Text: Shannon van Eis en Sarah Fluit
Photos: Anne Brans
Are you looking for new alternative bands? Then Left of the Dial is the place to be. Three days long you can admire countless international acts that are performing throughout the city centre of Rotterdam. There’s something for everyone here: from indie to hard-hitting (post) punk. CHAOS attended on Friday and Saturday. We saw Holiday Ghosts, Film Noir, Eades, Hotel Lux, Cucamaras, Lime Garden and Treeboy & Arc.
Friday with Holiday Ghosts, Film Noir, Eades and Hotel Lux
Before we can enjoy the showcase festival, we first have to pass the Eendrachtsplein, where we pick up our wristbands. The part that we have to walk afterwards is not easy, since pop stage Perron is almost next to Central Station. When we get in, Holiday Ghosts have already started playing. There are a hand full of people in front of the stage. You can tell from the audience that they are still recovering from the first day of Left of the Dial. The four-piece indie band plays well, but unfortunately they’re lacking a connection with their audience. This isn’t surprising, because it’s still early on the day after all. Unfortunately, this means that the band’s music doesn’t quite reach its full potential for us.
After Holiday Ghosts we continue with Film Noir in De Doelen, arriving a little later we’re a little lost on what we’re listening to. The band doesn’t seem to be able to enthuse despite the fact that this band makes great music. The female lead singer radiates power, but unfortunately this does not translate to their audience. We would like to see Film Noir in a different setting than at De Doelen.
After having something to eat we walk through the Witte de Withstraat to Tech Noir. This is perhaps one of the most special restaurants in Rotterdam. The colourful neon décor takes you back to the eighties. Once a year, during Left of the Dial, this place is transformed into a live music venue. At the bar we get a beer and see that a lot of people have already trained for Eades, the band that will play here in a moment. The five-piece from Leeds take the stage and play their mix of punk and garage, which generates enthusiasm from the first second onwards.
From Tech Noir we take the tram to Perron. Once arrived, the room where Hotel Lux will play is already overflowing. Inside it is sweltering hot but the atmosphere is good. The audience has to get into the first few songs a bit, but once the ice is broken, the audience breaks down the rest of the room. These young guys from Portsmouth know exactly how to get the crowd excited, unfortunately we don’t see the energy of the crowd in the band. Due to the lack of interaction and fun the band is radiating, it seems at times as if the band does not want to be here. Apart from that, Hotel Lux remains a promising band.
Saturday with Cucamaras, Lime Garden and Treeboy & Arc
After we have arrived in the centre of Rotterdam, we immediately proceed to V11, perhaps one of the most special rooms. V11 is in a beautiful boat and we can enjoy Cucamaras here. The foursome from Nottingham exudes energy, the connection they have with each other and with their audience works fantastically. As usual the venue is sweltering but this didn’t spoil the fun because of how impressed we are with this band. Cucamaras has two very strong lead singers who occasionally remind you of bands like Yard Act, because of the different monologues that can be heard in a number of songs. Looks like we’re not the only ones impressed by this band; an older man standing in front lets himself go all the way during the set. And rightly so: what an intensely powerful band this is.
It’s noisy on the terrace of Rotown. Beer is tapped outside and people talk about the experiences of this weekend. A few minutes before the start we walk in, because Lime Garden will soon step onto the stage. In the best sense of the word, this band reminds us of Wet Leg, but with much more spice. What is striking is that the band only consists of women. We like to see it that way, because there is still not enough diversity in the music industry. They play well, very well in fact, and that is noticeable. The man, whom we saw earlier at Cucamaras, is now going wild with this performance, which doesn’t escape the attention of the lead singer. “Everyone, give it up for this guy!” she yells. The public applauds him, because Lime Garden’s look and sound are positively intimidating!
The weekend is almost coming to an end, but we still get to enjoy Treeboy & Arc‘s set in Tech Noir. We are there ahead of time which is convention, because the venue is quickly filling up. The audience seems a bit cautious, but the guitarist seems to want to change that. “Come closer. I want to be able to smell you.” Before you know it, you’ll be face to face with the band, so you can feel the gritty post-punk all over your body. What is remarkable is that this band has two lead singers who take turns. Because there is quite a bit of space in the front, the bass player occasionally walks into the audience. Treeboy & Arc’s repertoire includes shrill guitars, intriguing bass lines and aggressive vocals. There are some moshpits at the front of the stage and during the last song ‘The Condor’ all brakes are released.
After strolling through lively Rotterdam for three days, we can say that this edition of Left Of The Dial was once again more than a success. We will not soon forget highlights such as Cucamaras and Treeboy & Arc and we are certainly looking forward to next year!