The morning before going to a festival often has a solid ritual, a bit of a healthy breakfast because the rest of the day will be filled with beer and fastfood, a shower and then some last errands before deciding what to wear. Not as a fashion statement, i’ve given up on that a long time ago, but to be sure you aren’t either too hot or too cold. Especially since Incubate is all across the city of Tilburg you have to walk to the different venues, and just wearing a t-shirt will be too cold, but wearing a coat will be too hot (and a drag if you have to carry it all day).
Anyway. Around 2.30 we got the train to Tilburg, arrived around 3.30, exchanged our ticket for a wristband and went on our way to the 013. At 013 we came to the conclusion we were 20 minutes early so we decided to see where the other venues were. We got a beer at the Cul de Sac before heading back to the 013 to check out Cheek Mountain Thief. The self titled debut album is an album i’ve been playing quite a bit this summer as it’s a catchy Icelandic version of Arcade Fire. Despite the crowded stage, there were seven people on stage, the entire setting looked kinda bare, there was hardly a light show and the band looked a bit awkward. Which was reinforced by the, pleasantly, awkward presentation of frontman Mike Lindsay when he was telling about his inspiration for the songs. All in all it wasn’t bad and the songs were a bit more intense than on album but somehow it didn’t really click. Maybe it was the early hour, but after about three or four songs we decided to check out other venues.
We walked towards the Paulus church, which is near the Little Devil the place where the majority of the bands we wanted to see played, as we were curious about Twin Sister Moon. Twin Sister Moon was described as an ambient/drone project which got our attention, especially with this being in a small church. When we arrived we couldn’t enter as the song wasn’t finished yet. After a little while we were allowed inside and there was a woman with a guitar, singing really soft songs. Which wasn’t bad as she had a nice voice, but honestly it didn’t do much for me and i didn’t mind that after two songs the gig ended. Not really my cup of tea.
We walked towards Little Devil and decided we would grab a bite to eat first because we had about 45 minutes left before Ortega played. After doing that and getting ourselves a nice Kasteel Rouge it was time for Ortega, a Dutch post-metal / sludge band. I really like their 1634 album as it’s a quality release that in my opinion is up to par with a lot of the international bands playing this style of music. Ortega i think can best be compared to bands like Isis and A Storm of Light, despite the songs being rather long, with long instrumental pieces, they are kept interesting enough and build up to a great eruptions of riffs. I really like this band. Hopefully they will start playing this side of the country more often.
Unfortunately things were planned so tight that right after Ortega finished Slomatics started in the 013 venue already. Because we didn’t really felt like running back and forth from venue to venue, and because we had already gotten ourselves a fresh Kasteel Rouge we decided to stay in the Little Devil and hang out a bit. After a while Ides of Gemini was up, i really like Black Math Horseman, the other band of lead singer Sera Timms. A band i already knew but really started to appreciate after their great gig at Roadburn 2 years ago.
After a short soundcheck they played a nice, but rather short, set of older and new material. The sound wasn’t the best (you couldn’t hear the male backup vocals from where i was standing) and i must say i didn’t really like the playing style of the drummer but Sera Timms’ voice did make up for all of that. And it turned out to be a very enjoyable show. Hopefully they can come back to next years Roadburn festival and have a bit of a better sound.
After a final Kasteel Rouge we went on our way to the 013 venue as the final couple of bands that were on the list played there. First we entered a rather crowded main hall to see Yann Tiersen. Of course known for his soundtrack work but he also has quite a bit of ‘normal’ records. Unfamiliar with those albums i was surprised to hear that it was, in my opinion, pretty much of a post-rock alike band. Which is nice as i like that genre quite a bit.
We watched for about 30 minutes before heading to the small room to see Conan. Who played a great gig with songs from their Monnos and Horseback Battle Hammer albums. The only let down was the sound, the guitar sounded like crap from where i was standing, later on it got a bit better but it was a bit of a bummer. Because of that i started to mainly focus on the drummer and while Conan might sound rather ‘simple’ when it comes to the riffing the drummer really does some cool rhythmic and detailled stuff. Also a bit of a short set, most bands we saw seemed to finish about 10 minutes before their time was up. But that gave us some time to walk back to the mainhall again for Mogwai.
I’ve never been a big fan of Mogwai, saw them once in about 2003 or so in Amsterdam, but all i remembered of that gig is was that is was LOUD. That was also the trigger for me to buy some decent earplugs as the ringing in my ear after that gig lasted for about three days. I’ve tried their latest albums but for some reason i never really got into them. But since they have quite a bit of fans and their albums are critically acclaimed as they tend to say we went to see them. No idea what songs they played or from which albums they were but it sounded alright but i never really got into it.
We walked back to the Little Devil so we could easily catch our train, when we arrived there Mgla was playing. A Polish black metal band, but the place was pretty full and from a distance it sounded really noisy, which is not really a surprise with black metal ofcourse, but still after a day of music, beers, and walking through Tilburg we were rather tired so we decided to sit in the bar area of the place and wait for the train.
All in all Incubate 2012 was a nice festival, of course we only experienced one day, but reading the comments and reviews and seeing the stuff that was posted on Twitter for instance it was very positive overall. I’m pretty sure i will attend next year as well.