A quick guide to Lowlands Paradise 2017

Don’t miss these festival favourites.

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The xx by Francesca Allen

To Dutch festival fans, explaining Lowlands is like explaining the endless charm of the village you grew up in—be it a lot more adventurous and a lot less civilized. From the 18th until the 20th of August, the Netherlands’ biggest and boldest festival returns with 12 stages, more than 250 acts and performances, restaurants from all over the globe, a sauna and hot tub area, its own newspaper, a market… the list goes on. Glamcult is sure to embark on the acclaimed “camping flight to paradise” every single year, with this edition’s line-up making us extra excited. From indie-rock icons to dark club gems, here’s some of the acts you shouldn’t miss.

Brewing up a mix of Dutch, English and their selfinvented mother tongue, SMIB (Bims, aka de Bijlmer in reverse) rhyme over raw future beats. Don’t call them a hip-hop collective, however; these young entrepreneurs run their own brand that combines fashion, art, events—and rap. With their debut album, BAKUHATSU, Dutch rap royalty Ray Fuego, GRGY, Tads Thots, GHQST, Dess Finess, Fosa YG, Kut Mug, Loopey and producer KC started a fire that now burns everywhere. SMIB’s terrific shows are punk AF, so meet us in the mosh pit.

With wonderfully hypnotic techno, Aurora Halal proves that the underground doesn’t always have to be dark and crusty. That doesn’t mean this producer and visual artist from Brooklyn will make you dance through the club merrily, but her sets—partly played live, partly consisting of carefully selected deep cuts—will make you see the light at any moment of day (or night). Halal creates an irresistible tension on the dance floor with melodic, experimental techno. Her psychedelic edge touches acid, dub and electro—not of the lo-fi type, but crisp and bright for high-end sound systems and refined listeners on a sweaty floor.

Experimenting with hardcore hip hop, punk, noise and electronics almost as a hungry lioness dances with her prey, Death Grips show no interest in being nice or funky; their coarse sonic waves result in chopping, slashing and screaming—until even the mouths at the very back of the tent have fallen open in astonishment. Protect your ears, as the furious noise of drummer Zach Hill, producer Andy Morin and frontman MC Ride spares nobody, including the band itself. But rest assured, the terror pays off; among Death Grips’ fans are Björk, Tyler, The Creator and the late David Bowie. This is war; you’re invited into the trenches.

That Abra started writing and producing R&B tracks in her bedroom is a matter of pure practicality. At age 18, the self-described “Darkwave Duchess” moved from London to Atlanta, where as a missionaries’ daughter she didn’t exactly get a warm welcome. For lack of communication irl, she found salvation in chat rooms and teaching herself to play guitar—and successfully so. When label honcho Father came across Abra’s acoustic rap covers, she was signed to Awful Records, ATL’s hottest art-meets-music collective. Holding on to the creative reigns, however, Abra released Princess in 2016, putting a raw spin on ’90s R&B and ’80s pop, reaching far beyond Atlanta in the meanwhile.

Who’s coming to congratulate Lowlands on its anniversary edition? Yup, the unstoppable rock typhoon who graced the festival with his presence during its very first flight. The 70-year-old Iggy Pop has not just liberally survived 2016, but with Post Pop Depression also delivered one of his best records to date. According to Iggy it’s his last, but that doesn’t mean the ever-fit godfather of punk is leaving the stage; on the contrary. Don’t miss this show; Iggy Pop on form is the living incarnation of lust for life.

After years of radio silence, the grand return of The xx this spring manifested in the form of a new record, a tour that sold out at the speed of light, and—last but by no means least—a Glamcult cover story. On I See You, the hushed pop connoisseurs sound familiar but reborn, with the solo success of Jamie shaking up the group’s dynamic and writing process. And that can be heard; The xx’s big third album reveals a more rapturous and sunny side of the group, but never loses its intensity due to the grand-but-subtle quality of songwriters/ duet partners Oliver Sims and Romy Madley Croft. See you front stage!

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