You know you’re at Rewire Festival when one minute you’re quietly listening to a monumental organ and wind ensemble in a Lutheran church, and the next all things unholy are offered (and consumed) on a strobe-lit dancefloor. It’s these unlikely combinations that make the annual, experimental festival such a standout event. Glamcult was once again present in The Hague this past weekend and documented five moments that shouldn’t be forgotten—even if you weren’t there.
Being enveloped by the analogue synthesizer sounds of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is like being stuck in space. One with a huge wall of visuals—think: an abstracted version of a fun fair—the American composer, singer, producer and performer transported her listeners to a pleasant state of trance, where sugary vocals and intricate melodies interweave to become dense (but never heavy) musical patterns. Singing into a nostalgic headset mic, Smith’s clever show was a venture into the past and the future.
Following Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Fatima Al Qadiri bringing Rewire into a haze of musical meditation, the next performance was sure to destroy it in a matter of seconds. Teaming up, Glamcult favourites Mykki Blanco and LYZZA put on a show that merged Mykki’s rowdy rap and straight-up message with the DJ’s pumping club sound. Sure, we would have loved to see SOPHIE, whose festival appearance was cancelled last-minute, but did we really miss her? Not with this glorious pairing turning the festival floor on its head.
Ever since watching this documentary on Johannesburg’s queer artists and activists, we are hooked on the work of South-African duo FAKA. Artists Fela Gucci and Desire Marea were joined by—again—LYZZA for a 45-minute set that was surprisingly consistent in its energy. Vibrating on a high level that was never too intense, their mix of dance styles, sound effects and big wigs created an encapsulating image and sound.
Nina Kraviz came to Rewire for a surprisingly site-specific set. While she’s never afraid to go in hard, the sounds of The Hague get a special meaning and energy when they’re played in their city of origin. Nina took acid influences into a set that also maintained her typical upbeat and open vibe. While laser lights were trying to give Paard the atmosphere of an actual rave venue (let’s be honest, it’s not), she closed off with a hardstyle track that brought us right back into the 90s.
On the last day of the festival, artist, writer, DJ, poet and performer extraordinaire Juliana Huxtable premiered her new performance Triptych in The Hague’s big church. Dressed in all white and accompanied by a drummer and harpist Huxtable’s performance felt, indeed, holy. The beat of the drum and the harmonies of the harp, together with huge laser lights (in a church!) created the perfect backdrop for Huxtable’s poetry, which touches on themes such as the feminine, desire and the digital.