Grind Waarpen 2017

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On the 4th of November, the first edition of grindcore and noise festival Grind Waarpen took place at Kavka in the beautiful city of ‘Antwaarpen’.

Unfortunately I couldn’t be there from the very beginning. I had to miss the “meanassbitchslapcore” of Sore and the old-school grind of Naked Ape. But people told me they both played a very nice set to start the festival. The first show I got to see was TRAVØLTA (***), by the event described as “hyperkinetic powerviolence speedcore”. The local band has a great punk-ish attitude, the singer kept making great statements between the songs. Talking about the music, it’s one of a kind! I believe all of their songs last under 1 minute, but the band makes it work! Combined with the criticism on society by the frontman, their show was very refreshing and nice to experience.

Because there were only 15 minutes between every band, and I had a stomach to feed, I had to miss the German brutal grinders of Keitzer, and later that day also the Dutch guys from Rectal Smegma. I managed to get a setlist from Keitzer still when I was waiting for the Dutch “grindmasterspowerhouse” of Fubar (***). The gutsy band dared to put some melodeath influences into their music, which worked out to be even very catchy and beyond my expectations. Another nice statement was being made by the frontman, who was wearing a shirt that said “FCK NZS”. I liked the spirit this festival seemed to have!

Spasm (***), the porn core legends from Czech Republic, are 3 guys in their midlife crisis playing “pornsqueelcoregrind” and they are totally nailing it. No guitarist is needed when you have such a thundering bass sound and skills. The band doesn’t look like they belonged in the genre at all. Except for the singer maybe, who looked like he could easily be the person working in your local bakery, but came on stage with something I can only describe as a Borat-thong, and a mask with a dildo on the nose. They sure live up to the name of the genre they play. Beyond all expectations, these guys managed to master their instruments like pros and played a super tight and funny show. The crowd was laughing and dancing -yes, dancing!- constantly. The band seemed to have lots of fun too. The frontman kissed a guy, after which he said: “I’m not gay, my boyfriend is.” Next up was the German “goatgrindingdeath” of Milking the Goatmachine (****). The 4 talented and funny guys with corpsepaint-covered goat masks and lots of interaction with the audience made it a great and funny show and a sight to see. I really liked the show, but I was too exited for what was to come next to pay full attention.

Lots of people came in very late, just for the night’s top of the bill: Igorrr (*****). Their genre is hard to describe, but let’s go with bizarre-eclectic-noise-no-boundaries… Just genius. Maybe it’s kind of unfair that I have so much to say about this show, in comparison to the other bands. But Igorrr just made me forget about everything else. The female singer came forward, opening the show with an amazing baroque-ish piece featuring only her silk voice, introducing to the first song that blew everyone’s minds immediately: Spaghetti Forever. Igorrr continued immediately by performing Opus Brain and the tone was set. The show was so varied, they manage to push so many different styles into their bizarre and fascinating music. The calm and touching song Caros for example, was immediately followed up by their shattering, ‘bang-your-head-off’ masterpiece Viande. Their ‘pièce de résistance’ iEUD must have been the highlight of the show. The singer came forward and seemed to collapse, holding on to me -I was the chosen one! Kavka was on fire and the song ended with all of the audience singing the iconic flute melody with it. It seemed to be a special show for the band too, because they ended their performance with singing happy birthday for the singer.

The bizarre quartet exists of a caveman-like singer with paint all over, a tall, mesmerizing female singer who is as good at singing opera as she is at using a raw voice and screaming, a crazy talented drummer and a DJ that doesn’t use any samples. All the sounds he used he recorded himself. This combined with an incredible, epilepsy-triggering lightshow and a theatrical, yet not too dramatic performance, made this show a pleasure to the senses. By the end of the set, I had fallen in love with all four mind-blowing musicians that form Igorrr together.

For me, the day was over. It wasn’t going to get better than this. But the organisation had some more goodness planned. There was an ‘afterparty’, more like an ‘aftergig’, which the guys from Brutal Sphincter and Gore Force 5 took care of. I had a great day. The organisation was nice, the atmosphere was fun the whole day and the people were super sweet.  I saw some amazing bands and had lots of fun with all the people there. But if I have to be critical, there’s one thing I could point out. Although the festival started midday and ended long after midnight, no food was provided for visitors. With a press pass, I was lucky that I could go backstage and grab some food every now and then, but the visitors had to leave the festival and explore the city to get something to eat. But I’m sure the organisation will take care of this when the festival starts to grow bigger. In general it was a great first edition of a new concept that will hopefully continue to exist.