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The TakeRoot 2019 review

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Garrett T. Capps. Photo by Knelis / TakeRoot 

It’s midnight in Groningen. It’s the end of an abnormally warm November saturday and it should also have been the end of an eight hour marathon of roots and americana across six rooms in the De Oosterpoort complex. But Garrett T. Capps and his NASA Country have different ideas. Suddenly, a “curfew” seems like a malleable concept as fellow Texans Robert Ellis and James Steinle join the band on stage for a sprawling and ecstatic “Born in San Antone” and a version of the classic “She’s About a Mover”, penned by San Antonio’s very own Doug Sahm. Capps seems comfortable as the frontman to a 21st century version of the mighty Texas Tornados, powered by a strong rhythm section and an unusual synth that takes his brand of Americana to another dimension. I’ve been calling it krautcountry after seeing them in Paradiso’s small room in the same evening as Faust and Camera, and you should too.

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TakeRoot Festival 2019: our picks

The Grote Zaal of De Oosterpoort during the 2018′s TakeRoot festival.

TakeRoot Festival. Saturday, 2 November 2019, at De Oosterpoort, Groningen, The Netherlands. Tickets for sale here.

Coming of age in the era of MySpace meant stumbling into a lot of “A little bit of everything, except country and rap” on your fellow scenester’s profiles. Fast forward some 15 years, and there’s a rapper headlining your favorite indie festival, much to the disgust of a few folks who haven’t grown from their proud everything-except-country-and-rap pedestal. But most young alternative Europeans still look at country music with the same disgusted look that your aunt made the first time she stumbled upon a 50 Cent music video.

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Vodafone Paredes de Coura 2019: the review

Sometimes it’s hard to be objective and unbiased when writing about a festival that is such a big part of your life. Except for two (very) unremarkable lineups that made me stay home, since I was old enough to go to college all my summers involved a trip to Paredes de Coura (and a painful trip back, too). When you’re a kid, they say you’ll eventually get older and boring, in a process they call “becoming an adult”. This usually comes with amazing perks such as ceasing to listen to any new music whatsoever, stopping seeing your (also ageing) friends, having great conversations about changing diapers with your remaining friends (yes, the other couple with kids you always go vacationing with to some shitty beach full of other couples with kids and the odd mother-in-law). Obviously, a multi-day, non-kid friendly, rural music festival such as Festival Paredes de Coura seems like one of those things that are amongst the first to drop from your newfound “adult life”. Except you don’t have to be that person; and is there anything better to remind you of that than going there and finding all your friends in the same place, same month, year after year, all over again? (Well, other than imagining the smell of those diapers.)

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Vodafone Paredes de Coura 2019: our top picks

Vodafone Paredes de Coura 2018. Photo by Hugo Lima.

Another summer, another missed opportunity to have a vacation somewhere because there’s nowhere else we’d rather be other than at our little paradise of Paredes de Coura, in northwestern Portugal. The festival runs from the 14th to the 17th of August, but, like always, the fun begins way earlier than that, with four fun-packed, free entrance days with concerts and DJ sets right in the center of the small Minho village.

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NOS Primavera Sound 2019

  • Hugo Lima / NOS Primavera Sound

It’s starting to be too common: no matter how warm and sunny it is in the week leading up to the festival, NOS Primavera Sound (NPS) is doomed to be ruined by at least one day of rain. The first day did not look promising after the announcement of the passage of depression Miguel (no, not the rnb star who performed there a couple of years ago) through the north of Portugal. Flights were cancelled, Ama Lou and Peggy Gou could not reach Porto in time to perform, strong winds and rain showers threatened to turn Parque da Cidade into a muddy mess, the gates were opened almost an hour later than it was scheduled.