Holland's most hyped festival has so many treats that immediately grab you and some neat hidden surprises
Cai Trefor

14:19 17th August 2017

Hello from Holland where we've been charmed into coming to see some big bands; including, Cypress Hill, At The Drive In and Editors. But we're not going to include every big name in this list, it's about revealing an essential big name then hopefully tipping you off on some delights you didn't think of seeing.

If you're not there this year (most of you probably) then I also hope this just serves as a page of great music to listen to, and perhaps, tempt you to head to Lowlands next year. It's only a short train and then shuttle ride from Amsterdam, and the flight from the UK to Amsterdam is painless, and quick. Without further ado, here's some great bands to see.

Iggy Pop

(Friday, Bravo, 20.35 - 21.35)

The headliner in my mind, and I've been hearing great things about his performance at the recent Haven festival in Copenhagen. Expect a level of energy close to what he was pouring our all over stages in the 60s - he is the embodiment of the rock n roll spirit, and will never be beaten. If I have my way he'll play plenty from Raw Power as 'Gimme Danger' and 'Search and Destroy' are flawless , and have plenty of nostalgic significance as the soundtrack to my youth. 


(Sunday 20.10 - 21.00)

Drop whatever plans you had and get down the front and dance like loons to Baloji. The flashly-dresed Conoglese Sapeur who is based in Belgium has a nomadic music that is properly impossible to pin down. His label Bella Union say, "His music stands at the crossroads of African music, rap, the French singer-songwriter tradition, afro-american music (soul, funk, jazz) discovered via hip hop culture and sampling; and electronic music (trance, deep house) which was prevalent in the region of Belgium where Baloji grew up." It's a cocktail that works and delivers an almighty punch.

Stefflon Don

(Saturday, X-Ray, 13.10 - 13.40)

Pronounced Steff London, the charismatic Clapton-based arist sonic palette draws from laid-back hip-hop, grime, R&B and dancehall. Her recent single received a milion streams in just a week and her Jools Holand perfmance of '16 Shots' was listed in the BBC's "10 showstopping moments from Jools Holland series 50". To be recognised on the top of a group of artist of that level is something special. The 24-year-old went to school in Rotterdam so expect a feverish reception as she treats it like a homecoming and wins over the hearts of the crowd - especially on '16 shots', which will be rowdy.

Tank and the Bangas

(Sunday, Lima, 14-30 - 15.30)

Soul, r&b, hip hip and spoken world of the highest order here. This groovy group from New Orleans are immediately likeable and one of the less famous acts but most rewarding live acts - they're not to be missed. Their sunny sound gets an afternoon slot, too, so great way to start your first drinking on the Sunday before charging on through for the rest of the day. Sunday's going to be the one.

Car Seat Headrest

(Sunday, India, 18.10 - 19.10)

Having seen this band live in Roskilde in 2016, I can safely vouch for them as an explosive guitar group for a festival. Few guitar bands play with dynamics in as interesting and effective of a way as Car Seat Headrest. Light introspective melancholy switches into visceral aggressive rock passages that soar. The crowd rejoice and you can that sweaty stranger hug for all the eurphoria they muster. Lots has already been said about how prolific of a songwriter Will Toledo is, and he's on his way to becoming one of the most iconic American indie stars of the decade with elements of SParklehorse, Julian Casablancas and Weezer intertwining nicely.

Canshaker Pi

Saturday, X Ray, 16.00 - 16.45

A local rock band who should be internationally acclaimed. They've got a record produced by Stephen Malkmus from Pavement and their single 'Shaniqua' reminds me of parts of Surfer Rosa by Pixies. Their lyrics don't take life too seriously and it's refershing to hear a band sounding like they take the piss a bit. Their other side exhibited on 'What You're Trying To Say' is a bit more profound and cathartic but never veers too close to convention with wild feedback and the dreaminess of Sonic Youth's slower songs.

Iguana Death Cult

Sunday, X Ray, 13.00 -13.45

Enjoy The Gories? Enjoy The Growlers? Moonlandingz? Then Iguana Dealth Cult could be the one for you. The moment the first chords sound on 'Can Of Worms' they pricked up they sounded - alongside Canshaker Pi - as the best Dutch guitar band on the bill. There's not much in the way of a following outside of Holland yet but the way they present sludgy, rock 'n roll soundtracking the underbelly it makes me want to shout from the rooftop about them. Exciting discovery.

One other fun thing (not music)

I'm So Angry (I Made A Sign)

You don't need reminding what's wrong with the world by me. It's scary times and we're definitely have being led backwards by those in power. -But here in Lowlands there's a group of activists looking raise more awareness and help the most subordinate on our continent struggling with the rise of politics of division. This lot who are on Facebook as @Ironcurtainproject have a very noble set up."Our aim is to let all 55.000 visitors make their own protest sign in the Photo Booth and read the personal stories about Revolution and Protest in Europe," they say. And who can argue with that?

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

Photo: Press