It was a slow day on the roadwork ridden Polish highways. By the time we arrived in Katowice our hangovers had well and truly fermented and we were glad to be free of the bus. Town was packed for the festival and the meagre selection of hostels in Katowice was fully booked. Ryan had made the executive decision that campgrounds weren’t for us and instead had booked us in for a few nights in a hotel (yup, no spelling mistake there).
We were treating ourselves for the princely sum of 25 Euros a night and if nothing else about Eastern Europe appeals, then this alone should get you there. Despite our southern origins we were Western Princes, wealthy beyond belief and keen to splurge. What time would we be taking breakfast? Would we like the spa heated up now or later? I didn’t even know you needed to heat spas up.
Some of my best memories of Europe will be the gigs that I have been lucky enough to go to. This trend continued last night at Ekko, where I was blown away by the ferocity of Gonjasufi’s psychedelic hip hop.
Ekko is a great little venue not far from the centre of Utrecht. An open bar and collection of tables fill out the spacious room, with bright graffiti bringing a modern edge to this converted house. Beyond the bar is a door through to the dark stage, and as we arrive people are shuffling in.
I don’t know much about Gonjasufi: He is a yoga teacher (no idea how I know this-but wiki confirms it…); I have his first album; and am aware of his loose affiliations with Flying Lotus and the other members of the Low End Theory. This is certainly enough to get me in the door but as we stand nodding to the opening act I realise that I’m not actually sure what he looks like.
The stupidly early start-time of half-nine and Gonjasufi’s haunting vocals suggested it was going to be a fairly languid set and we had medicated accordingly. Was this guy playing now who we had come to see? He certainly looked alternative enough, with one dread hanging down the front of his face and rest of his head shaved to shiny black. Perhaps Gonjasufi had shaved his famous dreads off?
I’m going to take a brief break from the Asian adventures for a bit of a Dutch update. Last night I was lucky enough to head up to Amsterdam to catch Shigeto perform at the mecca for live music that is Paradiso.
Paradiso is an old church that has been converted into a concert venue, and on any one night a number of different artists will play in the different rooms spread throughout the building. The main hall is cavernous, with the high ceiling and tiered balconies creating an impressive sense of grandeur. When coupled with heaving bass and an enthusiastic Dutch crowd it makes for parties like no other and I have already enjoyed a few evenings of worship within its confines.
Smaller artists play in the kleine zaal (small hall), and so with coat check successfully navigated (not quite as straight forward as you might when in the early throes of a truffle trip –it’s the small victories, right?) we pressed through the throngs of people flooding the foyer and headed up the stairs.