Last Saturday was the Saturday of September: the day the Take Root festival in the Oosterpoort venue in Groningen had it’s 15th edition. A bunch of names I was quite keen on seeing, a few names that I already knew and one name that would blow them all away (but more on that later).
At four in the afternoon -after a nod to Tieme van Veen, one of the founders of the Take Root festival who passed away earlier this year- the festival kicked of in the Foyer with Dan Stuart & Sacri Cuori. Actually it was Sacri Cuori that kicked the gig of and Dan would join in a few songs into the set. Being a regular to the Vera venue, Dan Stuart is no stranger to Groningen. A good rocking set with a great backingband.
But as soon as the set had really started, I had to be off to the next location: Kleine Zaal, the hall where the fragile singer/songwriter sessions were held. And boy was Doug Paisley‘s set fragile. Merely his voice and an unplugged guitar and he managed to the the whole hall quit as a mouse. Magical and really quite rare.
In the main hall the first surprise of the evening was about ready to get rockin’. Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns take you way back to “the roaring twenties”. Ragtime, jazz, blues… a fantastic mix and a very upbeat ‘vintage’ gig with a very likeable Meschiya. Loved it!
On the Entreehal-stage Big Harp had also started their set and I have a weak spot for women on bass. The stage looked a bit large with the threesome very far apart from each-other, but musically the mix of country and folk worked very well.
Back to the Foyer where Sleepy Sun started. I already saw them at a previous edition of Noorderzon. They had left a fairly well impression from back then, but here, on this festival they were aabsolutely awesome. Kind of a mix of Pearl Jam with the early psychedelica of Pink Floyd. At least, that how it sounded in my mind.
So seeing Sleepy Sun first and only then slipping into the oh-so quiet Kleine Zaal again to see Angel Olson was not really the best order. Should have done in the other way around. Although I really liked Angel’s voice, still having the rocking sound of Sleepy Sun bouncing in my mind Angel Olsen’s set didn’t really register. Will have to give her a fair change sometime again.
Walking past Sleepy Sun again, I walked into the main hall to get a good spot for the second act on that stage: Jamie N Commons. Introduced as a legend to be, admired by the bigger names in the industry, Jamie N Commons and band got of to a great start. Raw, soulful, powerful and grooving it all clicked. But at some point they changed pace and the whole thing fell down for me. Really a shame, as I was very much impressed by the opening of the set.
At the same time Laura Gibson was playing a very nice set of folky singer/songwriter songs on the Entreehal-stage, I found that far easier to listen to and luckily I wasn’t the only one, there was a good crowd at Laura’s set.
Back in the Kleine Zaal hall Sam Baker was singing his stories to a very attentive audience. A very nice moment when he brought Awna Teixeira on stage to sing a song with him. And a good introduction for me as I’d see her for her own set later on in the evening.
The end of part one. As with all great shows, I’ll be right back after a short break with… the one gig that forcefully blow me away. Check out part 2!