There’s a lot of festivals that call themselves ‘progressive’, ‘adventurous’, or ‘cross-disciplinary’—but Rewire can legitimately claim it’s all of the above. Last weekend in The Hague brought us so many magic moments, it’s virtually impossible to recap each and every one of them here (as much as it was practically impossible to see everything on the extensive programme). Yet there’s a number of acts whose performances made us feel things; from heartbroken to elated and from enthralled to lost in thought about the state of the world. Whether you attended Rewire or not, be sure to give these highlights your attention. And don’t miss the next edition of this visionary festival.
With her back turned to the audience, Lafawndah starts out a performance that grows like a flower in bloom. Her angelic voice, blue lights and a lot of smoke create intimacy in the small room of Het Paard. Playing mostly songs from her recently released debut album, Ancestor Boy, the Glamcult favourite impresses the most with her rendition of Vous et Nous, a distorted lullaby for sad lovers. At moments the lighting goes a bit overboard for the modest tenderness of Lafawndah’s sound, but this ultimately doesn’t stop her from staying very close to the core of her touching songs.
Flohio captured our attention last year with her EP and single Wild Yout, but she really blew us away on Modelektor’s new album; their Wealth collab is the euphoric summer hit we needed. And while she doesn’t play that banger at Rewire, Flohio’s energy is no less radiant in real life. Does she get booed for asking ‘What’s up, Amsterdam’ in The Hague? Yes! Does she realize she’s not in Amsterdam? Probably not. Does it matter? Not at all. With her DJ hyping the crowd as much as she does, Flohio captivates fans and strangers alike.
We thought supergroups were kind of passé. To be fair, a lot of the times when very talented musicians come together it feels like a battle of egos. But CURL proves us wrong. Mica Levi, Coby Sey and Brother May show the incredible palette U.K. sounds have to offer. It’s grime, it’s rock, it’s indie—and they’re building blocks of a performance that feels incredibly improvised. Watching CURL unfold is like watching a wonderful group of friends preparing a family dinner, and being invited to take a seat at the table, sip some wine and simply enjoy.
In the intimate second room of Het Koorenhuis, Angel Bat Dawid gets off to a flying start with her avant-garde jazz band, entering the stage from the back of the room and singing while walking through the crowd. What follows is a surprising and raw performance during which the Chicago-based jazz maestro improvises, takes pauses to interact with her crowd, and even teaches the audience a breathing exercise. The performance culminates in an emotional rendition of What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black, preceded by a heartfelt speech on raising black children in the United States.
Another Rewire highlight who does not shy away from making political statements? Lotic. Their show is organised around snippets of interviews of black trans women and black non-binary people, sharing painful anecdotes from their lives. The Berlin-based avant-garde electronic music producer mesmerises the crowd and appears on stage with a long platinum blonde wig, flowing in the air while lit by multiple lasers. It all creates a striking contrast, where the powerlessness felt by the interviewees in the samples clashes with the powerful (and empowering) visual imagery of Lotic—who reclaims the stage and makes it their own.