Le Guess Who 2014: Awards Edition | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, January 23rd, 2021  

St. Vincent

Le Guess Who 2014: Day Four, Le Guess Who 2014: Day One, Le Guess Who? 2014, Le Guess Who? 2014: Day Three, Le Guess Who? 2014: Day Two, Selda, St. Vincent, The Homesick, Owen Pallett, Hauschka, Helado Negro, Autechre, Binkbeats

Le Guess Who 2014: Awards Edition, November 23rd, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 Photography by Laura Studarus
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Trying to recap/relive Le Guess Who? is a daunting proposition. Sure, it’s a four-day festival. We at Under the Radar love ourselves some four-day festival actions. But with so many different sides to Le Guess Who?, trying to explain the Netherlands-based event is a bit daunting. There’s Fuzzland for garage/guitar fans, the Drone Fest (a full 24-hours of low frequency fun!), Le Mini Who, featuring the best in upcoming Dutch artists, and Le Bizarre featuring local artists and crafters. That doesn’t even cover their regular slate of performers, where Under the Radar favorites such as St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, Owen Pallett and more did what they do best—kick some serious ass.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of a few of our favorite moments over the four days of Le Guess Who?, presented in award form. If we could we’d give each of you an actual old-school soccer trophy. Instead, know that you’ll always be the kings and queens of our music-loving hearts.

The Cake on Cake Award: St. Vincent

Did Annie Clark really need to present songs from her self-titled fourth album with choreographed dance moves, flashing lights, and a melodramatic roll down a small flight of stairs? No. Would we have it any other way? Hell no!

The Energizer Bunny Award: Every Freaking Performer at The Drone Fest

As part of their slate of events, Le Guess Who? hosted a 24-hour long Dronefest. As the name would imply performers (which included Tim Hecker and Julianna Barwick) were invited to drone in any way, shape, or form. The event also included classical performers, DJs, and very very comfy cushions. At a certain point it didn’t include me—as I regretfully had to shower and sleep.

The Cure Spirit Award: The Homesick

On Saturday Le Mini Who, a day event within Le Guess Who? aimed at showcasing the best in upcoming Dutch acts, took over 30 coffee shops, restaurants, and record shops in the greater Utrecht area. Among those to perform was The Homesick, a Dokkum, Netherlands band that plays like Robert Smith hiding out in a grungy garage somewhere. Stay chipper kids and remember—boys don’t cry.

The “Me Too!” Award: Owen Pallett

While the violinist wasn’t an official part of the Drone Fest activates, he did close out his set with “The Passions,” turning the final note of the In Conflict cut into an extended drone. The act was punctuated with a well-deserved, self-satisfied laugh.

The Two-Hanky Performance: Hauschka

Hauschka’s delicate performances play like time-lapse photography of a building slowly falling into decay. (Admittedly, this image is probability lodged in my brain thanks to the title of his newest album, Abandoned City). His performance at Janskerk, a cavernous church, accompanied by a lighting installation that ebbed and flowed along with the music, was emotional to say the least. Who knew that throwing vibrators into the open top of a grand piano could be considered art of the highest order? 

The Fred Astaire Award: Helado Negro

Helado Negro’s melodic, Spanish-language electro pop was built more for swaying than getting down. But that didn’t stop the Brooklyn-based artist from bringing out two tinsel-covered backup dancers. For 45 minutes his set felt like a slow-motion rave hosted by Jim Henson.

The “Do it in the Dark” Award: Autechre

No lights, no bars, and no exit. Autechre’s late-night set had a very specific set of rules. Given the duo’s vibrant electronic squeals, this made for some very intense listening. But you can’t argue with the fact the artists were presenting their work exactly how it was intended.

The “Bout Time” Award: Binkbeats

On Saturday, Dutch producer Binkbeats unveiled a composition he’s been working on for the better part of two words. A melodic percussive piece that featured the solo performer playing a whole slate of instruments, it was well worth the wait. (To say nothing of a brilliant display of musicality.)

The Festival Queen: Selda

Okay, confession time: I doubted Le Guess Who? Why put a Turkish protest singer on as your headliner when you’ve got people like St. Vincent on the lineup? With all do respect to Ms. Clark (who held her own and then some), no one could have ended the fest quite like Selda. A big-voiced performer who brought emotion to every line, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t speak Turkish or that she couldn’t speak English (“This song is…freedom” she declared before launching into another barn burner), by the end I found myself dancing with strangers. Every festival should be so lucky to have such a jubilant ending.

And so, that ends our Le Guess Who? excitement for 2014. A big “dank u” to all the organizers who brought us all the way to Utrecht to have some fun. Mark your calendars—next year’s fest is Nov 19-22.

Check out photos from day one featuring Einstürzende Neubauten, Helado Negro, and Paus.

Check out photos from day two featuring Perfume Genius, Iceage, Dean Blunt, Bonnie Prince Billy, and Brandt Brauer Frick

Check out photos from day three featuring Swans, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Binkbeats, Ela Stiles, and Hauschka.

Check out photos from day four featuring Owen Pallett, tUnE-yArDs, St. Vincent, and Selda.











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