Crossing Border Festival, Den Haag - BRMC, SFA, Fink and i LIKETRAINS
The Hague Travel Blog› entry 38 of 61 › view all entries
Once again, it's going to be a tough entry to make make sense. OMG, OMG, LOL, etc.
Crossing Border is a festival held annually in Den Haag. It is mainly a literature festival, but they have a lot of bands play, links to visual arts events, interviews with some of the stars, and all sorts of other events. This is my first year here, but I'd definately cross the channel for it again if I could. I really regret that I only went to one day. I really enjoyed it, despite a slow start that you often get at festivals.
I had every intention of going to Den Haag early enough to do some shopping, but in the end I had to tidy the flat and then I had a little sit down that turned into a long nap, so I just had time to look in a few shops in the centre before closing time.
The Festival shows the common sense to queues that I am coming to expect from the Dutch. Whilst doors weren't until 18.30, the places where you changed your ticket for a wrist band were open slightly earlier, and once the doors opened there was nothing else for the security guys (who were friendly, helpful, and generally pretty good) to check as long as you walked past them with your wrist showing. The cloakroom was free. The venue was warm. I was happy.
The one minor niggle about the event initially is that nothing was signposted well. There were just two cartoons of a little man climbing the stairs once for some rooms and twice for others. It took some serious wandering around to find that the rooms that looked like they were just up the stairs were actually on the other side of the theatre. Minor stuff, though.
The first act I saw was F*ck De Writer, without the little star, which is in to evade firewalls. I am not entirely sure if he is for real or a very clever postmodern joke. There were a few songs where he was helped out by a girl with a pleasant voice for some passable pop country, and then he got all earnest. One song, which felt like it was several eternities long, included the phrase "when the apocalypse comes I'll be laughing" at least eight times and had a several minute bridge consisting of the words "sing another awful song" - how I wish I was exaggerating - which is why I wonder if he is an ironic joke, or a man with no sense whatsoever of irony at all.
There was no-one else I wanted to see for another couple of hours. I read the blurb about i LIKE TRAINS (not a typo - that's how they write it) and the blurb about Buffalo Tom, who were playing in the other building, and went to see the latter, got bored, and left again. Which is when things got really good.
The guy from Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club (BRMC from now on) was in the lobby doing a live version of Chelsea Hotel by Leanard Cohen and it was amazing. There were about 20 of us and I was a couple of metres from him.
SFA were great. Really great. They wore strange clothes, Gryff walked through the crowd in a power rangers helmet that made it look like he was singing out of his eyes, at one point used the chewing noise from biting some carrots as an instrument then spat it all over the stage, and played the man don't give a... which is one of my fave songs ever ever. Wow, thought I, that was good. I need another Biertje to recover, though, because I was the only one bouncing up and down properly and it is hard work being the only person having that much fun. How can that get better?
Then I watched iLIKE TRAINS in the lobby, and almost regretted not seeing them properly earlier until I remembered that that would have meant missing BRMC guy doing the unplugged bit.
BRMC absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, totally, rocked. They rocked like people who had just discovered that rock causes world peace. They gave the impression that every single note was being channeled through them from... Stop it, Sarah, calm down. They were as good as Arcade Fire, after a few initial mic problems were fixed, and I am so pure, totally in awe of the guy from the foyer (I don''t know their names, I'm a recent convert, OK?) that I am developing a ridiculous post adolescent rockstarcrush. Aint no easy way... is still one of the best songs in the world. :)
The nacht train was on time, I went home, and I will be humming whatever happened to my rock and roll for days. Because there it was, in Den Haag, of all places, at a book festival.