Still, while rousing, it’s indicative of the experimentalism on show at Rewire that Smith was one of the more underwhelming performances of the weekend. After three days off-the-wall eclecticism, a subdued set with little change of pacing, in a style that already has lengthy cultural footprint, didn’t provide the same nutrients it may otherwise would have. What has consistently attracted me to Rewire’s lineups has been the array of innovative upstarts and burgeoning talents, intermixed with under-regarded artists seemingly hitting career highs, that continue to confound your expectations.
It’s fitting then that closing the festival is the utterly captivating Kelela
; an artist who has released an early album of the year contender and retold her tunes of unrequited love with the audience in the palm of her hand. A few songs in she broaches the subject matter of that latest electronic and RnB fused album when, almost immediately, an enthused audience member interjects with a cry of “no skips!”, much to her delight.
As I exit PAARD for a final time, those same sentiments ring true for Rewire Festival as a whole. Whatever venue you venture into, you are sure to be treated to transportive sonics, site-specific practices or otherwise positive provocations you’ll remember long after coming back out. Even if you know nothing of the lineup, its meticulous curation and scheduling, in a cityscape that requires no more than 15 minutes walk between venues, allows you to breeze from gig to gig in full confidence of the calibre on show – and still have time to pick up some Turkish pizza. For those that feel enriched by cross-genre experimental sound, there are simply no skips, no misses, only hits down in Den Haag.