If the first day (available here) was a colorful one, the second day promises nothing but good vibes. With Moderat, Channel Tres, Little Simz and the solo return of Bolis Pupul, we couldn’t wait to experience the finale of the second edition of the CORE Festival 2023.
Core Festival – 28 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.
A new hope
We found ourselves in front of the Ardo Stage a little late to enjoy the full set of Belgian rap mates Caballero & Jeanjass. It’s hard to have missed them, but we’re nostalgically reacquainted with this duo, who have made their mark on the Belgian rap game like godfathers from the style. By now, we’ve learned to put some respect in their names. For the sake of discovery, we’re heading for JPEGMAFIA.
JPEGMAFIA @ Core Festival – 28 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.
Peggy, Peggy, Peggy ! The crowd is ready to get into the flow of the crazy Baltimore rapper. Launching his own tracks on the fly and in front of his JP backdrop, the rapper will be skimming his latest album and classics like “BALD !” (just like him) and “Lean Beef Patty“, which will set the scene for the first REAL CORE Festival moshpits. We find him all dapper and ready to “Scared The Hoes” as the artist doesn’t hesitate to share his life energy directly with his fans, multiplying his interactions with the audience with an infectious smile and high energy that will have us sweating the whole set. Close to a Denzel Curry show with a random element (him), JPEGMAFIA fulfilled all its promises and did its work proud this afternoon.
We’re off to see Kokoroko on the main stage. Perhaps it was a slight scheduling error for this concert, as it’s very strange for us to switch from the frantic beats of JPEGMAFIA to the gentle African music of the London band. Let’s not overdo it, the show is good. With 8 musicians and a real powerful pleasure on stage, we just weren’t in the best conditions to enjoy this show, which could have been a good start to the second day. We therefore missed out on this show, which had the power to get the early crowd dancing, in greater numbers than the day before, and to sublimate this beautiful sunny Sunday. It’s clear that for reasons of taste, Kokoroko has been somewhat forgotten, despite the band’s qualities.
On the adventure
We’re taking advantage of this small gap on the bill to take a look at the festival site. Located in the Parc d’Osseghem, the CORE Festival is not limited to three stages. Between the mini clubs, the works of art and the Orlo, Nabo and Domo (club/stages a little far from our music tastes, but which had the merit of bringing back the most party-goers), we’re still amazed at the breadth of the project. So we’ll pass on the Goldband gig, keeping an ear out for what’s on offer elsewhere, and taking the temperature before a big night starting with the great Little Simz.
Little Simz @ Core Festival – 28 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.
From Botanique to l’AB to the Core Festival’s ARDO Stage, the toughest female rapper of the moment moves through the stages as she spit her rhymes. Her album “NO THANK YOU” blew away the charts in 2022, so it was with great anticipation that we finally had the opportunity to discover Little Simz on the big stage. Alone on a recorded choir, it’s on “Silhouette ” that the rapper presents her work. A track full of emotion that she finds hard to contain behind her closed face and opaque Prada glasses, Little Simz lives his gig with a rare intensity. No time for that, the fire is lit as She brings her messages of inclusivity, strength and freedom fights to the forefront with “101 FM” and “Venom“, taken up by the wild crowd. The star feels at ease as she drops the mask and brings in her musicians, all dressed up like her, for a new song whose name still escapes us. “Imagine yourself in a dark club in Brussels, here’s the soundtrack“, that was she said. Little Simz still has a lot in store for us, apparently, and we’re looking forward, especially after this live show to see if the future will be as bright as her shows.
Is there really a surprise ? Seen a few months ago in a more than full Botanique, this Sunday marked the return of Channel Tres, the new musical gem that mixes techno from Detroit, House and Disco in Belgium. We rush to the front row to fully enjoy his legendary presence and his dancers who we already know so well. No tricks for this show, we know. Everything rests on the groove of the singer and the frenzied steps of his two hypnotizing dancers. The first notes of “Sleep When Dead” will be enough to simply break our necks, the party can finally begin. The artist spends his time telling his evening stories with his cavernous voice. His girlfriends, his friends, dancing, marijuana but above all he creates a universe that we had already touched with our fingertips to rediscover it tonight with a slightly different setlist. The highlight of the set will undoubtedly be the classic “6am“, which shook the big tent. With his dancing and his voice, hislife energy and hiscommunicative passion, Channel Tres took the CORE into a world of glitter that we don’t want to leave, that we don’t know how to leave thanks to our darling, “Sexy Black Timberlake”.
Channel Tres @ Core Festival – 28 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.
We recover from our emotions for a luxurious gig. There’s still Alt-J to see ! The popular English band takes the main stage with their alternative rock. Although we weren’t the most convinced by their albums, especially after the Channel Tres avalanche, our curiosity paid off. A fine position on the bill, allowing us to enjoy the discography at length. Between references to their opus “An Awesome Wave“, and a few stage novelties like the song “The Dream” at the end of the set, the band delivered an intense show, with a rhythm that never moved with a pure sound, much more solid than on CD. The crowd is on its feet, and each song is greeted with joy, under Joe Newman‘s little jumps. Thank you, Merci, Dank u, the festival season is back, and we’re delighted to be able to meet you again. After an excellent encore, the ever-popular “Breezeblocks “brings” Alt-J”‘s pleasant set to a good and beautiful end.
And it’s already over
Moderat @ Core Festival – 28 May 2023 // Mademsku for Ctrl Alt Music.
We bid farewell to the Endoma stage to find our favorite Bolis, this time alone surrounded by his synths. A far cry from the universe he shared with his colleague Charlotte Adigéry. Here it’s all projection and new beat, in a room too sparsely filled for our liking, but which is surely getting ready for Moderat. Well, they don’t know what they’re missing, so if we didn’t know anything about the artist here, we’ve ( again ) made quite a discovery. With ethereal, distorted projections of his own face, the musician introduces us to his very own world. From Kraftwerk to Chemical Brothers, Bolis plays the ARP Odyssey like he sings, making us float and dance to his heart’s desire. We invite you to listen to this track, which has transported us far without substance.
We’ll have had an earful before Moderat, which may have been unfortunate (for them) that our expectations were too high. The Berlin trio, a major reference in electronic music, had us very excited, but here the bar was perhaps a little high after this sonic experience. With a crazy light show, the hype quickly fell for a much more classic concert, where the audience seemed rather disinterested. The songs went on, the lights went on, and we experienced a few moments of grace, notably with “A NEW ERROR” from their 2009 eponym album, but the memory won’t last forever. Perhaps a little too small for the big stage, perhaps and above all too surprised by the small tented stage, we nevertheless left CORE Festival 2023 delighted, and full of new things to tell, to understand.
We’ll be back to sum it all up in an article, as the weekend was rich in music and emotion. That second day, as you may have noticed, was quite something. Between the dazzle of Channel Tres and the minor disappointment of Berlin, this was a unique festival. We’ll be back tomorrow for a final summary, so don’t miss out !