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AlphavilleKlein Strand, Oostende, Belgium
24th to 28th August 2022
W-Fest 2022 Day 3 with Jo Lemaire, Heather Nova, Stereo MC’s, The Proclaimers, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Level 42, Jeanne Mas and Alphaville

Back again on the beach for day three. Since we are coming closer to the weekend now I expected more people to attend the festival. Weather was a bit cloudy still in the morning, bit the forecast did not look too bad. I was looking forward to seeing HEATHER NOVA again… saw her before and it was always great. I was also curious about LEVEL 42 and especially about ALPHAVILLE. Seen very different show in the past - from terrible to very good - and I was wondering how the Germans would perform today.

But first things first and starting with JO LEMAIRE, a singer from Belgium who had a national and European hit in 1981 with the Serge Gainsbourg song ‘Je suis location te dire que je m’en vais’. Her musical career already started end of the seventies with the New Wave band JO LEMAIRE & FLOUZE. She was not only successful in that band, but also as a solo artist where she released music in different languages. Now she was opening the festival Friday… Once very famous in Belgium in the early eighties, she still can put a great Chanson performance on stage. The before mentioned Gainsbourg song was just as second one on the setlist. The whole concert was in French Chanson style, probably not something for anyone, but musically and technically presented perfectly. Jo surely had some lovers of her music in front of stage enjoying the concert. You do not have to like it personally, but I like the variety of styles being offered at W-Fest.

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HEATHER NOVA, the Bermudian singer/ songwriter who grew up on a sailboat in the Caribbean and went on to sell over 2 million albums and play over 600 shows in her 20-year career to date, was up now. I saw her in cosy clubs before and now she was standing on the big W-Fest stage. Just let’s start with a little statement about the shows from her: “In this time of terrible uncertainty and fear, the one thing we have to hold on to is hope. And through this dark time, one of the things that’s brought us hope and comfort has been music. […]”HEATHER NOVA emerged in the early 90s. Her first record was hailed as “A stoned black olive among drab greens” by NME and her second album ‘Oyster’ went on to top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and took her on her first world tour. Her self-penned songs have always been raw and emotional, frequently injected with cool Pop melodies; a combination which often had her falling through the cracks between genres. Just equipped with her guitar and accompanied by cello, Heather ruled the stage. Her acoustic performance was amazing, her vocals fantastic and later on she also switched to stage piano. When she greeted the audience, she told them that she missed being on stage and that we probably won’t ever again take live music for granted. She later on excused for “crashing the eighties party” with a new song, namely ‘Fragile’. I was especially happy to hear ‘Like a Hurricane’, originally by NEIL YOUNG. Setlist HEATHER NOVA: 01. Maybe An Angel / 02. London Rain / 03. Rewild Me / 04. I Wanna Be Your Light / 05. Winterblue / 06. Like Lovers Do / 07. Fragile / 08. Sea Glass / 09. Fool For You / 10. Like A Hurricane / 11. Walk This World

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English Hip Hop / Electronic Dance group STEREO MC’S was up next. They were already formed in 1985 and had an international top hit with their single ‘Connected’. After releasing eight albums for Island Records, K7, Graffiti Recordings, and Pias, they formed the label Connected with Terranova to release their own material and that of other artists within the house / techno / electronic medium. Their sixth studio album, ‘Double Bubble’, was released in July 2008, followed by their seventh, ‘Emperor’s Nightingale’, in August 2011. In December 2008, they supported MADNESS at the O2 Arena in London. After Chanson and an acoustic performance, finally the music on stage upped the tempo. The combination of the Rap and Hip Hop style vocals with the female backing vocals worked perfectly. A strong beat made you dance. You got to hear songs like the funky ‘Pressure’, ‘Connected’ or ‘Step it up’ made you move. I just heard voices afterwards saying “That will be hard to beat today”. Great show! After the festival day I can say, this was really the best show for me today.

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THE PROCLAIMERS are a Scottish band consisting of identical twins Charlie and Craig Reid. They are best known for their songs ‘Letter from America’ and ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’. Characteristic of the group is the singing style with a Scottish accent - which I love a lot. They first celebrated success in 1987 with their debut album ‘This Is the Story’. In 1990, their cover version of Roger Miller’s 1965 classic ‘King of the Road’ became an international hit, charting throughout Europe. With the Scotsmen, we now got some well-made Rock music with typical sounds you connect with Scotland and sometimes a slight Country feel. You somehow hat the feeling you are in the Highlands instead of a beach in Belgium. When ‘I’m gonna be (500 miles)’ started, people loudly screamed and sang along. Setlist THE PROCLAIMERS: 01. Dentures out / 02. Over and done with / 03. There’s a touch / 04. Thing as they are / 05. Let’s Get Married / 06. Cap in hand / 07. Letter from America / 08. Life with you / 09. Make my heart fly / 10. Sunshine on Leith / 11. Then I met you / 12. I’m on my way / 13. I’m gonna be (500 miles)

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KID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS were a band I had never heard before. At least nothing rang a bell when I read the name on the festival billing. The US-American band plays a lot of different musical styles. The most important elements are Swing, Latin American and Caribbean music, Soul and Disco. The band had their most successful period in the 1980s, when they had several hits in European and US charts. The ensemble’s biggest success was 1981s third album ‘Tropical Gangsters’, which reached #3 on the UK LP chart and contained three Top 10 singles: ‘I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby’, ‘Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy’ and ‘Stool Pigeon’. On September 9th, 2011, KID CREOLE released his new studio album ‘I Wake Up Screaming’ after more than ten years. THE COCONUTS (Kid’s three female dancers / backing singers) were “looking good today”. The space in front of the stage was very crowded now and people celebrated along to the happy-mood music with a Caribbean and Reggae feel. Happy faces all around. Anyone on and off stage was smiling. Perfect music for a sunny afternoon. ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ i.e. was sung by THE COCONUTS alone and they did it pretty well. This cncert was really entertaining. Setlist KID CREOLE: 01. Buttermilk Channel / 02. Call It A Day / 03. I’m A Wonderful Thing Baby / 04. Broadway Rhythm / 05. Animal Crackers / 06. Stool Pigeon / 07. Can’t Buy Me Love / 08. Indiscreet / 09. Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy / Encore: 10. Caroline Was A Drop-Out

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LEVEL 42 were surely a band many attendees were waiting for. The British music group formed in 1979. Their music is characterized by pronounced Funk elements and catchy melody structures. Occasional instrumental pieces also show clear influences from Jazz. Through two vocally very different singers, Mark King and Mike Lindup, the songs gain additional depth. The hitherto most successful single, ‘Lessons in Love’, came out in April 1986 and also charted highly in Europe and even the US. In 2010, the band celebrated their 30th anniversary with a world tour followed by the release of the EP ‘Sirens’ in 2013. The band was in very good mood, the funky elements were provided by several wind instruments. Mark and Mike were perfectly interacting together. With ‘Running with the family’, one of their hits was presented already very early in the set. The space in front of stage was packed in the meantime with a lot of fans. But to be honest, I expected more of the show. For me, it was too experimental and funky and the vocal performance could have been better, even though technically the songs were played well. Anyway the crowd seemed to love it. Setlist LEVEL 42: 01. Intro / 02. To Be With You Again / 03. Running in the Family / 04. The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) / 05. Children Say / 06. It’s Over / 07. Love Games / 08. Starchild / 09. Something About You / 10. Heaven in My Hands / 11. Lessons in Love / 12. The Chinese Way / 13. Hot Water

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JEANNE MARIE MAS (originally from Alicante, Spain) is a French pop singer. Mas landed her first and greatest success in 1984 with ‘Toute première fois’. Other successful singles include ‘En rouge et noir’ and ‘Johnny Johnny’, both of which topped the French charts. In 2010 she announced in the Télé Star that she would hold her farewell tour that year. But she is still active. In April 2021 she released a new single, ‘Nature Morte’ and toured in May 2022 through various French cities. She has written about twenty albums all in all and surely deserves a late spot in the line-up. The show was kind of wavy and her dark and raspy voice reminded in parts of ANNE CLARK. I must admit that I did not know her or any of the songs. Speaking with guests she played among others ‘Cœur en stéréo’, ‘Sauvez-moi’ or the final song of the set, ‘Rouge et Noir’ which people sang when the song already had faded. There were many fans celebrating her show and she seems to be petty famous in that part of the world. If you wonder why you don’t see any pics of the show, JEANNE did not want any live photographs to be taken.

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Already we reached the final spot in the bill today with ALPHAVILLE. The band’s hits ‘Forever Young’ or ‘Big in Japan’ are unforgotten. Inspired by New Wave acts like ULTRAVOX, XTC and OMD, Marian Gold first met with Bernhard Lloyd and Frank Mertens in Berlin in late 1981. A few months later and after moving from Berlin to the rural idyll of Münster [my hometown btw.] they set up ALPHAVILLE, which took its name from the eponymous film by French movie-director Jean-Luc Godard. The first sound they produced was reckless juvenile Synth Pop that chimed in perfectly with the mood of the early 80s. In January 1984 they released their first song, before mentioned ‘Big In Japan’, which, together with the following singles ‘Sounds Like A Melody’ and ‘Forever Young’ and the homonymous debut album made the band one of the most successful German groups of the 1980s. During this time and shortly after the beginning of the Corona pandemic in early 2020, ALPHAVILLE released their so-called ‘Corona Songs’ via the internet for free: 17 remixes, demos and brand new songs, which in the spontaneity of their creation are reminiscent of the popular CrazyShow project from 2003.

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At the same time, the recordings for the 11th studio album, working title ‘Thunderbaby’, are in full swing. Now, after the long slumber during the pandemic, the work is to be completed this year and will be published in 2022. ALPHAVILLE, with Marian entering the stage last, opened the set with ‘The Jet Set’ just followed by classics ‘Dance with me’ and THE hit ‘Big in Japan’. The band was on fire and very vivid on stage. Still the vocal performance of Marian was not top and sometimes he hat to catch a little breath (maybe a bit less running across the stage would have been good for his voice), but his overall show was amazing. He and his band had so much energy which was transferred immediately to the audience. ‘Sounds like a Melody’ and ‘Forever Young’, when anyone sang along, ended the set. But an encore had to be given after strong command with two more songs. Setlist ALPHAVILLE: 01. The Jet Set / 02. Dance With Me / 03. Big in Japan / 04. Next Generation / 05. The Nelson Highrise (Sector 1: The Elevator) / 06. Flame / 07. Summer in Berlin / 08. A Victory of Love / 09. Sounds Like a Melody / 10. Forever Young / Encore: 11. I Die for You Today / 12. Monkey in the Moon

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All pictures by Dani Vorndran ( /

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