On a grim Tuesday night in February, artists from all over the world find their way towards the student dorms of Middelburg. For one night only, the entire town transforms into the vibrant festival heart of Stukafest, a national initiative organizing performances in student dorm rooms. The performances are spread across the town centre and every act plays three rounds. Surrounded by half full beer bottles, intellectually deep writing on the walls, and gross dishes in the sink, acts such as Creepy Karpis, Bright Blue Gorilla and Gita Buhari perform.
Creepy Karpis is a nearly literally ear deafening tornado; the vocals of the frontman can barely be heard over de happy bouldering of the electronic guitars, bass and drums. Curious housemates come downstairs to catch a glimpse of the source of the dreamy, tropical and bombastic noise. Rocking guitars, echoing vocals and a catchy bass form the core of songs characterized by a thrilling and exciting buildup, resulting in explosive finales. Creepy Karpis performs with an attitude and mentality that perfectly matches with the students. The second guitarists has his wounded foot up in the air on a chair, in the meantime the drummer burps loudly – it all doesn’t really matter. During Creepy Karpis’ performance anything goes.
Flown in from Los Angeles, musical duo Bright Blue Gorilla finds itself in café Isings. The room, filled with history, stories and the faint smell of coffee, is the perfect stage for the duo. All three rounds are completely sold out and the expectations are high as Michael Glover and Robyn Rosenkrantz turn towards the audience. It immediately becomes clear that Bright Blue Gorilla is very much focused on and involved with its audience, while they perform cheerful, exciting and dreamy songs. The music sounds cinematic, narrated and visualized, on the acoustic guitar and ukelele. Alternating between instruments and vocals, the duo sounds happy, colorful and fantastical. Judging from the bright smiles, the audience clearly enjoys the performance at least as much as the musicians do, and they let the duo take them on a musical journey. The duo tells how they sold all their belongings to be able to travel and compose – they have been doing exactly this for 27 years now. They gave some friendly advice to the students in the room: now is the time to make stupid decisions and take chances, so enjoy every second of it.
Somewhere else in Middelburg, the party has already started even before Gita Buhari climbs the improvisational stage. The student dorm, magically lit by candles and neon lights, is absolutely packed and as soon as the three band members start their first song, the audience gathers gathers closely together. Guitar, vocals and electronics melt together, while the front woman sings about equality, sexuality and existential crises. Almost immediately the audience is drawn towards the music, which has a dreamy, relaxed and romantic sound. The electronic beats, soulful guitar and sultry vocals are mixed together in a sensual cocktail. There’s some dancing: first carefully and subtly, then passionately on the beats from Gita Buhari. Psychedelic and colorful clouds are projected onto the trio, which adds a mysterious vibe to the performance. “I dream of a time when conflict ends,” sings the charismatic front woman. During the Stukafest performance of Gita Buhari, the audience catches itself in such a dream, even if it’s only for a short while.
This article was originally written for 3VOOR12 Zeeland.