BEST KEPT SECRET 2019
Trusting all of you in your music taste, you probably know that Rock the Casbah is a song by only of the most legendary the English punk rock bands ever: The Clash. Our little steel venue’s name is one to be proud of. Rock the Casbah was released in 1982 as the third song on The Clash’s fifth album Combat Rock. It’s not your typical punk rock song. The song tells the story of Iranian jet fighters, rioting against their authoritarian king by playing rock music from their planes. Its lyrics has various Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish and Sanskrit loanwords in it, such as bedouin, sheikh, rāga, muezzin, minaret and casbah. Although we are interested in this, right now we’re not going to make this into a history class – too busy packing our tent – so we’ll just teach you the most important one: a casbah (say; kas-BAH) is a walled, older or central area of a town or city in North Africa.
This particular casbah story, the one that The Clash’s song was based on, is one of a ban on Western rock music by an Arab king. It’s quite a political story, based on real tales from the time of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The shareef forbids all western disco, dance and punk in his country and tells his people that if they will still listen to it, they will be severely punished. He goes as far as ordering his military’s jet fighters to bomb any people in violation of the ban. And this is where it gets rebellious (as we like it)... While the king’s pilots fly over the city, they hear the people play the music and see the joy it gives them. They also can’t ignore what the music does to themselves, so instead of following orders, they start playing music on their own jet plane radios. Their music fills up the air all over the city with the sounds of guitars, enraging the king. But it is already too late; the population then proceeds to rock the casbah by dancing to the music and singing out loud.
So that is quite a good story, but what is better than one legendary story? It’s two stories.
Clearly the vibe of our Casbah isn’t based on an Arabian fortress. Its atmosphere is modelled loosely on one of the most legendary rock ‘n’ roll places ever, in the musical heart New York City. You know where we are going, right? It’s Country, Bluesgrass, Blues, or CBGB (OMFUG). Just as shady, sweaty and raunchy as ours, CBGB was the home of many first gigs of later legendary musicians like the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads. We wish we could have been there. But we did the second best thing, which is re-enacting that place at Best Kept Secret this weekend, with unlimited good -live- music and loads of beer. (Also we spoke to Ralphy, who has been a bartender at CBGB for 18 years, check out Black Currant Zine #2 for that!).
Since combining two legends didn’t yet feel like quite enough, we thought we’d add a final third story to the tale. See how we created our own Punk Rock Legend below by following it per day.
FRIDAY MAY 31
The start of the festival has to be a really nice one, there is absolutely no other way because first up in The Casbah are REALLY NICE GUYS. Half Mancunian & half Frisian, Really Nice Guys play really nice music for really nice people. They will play a mix between new and forgotten bangers, ranging from wave and garage to funk and punk. They are opening the mayhem from 14:00 till 16:00 so make sure you are ready when the gates of the festival open.
When it’s hopefully still sunny outside, we’ll keep TRISH TRASH inside the iron shed in between the trees from 16:00 to 17:30. Because daylight is wasted on her, this femme fatale only comes out at night. Not only does she organise the underground Grauzone Festival and other shows in Amsterdam and The Hague, you can regularly find her behind the turntables with her impressive collection of vinyl. Expect a mix of punk, post-punk, wave and psychedelic. Be prepared to be seduced by Trish Trash. Unlike the really nice guys – they are just really really nice – her ability to enchant and hypnotize her victims is going to get messy.
After being hypnotized, a paranoid disco trip to the moon awaits you. Because let’s go from femme fatale to homme abnormal with PINK NOISE from 17.30 to 19.00. An intervention of the panentheistic mutant beat waves. Dusty electronic drum-machines, trippy synthesized melodies, screaming schizophrenic voices played from black wax. At 19:00 ..& THE WOLF will eat you up alive till 21:00. He has got a belly full of rattling guitars with a pinch of dark lo-fi electronics. After your (probably liquid) dinnertime ..& The Wolf will give us his finest shit to dance to. Metz, King Khan and soon hopefully his own musical brainfarts as well. Watch this name.
With the falling of the evening on day one it might be a good time to realize it is the weekend, you are at an amazing festival and you can leave everyday life behind for three days. From 21:00 till 23:00 CHARLIE & THE LESBIANS will gladly help you! Welcome into the chaotic, impetuous world of Charlie & the Lesbians, a quartet that explores the edges of their genre to show all aspects of punk. Their DJ-set will do exactly the same.
With those frustrations out, together with a little after dinner/pre-weekend dip, we’re gonna give the night a kick with the blackest coffee from THE VILLAGE. Besides pouring coffee as dark as your soul or sweet as your sister, these guys will kick your ass with their punk rock DJ-set from 23:00 till 00:30.
And what would the Casbah be without the VOLCANO BOYS? NO FUN. These two former hosts may have handed over the keys to BLACK CURRANT, but make no mistake: Volcano Boys will definitely be joining us for two sets full of garage, rock ‘n’ roll and obscure Dutch swing music from 00:30 till 02:00. As for the rest of the weekend you’ll find these World Class Amateur DJ’s at the bar slamming Bloody Mary’s and creating high quality content for their must-follow instagram account.
Together with the keys the Volcano boys gave us came the bands playing the stage. The very first band of the night will make you want to get squatting by coaching you into moving on their dissonant, anarchic guitar sounds. From 02:00 till 02:30 PERSONAL TRAINER will train your ears to be in the best shape they’ll ever be. Not a fit guy in a trendy track suit but lo-fi bedroom style sounds by Willem Smit, also the genius brain behind Canshaker Pi.
Closing off this day from 03:00 to 03:30: DITZ came all the way from our favorite British seaside resort Brighton. This noisy grunge group doesn’t mind pissing people of as long as they can do their thing, being a perfectly tossed vomit of post-punk-indie-hardcore. Bathing suits optional. Find the BLACK CURRANT DJ TEAM (a.k.a. ourselves) in between these bands and of course to close the night and give you a goodnight kiss lasting from 03:30 till 04:00.
SATURDAY JUNE 1
GOODMORNING WORLD, still alive? On Saturday from 12:00 to 13.00 CURRANT NOISE will start the day with a happy hangover and a Bloody Mary. This duo ran into each other at BLACK CURRANT’s zine launch and exhibition at Paradiso. They didn’t get to see Kikagaku Moyo play that evening because of putting on tunes in the basement, but now their song Kodama is a regular in their sets. One half BLACK CURRANT, one half Pink Noise, mix it together and shake your bones and souls awake. Things will get pretty bananas early in the day after that with THE BAKABANAS from 13:00 till 14:30.The Bakabanas don’t go by any rules, but they do have a great collection of “released just yesterday”, “this-sounds-a-bit-unusual” and “god-I-haven’t-heard-this-track-in-ages”. For this special occasion they have brought their loudest, weirdest and coolest guitar tunes. Thou shall dance! And mosh!
That dancing might continue from 14:30 to 16:30 with SYTSE a.k.a. DJ AZRAEL who is always on the lookout for memorable tunes. And of course you can’t stop dancing after this when the legendary brother-team BLACK RICE BROTHERS will chase the cat away from the decks from 16:30 till 18:00. We are not sure if they know what they’re doing behind the wheels of steel, but being the coolest underground booking agency in The Netherlands they for sure know their bands and songs! If all goes well with the brothers, BLACK CURRANT aims to drive you wild and run around the Casbah, get your head banging and play mischief for an hour and a half (18:00 to 19:30, that is).
We will try to get you all exhausted before falling into the hands of TRISH TRASH between 19:30 and 21:00 again. After her, since we’re a fan of the gender, we will keep more women coming by introducing you to COSMIC SILK from 21:00 till 23:00. A dynamic, female DJ duo riding an ethereal tandem bike off into a guitar filled and hook heavy night sky.
From the same musical home of The Hague DJ MAU will play from 23:00 to 01:15. Maurizio Pinna, born in the Italian rock ‘n roll heart of Sardinia, is a DJ and organist of The Hague garage band The Deaf. His records are mainly garage, punk and rock ‘n’ roll. Count on nothing and expect everything. There are no rules. Same thing as we might suggest you do with your life. Because starting the live bands part of our night again are LIFE from 01:15 till 01:45. These multifaceted artists from Hull are our DIY soul mates. Besides kicking against the establishment by playing their killing punk-rock, tackling themes like mass consumption and politics, they design their own merch, zines and more. They recently toured with their good friends Idles and shot a tour diary for us to have a peek into their creative madness (check it out in our upcoming zine). They release on their own label AFGHAN MOON alongside PIAS. It’s only just the beginning.
The last band playing the Casbah edition 2019 will be FORNET from 02:15 to 02:45 Uneasy, guitar twisting, non-conformist collective from the land of the good fries and chocolate (a.k.a Belgium). Everything strange and obscure you’ve ever wanted at 2AM in a festival tent. Dragging you into a whirlwind of peculiar rhythms flooded by jittery effects, they will leave you questioning your whole existence whilst jumping till your feet are bleeding.
From 02:45 until the end VOLCANO BOYS will be closing Saturday and play tunes till we get kicked out.
SUNDAY JUNE 2
We will keep this last part of the story short, as we hope and plan that you won’t be able to focus as much on this day anyway. Some repeat, some plain good new music.
We’ll start you off a bit gentle with CURRANT NOISE into a lazy Sunday with SUCH A BORE from 13:30 – 15:30. When this got announced we received some fan mail: “You can best describe SUCH A BORE DJ Tinka being as boring as fuck. So the best thing is to get bored together, grab a beer and just stand there, if you’re not yawing through the entire set she did something wrong. Or… is that the way she likes it? xoxo – a fan”
COSMIC SILK will be bringing your brains as much as beauty and an ear for songs again one more time by prolonging their fuzzy vibes party from 15:30 to 17:30. Get eaten or wake up now because ..& THE WOLF will chase you once more at 17:30 till 19.00.
Woken up now? You’d better be, because our last but certainly not least new addition to this list of coolest people we could find to do a DJ set is IGUANA DEATH CULT (19:00—20:30). It may even be the case we are all secretly part of their cult. The ever so modest group Iguana Death Cult trade in their shed axes for turntables to display their superior taste in music. Feel blessed. And since we know you guys and grrrls a bit, on Friday half of you where probably still getting your tents ready, walking around the campsite in search of a pump so you don’t have to sleep on the ground, getting cans of beer that will be really nice and warm in the morning… So we’ve asked REALLY NICE GUYS to come again from 20:30 till 22:00. After that, completely in Casbah style, some more concrete dance from behind the eastern wall back in 1985 will come from the second set from PINK NOISE (22:00 – 23.30).
To do ourselves the honor: the BLACK CURRANT DJ-TEAM will close off this unreal weekend by bringing you music just as diverse as the world around us and the interviews on our website. From real 70s dance hits to dark new-wave & merciless screaming guitars. Candy for your ears is guaranteed. Join us from 23:30 till 01:00 so we can tear the Casbah down together.
We don’t want to get emotional, but even thinking about the fact that this closing part will come too, makes us want to party even harder this weekend. Having the keys to the Casbah means we’ll now officially be hosting the stage we’ve crashed last year. Our year flew by doing loads of features online and in our Zine#1 with the coolest bands we know. We’re so grateful and amazingly happy that we get to do things exactly as we want. Different and fun. Focus on the good, the sticky, glittery and crazy. Dream together and do anything we come up with on the spot. We believe in the power of unity and community, in seeing the world through some romantic, pink glasses. We want to ask you all to join, from now on, everyday, and maybe even a bit more, this coming weekend at the Best Kept Secret CASBAH stage.