Live Reports

CORE FESTIVAL 2023: Day 1

The festival season is finally underway, and our marathon begins this weekend at the end of May at Parc D’Osseghem for the CORE Festival. Off to a good start ?

Nu Genea @ Core Festival – 27 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.

And the sun was

There’s something Neapolitan about the weather on this Saturday. The festival began for us with Italy’s Nu Genea, a duo project converted into a live band for the occasion which intent on making their mark on our summer with their funk/disco straight out of the long list of italian bands in this style. We’ve known it since last year, but once again, sound and image are just amazing considering the size of the festival. One more reason to enjoy the band’s musical antics !

With their album “Bar Mediteraneo“, it’s apero time ! An Italian cross between Los Bitchos and Altin Gün, the concert gets off to a gentle start. The azzurri-clad singer takes us on a gentle ride, supported by musicians with smiles on their face and gold in their fingers, same color as the Madonna’s cape that she won’t hesitate to exibit in a set that goes from strength to strength for this chill mood. Unknown to us, we enjoyed this little discovery right from the start.

At the same time, that’s kind of why we’re here… We’ve certainly studied the line-up, but it’s at the CORE that we often make our most beautiful discoveries (like Fatima Yamaha last year). And then, as we already know them, the virtuoso duo of Domi & JD Beck take us back to the ENDOMA stage, the big tent of this festival.

Lounge atmosphere for the first day

Expected as never before by our team, the duo who made their name on Youtube, TikTok , have gone so far as to bring back the aesthetic memes on stage…Sitting on a toilet (yes) , Domi begins his jazzy scales while a minion meme is broadcast on the festival’s giant screens. It’s enough to make us laugh at the start of the set, in which the duo wander through their (excellent) latest project, while taking pleasure in covering classics such as Weather Report or the great Wayne Shorter, all in two and with disconcerting ease. “F*ck, I have to sing on this one”, JD Beck uses polyrhythm to mimic MacDemarco‘s voice on “Two Shrimps”, although the multi-instrumentalist was not invited on stage, much to our regret. A great success nonetheless, the show lived up to all its promises, and is already a serious contender for our podium of the festival’s best shows.

Masego @ Core Festival – 27 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.

Back on the mainstage where the sun summoned Masego. The Jamaican-born artist who has buzzed thanks to COLORS with “Navajo“. It’s a return to softness for this artist who mixes funk and reggae with a hint of trap. Although not being the most memorable concert, we enjoyed watching this artist who has already invoked the spirits of the future Couleur Café. Whether on vocals or saxophone, Masego unfurls his young discography, seducing an audience of connoisseurs who seem to share in the pleasure. In a musicality that only Jamaica can provide, we have already released our best dance steps.

And the level goes up

Pusha-T ! Nothing else. Last year we were spoilt for choice as rap fans with Action Bronson and the NAS legend, but this year’s line-up focused more on electronic music. Not that we’re complaining ! Among the names to not miss for lovers of letters and beats, we’ve got the top of the current American line-up. “Let The Smoker Shines The Coupes kicks in, accompanied by the gimmick of Kanye West‘s former protégé to launch the first moshpits, on the rhythm of the 808s in an atmosphere a notch above his set at Coachella.

Pusha-T @ Core Festival – 27 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.

Rap is so good when it’s well done, and Pusha-T is logically one of the best in the business to prove it. With no backings, the rapper will unroll his hit album of 2022: “It’s Almost Dry“, and the least we can say is that on stage,it takes on an even different dimension. A little nod to his collaborations with the YE through “Mercy” which will be taken over by the audience to end with “Move That Dope” by Future and “I Don’t Like” by Chief Keef, enough to get back in shape for the next ones. That’s it, folded it’s square, Pusha-T will have been generous with his audience in an American-style show reminiscent of last year’s Denzel Curry show, only a little more lyrical.

Would you like some more TikTok ? Pink Pantheress, the hyperpop queen, finally arrives in Belgium. Will the icon be able to live up to her status in real life ? It’s off to a great start, in any case. Joined by her legendary handbag, the diva arrives to the cheers of an audience … of the TikTok crowd. ‘Already‘ classics like Passion or Nineteen feels like bullets, and the beauty plays with us as much as she want to. We’d already seen the viral videos of her rather catastrophic shows, but this is nothing of the sort. With a drummer following her jungle beats, the energy is there and we quickly get into the swing of the show with some good musicians. A rather random DJ break, under the pretext that she needs to put back on some lipstick, dampens the mood a little, but the finale on “Boy’s A Liar Pt.2” , in total and assumed playback, only ends a simple, sweet and effective show. We were afraid of the result, but we got what we were looking for: Good hyperpop.

Pink Pantheress @ Core Festival – 27 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.

The evening falls slowly as the crowd gathers at the main stage for one of the events of this European festival season, a live performance by NxWorries (Anderson .Paak & Knxwledge). Quite rare live, the multi-instrumentalist’s rap project nevertheless made him a household name in 2015 with “Suede“, a track we’ll have the chance to see realized live a few minutes later. As a true fashion icon, it’s no surprise to see the artist’s presence at the feet of his producer’s wall of sound, elevated with his turntables. Without being the most transcendent live show of the day, the energy is high and Anderson has fun on stage, away from his drums at times, much to our regret. His soulful vocals set to Knxwledge‘s insane beats hit all the right notes, and the star even had the luxury of taking the lead of the turntable to get the red-hot crowd dancing.

Nx Worries @ Core Festival – 27 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.

A fine performance from the American duo, who put on a show that was different from what we’d expected, but with a great deal of fun and love for beats and R’n’B. Covering much of 2016’s “Yes Lawd ! “album, the setlist is meticulous, and we’re delighted to finally see these two stars on the same stage and in such a beautiful setting. The all star duo have nothing left to prove, and they celebrated with us this evening to our biggest pleasure. The girls want to party, and the sexy dude is more than happy to invite some of the female audience on stage to rock their best dance moves alongside the king of the night. A main stage that turns into a club, no less ! Good job, really.

It’s our turn to celebrate !

With The Blessed Madonna on the Alt Verde (i.e. the DJ stage) and Charlotte Adigéry & Boris Pupul in the famous ENDOMA tent, we were faced with our first schedule headache. We decided to watch the duo’s debut to get a slight idea of the show, having loved their latest project “Topical Dancer” and the end of the evening with the Madonna. And we’re still biting our fingers… We can’t do a full live report on the most exciting Belgian project of the moment, but the fifteen minutes we got were incredible. Under Bolis’s crazy beats, Charlotte metamorphoses under the soft bass of her crazy voice. It’s beautiful, but we’re on the move, ending on the boom boom side. Any regrets? No, we just didn’t know it was going to be this good, until next time though.

The Blessed Madonna then ! DJing for CTRL ALT MUSIC is unusual, but this one’s got some mooves, and for the boomers in the back, a DJ is just as much a musician as Kerry King (and that’s a compliment). In the ALT VERDA arena, overlooked by the Atomium, we were treated to a set worthy of the name. Dance and kicks that makes you bleed. If Angèle repeats the same uninteresting live set on the main stage, we’re in for a real treat to rediscover the sonic palette of the artist. It’s stomping, it’s moving and the lasers light up this set clocked at 130 BPM, magnified by a superb cover of “Such a Shame”by Talk Talk. With a more random vibe at the middle of the set and a rather abrupt end, we came out empty and happy from this first day of the CORE.

This first day bore all its promises. Under a magnificent weather and with an organization, a sound, a bill and good food at the rendez-vous, the CORE is now something we have to look for for the next years. For this day, we did not have a favorite crush, the level was high and we leave satisfied with each gig seen, with perhaps a little more love for having finally seen NxWorries ! See you tomorrow, same time, same place ?

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