Crossing Border vase The Hague

Hell Vs Heaven at Crossing Border

This weekend I had the pleasure to enjoy again  the annual Crossing Border festival which takes place in the Hague. It is only the second time I’ve been to this festival and neither of these times was a disappointment.  You know you are going to listen to some of your favorite writers talking about their last books and if you are lucky enough you can get to chat to them and get yourself a signed copy.

But what is without any doubt the best part of this event is to let yourself be lured by new bands. Bands you have never listened to before, and you even try not to before the concert, because you want that element of surprise to take place.

This year  I was really infatuated by two young bands. They are completely different but have two elements in common: the young age of their members and the genuine enthusiasm triggered by their love for music.

The quirky looks of the Shears twins
The quirky looks of the Shears twins. Photo: Hedi Slimane

On Friday we climbed the stairs to the Heaven, the small stage on top of the Koninklijke Schouwburg. This stage is one of the smallest of the festival and the quality of the sound is not the best. More than heaven it looks like hell, a long dark room, the right atmosphere to see The Garden. The Shears twins form this band from California. Just a base guitar and drums with some electronic beats.

The first thing that strikes you is the looks of the two brothers, especially that of Wyatt at the base, 80s jeans with very high waist, black 80s shirt, bleached blond hair and long earrings.

It brings irremediably David Bowie’s image to our minds. The base guitar is strong, it is the center of their universe like Joy Division’s. Fletcher at the drums makes you think of Kurt Cobain, long blond hair and a childish face. At a certain moment he leaves the drums to jump around the stage with his brother like insane animals feeling free. We can think that it is all paraphernalia but the truth is you cannot stop looking. They have this weird attraction like some kind of witch. Fletcher sits down again at the drums and they play intensively. Wyatt voice is hard, very manly in spite of his androgynous looks. Again we think about David or Ian Curtis. He looks straight to the public, he is strong and he knows we are all bewildered by now, they could do whatever they want that we would not take our eyes off them. They define their music as Neopunk, we can see why, there are many influences on their music, not only post punk, but also hard rock, glam and hip hop.

Little Comets at Crossing Border The Hague 14 November 2015
Little Comets sweating in the Heaven room. Photo: Beppe Simone

Saturday evening, same stage, Heaven, a bit earlier, Little Comets. The band comes from Newcastle, this time the stage was more crowded, three guitars, a base and drums. You like them from the very first minute, fresh music, a lot of guitars, soft drumming, happy tunes, you want to dance and smile like an idiot. They bring thoughts of hope and optimism for this world. Heirs of Talking Heads, with those Caribbean guitar sounds, happy tunes and wonderful voice of Robert Coles, guitar and vocals. We can also think about Crystal Fighters just to compare them with a current band, but Little Comets’ music is more elaborated and more mature in my opinion. They also use support voices, so very often Robert is accompanied by three other members.

Little Comets will be important, it is quite easy to see it coming. They are a more mainstream band, have lots of talent and their feet on the ground. They can even transform Hell in Heaven.