Cross-Linx Festival 2015 – 11th February 2015 (Muziekgebouw Ij- Amsterdam)

Last Wednesday, the music appointment with Dutch winter arrived with one of the most special festivals of the year, the Cross-Linx Festival, which this year moved to Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ to display its usual fusion of classical music with elements like rock and electronics. With the stellar presence of Mark Lanegan, Squarepusher and Bryce Dessner, some of them accompanied by the Metropole Orkest, continuity was given to a line-up that in recent years has been able to shown artists like The National, Jose Gonzalez, Lamb or Eels.

Cross Linx 2015 Amsterdam - Mark Lanegan + Metropole Orkest

In charge of opening the cold main hall of the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ was guitarist of the American band The National Bryce Dessner, who acted as a perfect master of ceremonies in the most classic part of the festival in which besides the guitarist himself, violinist Pekka Kuusisto and violist Nadia Sirota were responsible for play some neoclassical pieces composed by the smallest of the Dessner. The Finn was the first to hit the stage to perform up to two pieces which at times reached to sound a little bit repetitive due to the little number of chords used, quite the contrary than the piece performed on viola by American Sirota which had a greater variety sound that turn provoked a better reaction from a public, who were until then static. After another piece in which both were accompanied by a cello and a violinist of the Metropole Orkest, the time that Dessner defend their own creations arrived, this time opting for a theme inspired as he remarked by two very opposite poles as Steve Reich and Jerry Garcia, known for being the lead singer and guitarist of the psychedelic the Grateful Dead. The end result was a song of about 10 minutes duration with more passages of minimalism by the first one than madness and power  from the second, and also served to demonstrate mastery on the guitar by a Dessner than in their group work on The National not used to such exhibitions of virtuosity.

Cross Linx 2015 Amsterdam - Bryce Dessner

The second act of the festival on the main stage reserved to us the presence of the headliner, Mark Lanegan and his band, accompanied in this case by the entire Metropole Orkest. The show just over an hour served mainly for own personal brilliance of Mark Lanegan, that proved to be the real protagonist with his characteristic scraped voice and disturbing letters that transported the audience to grim scenarios at the level of Tom Waits and Nick Cave. A spectacular start, in which highlighted the powerful "When Your Number Is not Up" or "One Way Street" served to show the tone for the whole show, a variable orchestration which at times seemed to sweeten too much Mark's dark proposal because of an excess of string instruments, while the best moments of the concert would be those where the wind section happened to be the protagonist. An amazing James Bond style version of "One Hundred Days", present on that already distant wonder that was Bubblegum, opened an ending rush that allowed us to also enjoy the more recent "I'm The Wolf" and "The Gravedigger's Song" with a greater presence of the drums and guitar of the band itself, closing a concert that if will be qualified as memorable if it wasn't for the decaffeinated and soft 20  intermediary minutes.

Cross Linx 2015 Amsterdam - Squarepusher + Metropole Orkest

The closing of the festival at the main stage was provided by English Squarepusher, which like his predecessor, he was also going to be followed by the Metropole Orkest. Known for his pivotal role in the global recognition of Drum and bass thanks to his publications on Warp Records, his style seemed at first to fit like a glove to the possibility of a merger with classical music, but beyond the initial surprise, the combination was a little dingy because of the lack of integration of the wide variety of instruments in the British proposal. Using an orchestra like a mega Fruit Loops Studio were led to a no overall sense where only the great percussionist of the band ran away and, for a few moments, also a string section thanks to their high notes managed stand out of the general lethargy . Far beyond form a few enthusiastic guys more typical of a rave than the  show they were witnessing interaction between two different worlds left more darks than lights and the feeling of having listened the soundtrack of a video game instead of an awaited musical proposal that was presumed at the beginning.