Dutch indie avant-garde festival unveils surefooted new artistic direction
Andy Hill
15:00 24th May 2018

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The Dutch city of Utrecht’s absolutely cracking annual Le Guess Who? festival has just announced its line-up of curators for 2018, headed up by Venezuelan-American beardo Devendra Banhart.

You remember him, he did that acoustic tune about the little yellow spider. Cracking bloke.

Joining Banhart on the curator dais will be Moor Mother, whose exhilarating fusion of afro-American beat poetry and electronica has been described as “slaveship punk”, plus London saxophonist and bandleader Shabaka Hutchings and outspoken Italian actress/activist Asia Argento.

Among Banhart’s picks are sixties-golden-age-of-folk channeling Vashti Bunyan from the UK, Ghanaian guitar titan Ebo Taylor and transgender jazz polymath Beverly Glenn-Copeland all the way from Chicago.

The regular – if anything about this engagingly loopy four-day jamboree can be called regular – lineup has also been announced today, and will include Ethiopian accordionist and bandleader Hailu Mergia, bodymod-obsessed gospel star Serpentwithfeet and babyfaced art-rock nutter Circuit des Yeux performing with a special eight-piece ensemble.

Le Guess Who? – honestly, please skim over the fact the name sounds like a 2011 rage comics meme – is a city-wide celebration of global sounds and musical genre crossing.

It’s hosted in no fewer than 20 venues scattered all over town, including conventional pop venues, lavish theatres, gothic churches, art galleries and totes instagrammable warehouse spaces.

According to organisers, Utrecht is “… a very lively and hospitable place. Built around the centuries-old Dom Tower, the city center is branched by many picturesque canals, some with extraordinary wharf cellars that house shops, cafés, restaurants, and bars along the water."

Amsterdam without the stag parties then. Perfect.

This, the 12th edition of the festival, will take place November 8-11.

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

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