PUT ME °N IT was first invited to curate a stage at Soundwave Festival Croatia in 2010, which was a huge honour and pleasure. We returned for Soundwave 2012 with a bigger and better line up - in total there were 15 of us - for a beach party on the Saturday afternoon and a main stage session on the Sunday afternoon.
The beach party included DJ sets from ESKA who played a valiant and brilliantly eclectic set through technical turbulence, Ghostpoet whose was session so full of in your face heaters I can't imagine what the hell he plays at night, and Eric Lau who took us on a musical journey from J Dilla to Jimi Hendrix. Tranqill hopped on the mic to host and the rest of the crew came out to dance and support. The beach stage at the new site is truly a site to behold; situated directly over the turquoise water, half the crowd is partying in the sea and the other half is in their swimwear dancing and sunning themselves in front of the DJ booth, splashing about in the shallows sipping smoothies, or chilling on the rocks underneath the shade of the pine trees.
The Sunday afternoon live session on the main stage was a very special moment for us. It takes a lot to attract the crowd away from the water down at the beach stage, but by the end of our session we'd managed to do just that. Szjerdene and her band started us off, her mellifluous tones stopping passers by in their tracks, glamorous long black dress and hair billowing in the wind. Tanya Auclair followed with her quirky yet catchy alt-pop and impressive one-woman band set up, flooring the audience as she artfully multi-tasked between uke, synth, percussion, looper and voice to create crunchy layers of juicy goodness. UK rapper/ producer Tranqill quite literally burst forth with his short and anything but sweet set of gritty tales that brought South London to the Dalmatian coast for an exciting, tension-filled minute. Tranqill's set was hosted by regular collaborator, Washington DC's rapper/producer extraordinaire Oddisee, who showed his experience and skill as a live artist, delivering a charismatic and passionate set of songs from his recently released debut album. Tawiah and her live band came next, and if there were any stragglers queueing for a beer before she took the mic, there were none afterwards as that incredible voice soared over the site and commanded their attention. For many people the highlight of the festival, Tawiah skanked, rocked and literally tore up the stage (her drummer The PSM jumped on top of the drum kit at one point, as the stage crew looked on in horror but couldn't stop filming it on their camera phones). We finished with newcomer Anna Meredith, an accomplished classical composer whose new electronic material is easily some of the most exciting I've heard since I first stumbled across a young man named Steve Ellison six years ago, and whose performance elicited at least one marriage proposal. Eric Lau held the afternoon together DJing in between sets, and the stage crew somehow managed to stay calm despite my very ambitious programming. Video coming soon...