Take Root 15th edition 1/2

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.


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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!