Back in 2017 I went to Eurosonic Festival in Groningen – it’s a trip myself and friends try to make every year. It’s the coolest showcase music weekend I’ve found and always throws up some special memories. One standout moment from 2017’s event was Hak Baker‘s performance in a small old-fashioned school hall type venue in the centre of the city.
Before we set off that evening for a full programme of music, I drafted up an itinerary for us all. Five of us departed the flat – first gig – Hak Baker. We walked into the venue, a novel room in a side ally of the main square. I had just found ‘Conundrum‘ a few weeks previously so was really looking forward to seeing Hak and the band in the flesh. My friends didn’t know his stuff but trusted my judgement. We got our drinks and stood in waiting.
Hak appeared, his band followed him out. The small crowd that had assembled briefly clapped before falling silent in anticipation – time for the music now…
The band began and Hak began to sing and strum. It didn’t seem crisp but we got into it. As the show progressed, it was clear something was amiss – the singing faded out, his chords stopped and the band soon ground to a halt too mid song. The room was silent, the band shuffling nervously and Hak standing still on the spot. He was under the weather and although it was a little bit of a tumbleweed moment, the crowd remained in place. Respectful and eager to hear more as we had all seen more than enough promise in the opening songs.
What happened next is something that will stay with us all (and all five of us still talk about it to this day).
The bass player took Hak’s acoustic guitar from him and the band blasted up again. For the next ten minutes Hak free-styled a medley of random tidbits on top of the beats. He wasn’t in the mindset to perform some of his own intimate songs that night but the freestyle that followed was absolutely spellbinding. I’ll never forget it, the guy is so so talented. He and the band overcame adversity with music – they never hid – true professionals.
The gig ended and the crowd went crazy, we had been treated to something unique. Hak was commended by each that saw it as he sat on the side of the stage afterwards. I’ll forever have the upmost respect for him (and his bass player). It was a lesson to anyone wondering how to react when things go a little wrong — it inspires.
‘Cool Kids‘ is his new single and it’s absolutely superb.
About ‘The Sound Sniffer’
The Sound Sniffer is a music blog that’s still only a baby – Founded in early 2019 by Kevin Coakley, a music writer and ghostwriter. ‘The Sound Sniffer’ also runs gigs and showcases in London since Oct 2019. The showcases are picked from artists found in the blog’s submission inbox.
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