The fantastic festival Cross-linx that mixes classical music with avant-garde, indie music was due for it’s 2014 edition and it had two names on the bill that ranked very high up in my wanna-see list for some time now: Dutch harpist Lavinia Meijer and Shara Worden as My Brightest Diamond. Merely two names of an impressive list and a schedule that was hell bent on making the visitors make some impossible decisions.
Because if there’s anything to complain than it is the very tight schedule. The idea that you have to choose one out of four artists in Music Mining is one thing, but to also let if nearly fully run along the ‘normal’ gigs… Come on Cross-Linx, that’s just mean.
I started out with a Music Mining performance. The lovely lady-guides in overalls and construction helmets led the visitors to one of the four Music Mining locations in the nooks and crannies of the huge venue. My first choice was Liam Byrne, a classical musician playing a ‘Viola da Gamba’ in a ballet-room (I didn’t even know they had one at De Oosterpoort!). A great set which included some original compositions for Cross-Linx.
I only barely made it back in time to see the tail of the set of Douglas Dare, from England. Douglas on keyboard and an added drummer. I’m afraid I can’t tell much about this concert as I really saw too little of if.
Time for the first gig on the main stage. Part of the concept of Cross-Linx is to have ‘pop-musicians’ interact with a classical orchestra. And though Ólafur Arnalds started out as a drummer in hardcore metal bands, he is of course widely known for his epic classical scores and the combination with the Philharmonie Zuidnederland orchestra works really well. It started out really good with Ólafur recording the audience and the orchestra on his tablet to provide a background structure and build up layers and layers over that. Fantastic concert.
Now I had to rush to the other side of the venue to find a spot up front in the hall where harpist Lavinia Meijer was going to play. She started out with an Ólafur Arnalds cover and played some recent classical works. I found it impossible to draw myself away, missing out on the next Music Mining trip, I loved it. Photography was very hard due to the fragile sound of the harp. But I was so happy to be able to get a few shots as it’s nearly impossible to get anny kind of accreditation for a regular classical gig. After she covered Radiohead’s Karma Police I did run to the next gig as not to miss absolutely everything else.
Unfortunately the next band I saw was also about to wrap up. Cabaret Contemporain -from France- combines dance music with minimal music and adding two double basses must have meant some interesting songs. However… I’ll have to check that out next time.
Now back to the main stage for the second gig with the full Philharmonie Zuidnederland orchestra. However José González started out solo on guitar. Then he brought two band members on stage and then the full orchestra joined in. An interesting combination and an absolutely gorgeous version of Massive Attack’s Teardrop song. And the best stage-lighting ever :)
I did make it back to the Music Mining guides for the last trip and went to see Cast Glass. A very interesting band with the inclusion of a harp and singer Edita Karkoschka whom I recognized from Nausica. A lovely set but one I had to run from nearing the end as at the same time another gig had started.
And I was absolutely NOT going to miss My Brightest Diamond. I first saw Shara Worden back in 2008 on Take Root. Hadn’t heard of her before but I was blown away. Gorgeous girl, stunningly beautiful voice and such lovely songs. I’ve dutifully collected all her albums but it was not until now that I was finally able to see My Brightest Diamond perform live again. And in combination with a section of the Philharmonie Zuidnederland orchestra, which so perfectly suits Shara’s songs. It was a terrific gig and one that neatly blended into the final performance of this edition of the festival.
On the final song of My Brightest Diamond, Shara invited the Detroit Party Marching Band on stage as a clapping background to the song and from that the Marching band picked up their instruments, mingled in the crowd and started playing a brilliant mix or marching music, a touch of Balkan, some New Orleans spunk and a lot of party party party! Apparently members of the band had popped up here and there during the evening, I’ve bloody well missed all of those!
The Detroid Party Marching Band were simply brilliant, drawing the audience in and in a same movement getting the audience into the entrance-hall allowing the organization to close up the other halls. The band could have gone on and on for all I care, it was fantastic. Sadly though all good things come to an end and so did Cross-Linx. But there’s always the 2015 edition to look out for. And lots and lots of other gigs this year.