note of during his rather unenthusiastic between-song musings. “Thanks for doing whatever you did out there” declared the uninterested looking guitarist ahead of standout track The Artful Dodger, a song which is perfectly suited to indie disco’s the world over. They may not have amassed a massive following, but it doesn’t look like this will be an unlikely occurrence in the future.”
13. Golden Earring
What we said: “Golden Earring proved why they too were once the biggest band in Holland by pulling off a 90-minute greatest hits set in front of some 6,000 people. The Den Haag quartet’s set featured the likes of mega hits Twilight Zone and When the Lady Smiles, both of which were absolute smash tracks back in the band’s heyday. They still pack just as much punch as they did back in the day, even if their newer output isn’t as renowned as what they used to put out.”
Walking onstage to the full, uninterrupted Champions Leage theme tune, Norwegian sextet Kakkmaddafakka instantly made it clear that they were here to have fun and not take things too seriously. Their light, indie pop was all the right shades of happiness and really drew people in on what was otherwise an extremely dreary day.
What we said: “Despite honestly pulling off one of the day’s heaviest and most memorable performances, it clearly wasn’t enough for the religious rockers to pack out the quarter-filled Phoenix. Dressed in full-on gothic garments and white face make-up, Powerwolf are a poor man’s Ghost with music ten times heavier.”
10. St Tropez
What we said: “Den Haag outfit St. Tropez (previously known as Go Back to the Zoo) followed them up, showing the near-full tent how garage rock should be done. Employing hints of sunny, Californian sludge and punk, St. Tropez seemed like a breath of fresh air in a Dutch music scene which is currently any one of the following three things: 1) summery pop (Jett Rebel et al), 2) dark indietronica (HAEVN et al) and 3) dull singer-songwriter music (hi, Ilse DeLange and Douwe Bob).”
9. Hollywood Undead
What we said: “Over on the Phoenix Stage, crowds appeared in their droves for an evening of upbeat rock from all walks of life. Hollywood Undead performed a career-spanning hour-long set during the early evening, with the mask-clad sextet opening their set with the powerful one-two of Usual Suspects and massive hit Undead. The latter, as with most of their tracks, encompassed hints of nu-metal, electronica and hard rock, a combination which was deemed ground-breaking during the band’s 2000s heyday. The likes of Party By Myself and set closer Hear Me Now were two further highlights in the show, proving to Paaspop that, however unorthodox the booking, Hollywood Undead are a band still worth taking somewhat seriously.”
8. Larry Gus
There are no words which can describe Larry Gus’ absolutely mental, (presumably) drug-addled shows on Sunday. From his chaotic Roxy set in the afternoon to his early evening Thunder Alley session, the Greek artist did not stop for one minute to refrain himself (and the crowd) from having a good time.
7. My Baby
What we said: “Back in the Phoenix, Dutch/New Zealand outfit MY BABY incited a shamanic ritual over the course of their chaotic 60-minute set. Frontwoman Cato van Dijck has an absolute killer voice, with her accompanying band (brother Joost and guitarist Daniel Johnston) keeping the pace going at a constant, progressive rate for the whole set. MY BABY pulled off one of Saturday’s stand-out performances, showing Schijndel that you don’t need a seven-piece band and a whole load of extra’s to make the show exciting (take note, Jess Glynne).”
6. Birth of Joy
Birth of Joy are a band who never fail to impress. Their set at Paaspop was an hour of uninterrupted, in-your-face blues rock worthy of destroying the sweatiest rooms in countries all across the world. You don’t even need to put too many words together to describe their set, because the music should be more than capable of doing the talking.
5. De Staat
What we said: “Over in the Phoenix tent, De Staat performed a show of colossal standards, so much so that it took most people over half an hour to even enter the tent. New album O is one of the best albums released by a Dutch band in a while, with their live show further accompanied by a visuals screen. The pulsating Make Way for the Passenger was a late highlight in the show, before a bouncy Sweatshop led into set closer Witch Doctor. Just like its viral-hit video, menacing frontman Torre Florim jumped into the crowd and summoned a massive circle pit to commence around him. It was absolute chaos, leaving the floor in tatters as a figurative herd of Elephants stamped across it to Witch Doctor’s hard and heavy beats. De Staat are soon to become Holland’s biggest band, without a doubt.”
What we said: “The Dutch singer-songwriter Lakshmi opened the day on the Jack Daniel’s Stage, with her set accompanied by her live band and a small selection of string players. Just like with their live session (sans string players) later that day, Lakshmi pulled off an extremely exciting set filled with slight hints of dark indietronica and rock. Lakshmi are definitely a band to look out for, something which 3fm Megahit Champagne demonstrated in particular.”
3. Throes + the Shine
What we said: “One of these bands was Portugal & Angola’s very own Throes & the Shine, who embraced summer vibes for their eclectic mix of party rock, salsa and African dance rhythms. The four-piece, who all wore colour-coordinated outfits which matched their music, initially took to an empty tent, with the show ending in front of an extremely full tent. It wasn’t jam-packed, but the overall sense of party vibes and euphoria echoed throughout the whole room. The two frontmen spent plenty of time running around the crowd, energetically pulling off the likes of Batida’s funky percussion rhythms and Tuyeto Mukina’s party atmosphere. Towards the end, the quartet successfully orchestrated a sit-down which (almost) everyone took part in, before taking a massive crowd selfie as everyone pushed forward. As mid-afternoon sets go, Throes & the Shine definitely ensured that not a single soul remained static during their 45-minute long set.”
What we said: “Although Refused’s set was attended extremely poorly (the tent was roughly half-full), something which frontman Dennis Lyxzén laughed about with hints of subtlety. Despite the poor turn-out, though, Refused made the most of what was at their disposal and subsequently tore the Phoenix to figurative shreds. At times, Lyxzén was diving in and out of the crowd as his band ripped through an hour of fine-as-hell hardcore. Set highlight New Noise (taken from 1998’s The Shape of Punk to Come) made for a huge circle pit, and was preceded by an inspiring speech from Lyxzén. He spoke of wanting to make a difference in the world, asking if the crowd if they “wanted to be that change”. Performing on a stage bathed in strobes and smoke, it was often hard to make out the band, something which added to the mysterious attraction of their whole show. Refused performed one of the best sets of the weekend, absolutely refusing (pun unintended) to be bothered by the poor turn-out to their show head-on.”
1. Enter Shikari
What we said: “Following De Staat on the same stage were St Albans’ quartet Enter Shikari, a band who are able to guarantee absolute carnage wherever they go. Paaspop was no different, with their visuals-heavy set making for the most spellbinding show of the weekend so far. Just like their show at Lowlands last year, the Rou Reynolds-fronted band left nothing in their destructive path as they performed a career-spanning set. Opening on a reworked version of debut album track Enter Shikari, the four-piece instantly kicked into the track which made it all happen – Sorry, You’re Not a Winner. “Let’s go back to where it all began” declared Reynolds beforehand as he descended into the crowd and broke the stage in the process. Accompanied by a visuals screen, Shikari did nothing other than slay Schijndel for a full hour. Older cuts No Sleep Tonight and The Jester appeared in passing to the delight of manic fans down the front, before newer tracks Slipshod, The One True Colour and The Last Garrison presented themselves as true musical and visual masterpieces. Guitarist Rory Clewlow spent the end of the show in the crowd atop a wooden crate as fans held him up, with the band behind him pulling off Reso’s recent remix of bouncy single Anaesthetist. Enter Shikari cause carnage wherever they go, and Paaspop was no different.”
Paaspop 2017 will take place on 14, 15 and 16 April 2017.
(All pictures, save for John Coffey and Hollywood Undead, courtesy of Lotte Schrander)