It’s only few days left till 7th edition of Freedom Sounds Festival. We’ve written many times that this is probably our favourite recurring event in ska, rocksteady and reggae rythms. Spring indoors festival in Cologne, Germany has definitely earned this name. We’ve been there three times already and each time it was simply perfect. The bar is set very high but this year’s lineup allows to expect new record results.
I’m not gonna write too much about this year’s musical attractions, but aside from the poster I’d like to make some personal recommendations, which should push you into visiting Germany next weekend.
Many of the above names and bands have so much recognition that you simply do not need to write anything more here. El Bosso & die Ping Pongs, Dub Pistols, Prince Fatty & Horseman, Top Cats with the special tribute to Prince Buster, Johnny Clarke & The Soothsayers. Winston McAnuff & Fixi – top part of the poster really speaks for itself.
From this set I specifically recommend Natty Bo and his crew. This tribute thing has the huge potential to become the gig of the festival. Top Cats have already played on Freedom Sounds and trust me when I say it was really huge. Will this time will be similar? I have no doubts but we’ll see on Saturday.
A little lower we see Eastern Standard Time.This might be really interesting. No only this is hte ska-jazz top shelf, but also those guys from Washington have just released their first studio recordings since 14 years. I’m sure they’re gonna play a lot of songs from “Time for Change” on stage in Essigfabrik
Last few years The Steady 45s have become such a brand that I feel kinda uncomfortable complementing them more and more. Lately there have been some serious changes here. A vocalist known from previous recordings has left the band and I am very curious how it’s gonna work right now in this new situation. What I’ve seen on some internet movie clips lets me stay very optimistic, to say the least. I can’t wait, really.
Last of the names emphasized on the poster is Jesse Wagner & The Badasonics.You might know this Jesse guy. There’s this band The Aggrolites and he’s been singing there for like more than 15 years. They even said something lately about some new album. Anyway, when he’s now singing with Aggro he releases his musical powers in some other projects. This time it’s a cooperation with Badasonics, a band very closely connected with a Badasonic Records label. We’ve mentioned them last year in the context of Caz Gardiner & The Badasonics album oremiere. There are members of Moon Invaders & Caroloregians playing here and mixing that with Jesse’s voice makes you excpect some fireworks.
Don’t be fooled by a smaller font, which was used to write down the names below. That’s where I used to find some of the most interesting arguments to go to Cologne in April. This year is not any different and there’s lots of jewels here.
I treat Le Grand Miercoles here as a true sensation. We’ve been writing about those guys since 2011. What’s curious, since then they havent’s ever played in our part of Europe. This is a very special occasion to check out live their western mix of rocksteady and surf, which they like to call surf-steady.
Tym bardziej wyjątkowa jest nadchodząca okazja, by zapoznać się na żywo z ich propozycją na westernowy miks rocksteady i surfu, który sami nazywają surf-steady. Prepare your cowboy hats, this is gonna be some serious rodeo.
Void Union is simply the perfect band and its presence on Freedom Sounds makes me really happy. When they’ve played 7 years ago in Warsaw the turnout was, to put it mildly, very low and sepite the magnificent gig I’ve had this feeling that they didn’t get from us what they deserved. I’m sure in Cologne it’s gonna be completely different and I’m so excited with the thought that very soon I’m gonna hear live all those song from “Higher Guns” again. This time they’ll have Riki Rocksteady as a guest vocalist, so I’m also hoping for some cool new stuff.
Los Apartamentos as actually almost hosts on this festival. A local band that have decided to reach true roots. Not ska, not reggae, not rocksteady – their repertoir is true mento. And it’s great too. They’ve just released a vinyl longplay on JumpUp Records and Freedom Sounds is your perfect chance to grab one for yourself. Probably your not gonna get any closer to jamaican moods of the 40s and 50s. Not many bands play stuff like that nowadays, and they’re not that good for sure.
I’ve missed many good names definitely worth mentioning in this post. But trust me, all invited performers keep a very high standard and their gigs are gonna be simply great. One of elementary values of Freedom Sounds, and the secret ingredient making it absolutely unique in this scene is a lack of “fillers”. of course it’s also a matter of taste and not everyone will appreciate averything, but the promoters here are very careful while putting the lineup together. They’re not only making sure that it keeps a certain standard but they’re also able to include some lesser known and recognizable yet still very worth listening bands. Ok, let’s be honest, two days of great gigs and parties till the morning – there’s nothing better waiting for you this weekend. Cologne is the place where you want to be.