I know it sounds stereotypical, but I always say that pop punk is the best soundtrack for summertime. While Eindhoven’s weather gave us a crazy foretaste of the coming season, Dynamo Mildt brought together the brightest current tours, therefore creating a perfect live soundtrack for a great day.
The organization itself was top notch, with three stages, including a basement one that could gather up to 200 people. What we didn’t know is that besides the intimacy it provides with nearly a floorstage, the room could heat up pretty quickly. Things got wild there since the very beginning when UK’s ROAM opened the stage (and the mini-festival), with a bunch of excited people, jumping and singing along to the lyrics with – I admit – an unexpected passion. The band members themselves seemed pretty surprised and overwhelmed by the public’s response to what was their very first mainland European shows and the least we could say is that they did deserve it!
If the basement stage was overall accessible all day, the one thing we hope everyone anticipated was Real Friend’s set, moments before A Loss For Words ended theirs. Indeed, the band encountered a MASSIVE success, resulting from a huge anticipation. It seems in fact that 2014 is Real Friends’ year, though it’s difficult to know what to expect once one of the many bands people await comes to Europe. One thing for sure, we hope everyone there enjoyed fully the experience because this was probably the first and last time we could see them in such an intimate place.
Real Friends’ success however didn’t favor A Loss For Words (that’s our interpretation of the half empty room at least…), who had to play in a mainstage that’s been packed whole day, except for them. The band delivered a great performance as usual, including a refreshing cover for The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back and die-hard fans were definitely here, making the most of their time watching the band and sharing a moment with them. But it was a bittersweet one, as the room was slowly emptying (from the people lining up for Real Friends?).
What was a highlight on this stage was also :
1) Call it Off opening it
2) State Champs. Even when you’re not the biggest fan of that kind of music in the first place, it’s nearly impossible to dislike a performance of theirs. And yes it’s short, but it’s intense. Full of energy, the band followed up their joyful, anthemic, summer-vibe-filled (Remedy) songs that somehow take you back to your high school years and the carefreeness that goes with it. So good. Derek’s voice is really strong and in tone, which is great because it remains faithful to the record but somehow better. That’s also where crowd surfing initiated the most, with people singing their lungs out at the same time (even Real Friends’ Dan Lambton joined the madness with a spectacular stage dive appearance). And that’s another successful one we cannot wait to witness again soon!
Back to Call It Off; we’d heard a lot from these guys these past few months, as they appear like The Netherdand’s pop punk rising stars. With a brand new EP out (and only the second of their young career as a band), we didn’t expect such a warm welcome, especially for stage openers, especially for locals. Fine, I might be a little bit biaised by the lack of support locals can receive versus a strong international line up such as this one, but I may or may not have witnessed at other places these past few years. However, what a pleasure to see how much of a pride can be a local band to their audience! To be fair, it’d be hard not to greatly welcome such band, as their performance was by far one of my favorites of the day, with an excellent stage presence, they knew how to give a whole new dimension to their songs in a very positive, energetic and fun atmosphere. Altough as a non-dutch speaker, I didn’t really get everything they said between the songs, it was obvious that Call It Off got the skills to connect quickly with their crowd, which is another good point for them. Also, their music has something very particular, which makes it quickly identifiable and absolutely pleasant.
In between the succession of sets, a few slower moments occurred with the acoustic sets that punctuated greatly the day, with locals in the The Lowest Standard and The 101’s but also You Blew It! – This one was a pretty fun one as well, because despite not gathering a huge audience due to the fact that other bands were playing in the other rooms, those who were here came all smiles AND remaining band members of the band but also from others’ (Modern Baseball we’re looking at you!) decided to step in from the other side of the room. Thumbs up to singer Tanner Jones, who kept going his singing instead of just laughing! Call If Off also played acoustic later and it turned out to be another great success for them. These guys keep on collecting cupcake points amongst our team, really.
On that shiny Saturday we also had the chance to see Modern Baseball and You Blew It! (full band this time) perform on the Basement stage and it was purely a delight. While You Blew It! were more of a discovery, I gladly enjoyed the band members’ contagious smiles and smooth sequence of songs. You Blew It! played songs that are not really comparable to any of the other bands, though generally fitting to the whole atmosphere. The songs happened to be sounding really calm and emotional, sometimes surprisingly close to sort of Seahaven(ish) complaints, which was great. I was also quite looking forward to Modern Baseball and not only it met my expectations but it completely exceeded it! Playing songs from newly released album ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’ such as Rock Bottom and also from ‘Sports’ (Re-Do, The Weekend…), Modern Baseball delivered a great performance technically, but incorporated to it a whole emotional and intimate dimension with their sense of sharing and caring. As if it wasn’t enough, they spread a lot of joy and positivity around the room, having fun and showing a contagious happiness.
Headliners The Wonder Years finally hit the stage and tiredness is tangible on both sides of the stage at this right moment. Indeed, it was the last day of tour for The Wonder Years who travelled a lot to play shows recently, but is was also the end of a long, intense evening where everything was following up at different places. This might be the reason the crowd was maybe less packed and the energy a slightly bit decreased. However, it didn’t take anything off The Wonder Years’ performance. Remaining true to itself, it was the opportunity to the band to give a proper goodbye to an awesome crowd, in a country that’s seemingly showed a lot of support along the journey. Playing a selection of songs from their various releases, they obviously focused on ‘The Greatest Generation’, which is great because it has a strong, intense and interesting impact played live in my opinion. The Wonder Years made the front and central rows go nuts as no one there was standing still. What’s lovely to witness with this band besides their honesty is also how emotional they can get and the intimacy they manage to set with their audience, even when it’s a large one. And this was most definitely the case at Dynamo Eindhoven on that night.
Things didn’t finish as The Wonder Years were done, as a hitherto karaoke game kicked off in the main hall, where everyone could participate (and everyone did!) in the most friendly atmosphere I’ve witnessed in a long time! We were very far from the judgmental and shy environment so many gigs are sadly creating at the moment, people were actually natural, free, having fun, despite not singing in tune and definitely not afraid of being somehow quite ridiculous. For once in a very long time, it was all about the music and the moment itself and about actually having fun. As simple as that. And THAT was refreshing. Thank you Dynamo for such a great experience and thank you for the memories!