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Eurosonic Festival

Dazed head out to the tiny Dutch village of Groningen to check the ultimate industry-insider music festival

A music festival in January? in Holland? This can only mean one thing: Industry. Yes a platter of music business professionals descend upon the small icy canal-lined Dutch University town of Groningen to see the most feted acts of the moment for themselves, and ultimately decide if they do indeed believe the hype, in reference to the European acts that have been dangled in front of them, and the potential eager-eyed audience in the form of "ones to watch" band lists for the coming year.
Cycling around a pleasant Dutch city with an abundance of good-looking young people and a choice of hundreds of bands to see late into the night, in venues that put every UK club to shame, seemed like a pretty ideal thing to do when your suffering the mid-January blues, so it was Groningen here I come.
Lets face it, the UK pretty much rules as the benchmark for trends in music, even if our musicians look to obscure Belgium techno producers and Norwegian metal acts for inspiration. We are internationally known as pretty fucking cool, and all eyes, from punters to professionals, were on our gang. From Ellie Goullding to Everything Everything, The XX, Crystal Fighters, Chapel Club and Stornaway to Marina and The Diamonds and Appleblim, to name but a few.
If I am to believe the press, which I do because I often write it, taking a stroll with Everything Everything along the frozen canals to see Ellie Goulding do a cover of Midlake’s "Rosko" could be the kind of story I will one day tell the Grandkids, due to how immensely famous they have since become. The signs look like I will make good on that premonition with both acts performances being mobbed, and received as if they have released their hit record and toured the world three times over already. The XX have dropped the popular record, as well as a member, and German festival bookers are name-dropping them as their headline act at their summer festivities, wow, music moves fast these days.
Despite the emphasis of my trip being to seek out the new, the unheard of and the future, I had to make a pit-stop at the world famous Vera venue, in the hope that I would be granted a tour of their dressing room walls, which are littered with the poster artwork of yesteryear and the stench of some the of the historic and iconic acts who have passed (and in the case of Ian Mculloch) pissed through their doors. Nirvana, Echo & The Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Tad. This place is like a muso's museum, and a great pallet cleanser before returning to the cold streets on the band hunt.
A few factors restricted my usual eagerness for running from venue to venue to watch foreign acts with a mixture of capital and lower case and numerical digits in their band's name. I didn’t see MeNe0, the naked Game Boy-wielding duo, or, regrettably, 2562, and I’m extremely disappointed I missed the confusingly titled but amazing sounding Icelandic group FM Belfast. Yes, unfortunately the Dutch half-pints are deceptive and the vending machines selling bizarre croquettes can destroy your stomach, and if that is not enough James from The Bookhouse Boys is carrying a large bottle of whiskey that won't drink itself, and I know I have seen them a hundred times before but Ungdomskulen are still the most ‘kick-ass’ live band going.