This day was also going to be absolute highlight of the festival. With too many rather than too few great bands playing it was impossible to actually see all of them. But an effort could be made and it was absolutely worth it with:
Holy shit! This still reads mouth-wateringly good when writing it down now…
We meant to start the day by seeing Skin on the main stage and we were a bit early for that. So we heard The Sounds play on the secondary stage and introduce us for the first bit of Swedish goodness of the day which made us stay there for a while. Enjoyable music from bands you’ve never heard of – just what you hope to find in those lunch-time festival gigs.
Next we headed on to see Skin play the main stage. After I had seen her in an interview on telly lately, I wasn’t too impressed and thought she was rather lame. But Jean wanted to go anyway. And it was worth it as she was much more powerful stage and there were many bits of Skunk Anansie goodness all over it.
I recently listened to The Kooks and ended up liking their album, particularly for its clear sound acoustic bits. Their live performance was disappointing in comparison as they gave up the clarity in many places for what seemed like a feeble attempt of being more noisy. Not what I was looking for.
The Raconteurs are another new band which deserves a little attention for being with Jack White and Brendan Benson alone. Which deserves a lot of playing for being kick-ass great. And which deserves being looked at for its nicely drawn letters.
And as luck has it, all of those points held for the gig they played at the festival. Their music was fantastic. Jack White – despite having a facial colour and hairstyle that makes him look like a cross-over between Michael Jackson and Robert Smith – is our guitar god. And they had that nicely drawn R put up at the back of the stage. Absolutely fantastic. More of this is needed!
I’m not the biggest Nada Surf fan. But some of their songs are nice and I didn’t see them play last year at Haldern so this was a good opportunity to catch up. Except that it didn’t really happen as their slot happened to be right in the Germany vs. Sweden match of some football tournament. Apparently loads of people at the festival wanted to see that match and the police said that all of them hanging out at the dedicated football screen was too dangerous or so.
So the organisers decided to show the game on the screens next to the secondary stage… where Nada Surf were supposed to play. Football fans cheered. And if there were any Nada Surf fans, they weren’t too vocal. The organisers said that Nada Surf were great to see the need of the game being screened and gave up their slot for that… while the band’s singer said something along the lines of it being strange that at first they were cancelled and then they were asked to play four songs in the middle of the game. Trying to make the best of it I suppose…
While I didn’t watch the game, I still was in favour of Sweden all the time. After all they sent many of their great musicians to play for us… but it didn’t help.
While the football went on, Hard-Fi played. While I found their album quite addictive after seeing them last summer, I don’t think they’re all that great. Particularly seeing them play the main stage after The Raconteurs was a bit of a shame. As the same space that had seemed vivid and brilliant and before, suddenly looked quite empty and a bit lame – particularly when seen from a distance. At least they played their cover version of Seven Nation Army.
With this gig Mando Diao reclaimed the ‘most seen band’ status with me because it has been the fourth time I saw them play live. I still like their music, but now I’ve seen them grow from being unknown to a headline act at a large festival. Which means that seeing them play just isn’t as much fun anymore (or that I’m old…). Still nice to see them again, just from a certain distance this time.
Mando Diao’s status in my list of most seen bands didn’t last long. Counting a Moldy Peaches gig back in 2002 and two others, the wonderful Adam Green now scores a count of four again. And his gig was absolutely fantastic. While he sometimes seemed a bit sleepy or neglecting his excellent old songs in former gigs, none of that happened this time.
In particular there was a lot of audience participation. I’m not entirely sure I got this right, but it sounded like the singer of The Scorpions (who are from near by) was present and Adam forced him to sing a bit of Wind of Change with him to start off the gig. Later on he had an attention-seeking guy from the audience up on stage with him and they sung and danced a song together for us.
After some more great songs, he finished with Dance With Me, having two girls wearing paper bunny ears dance with him on stage. Great entertainment, just as in his early days. The best of his solo gigs I have seen.
While this would have been a good opportunity for a break, we quickly moved back to the main stage where The Hives had already started playing. We didn’t have the best viewing angle, but could see them all wear suits and pose a little too much as usual – including a really cool moment where they all just froze on stage in mid-song. I can pretty much stick with what I wrote two years ago: great music, a lot of power, too much posing. Particularly their singer looks like he’d love to be Mick Jagger. But he’s neither cool nor ugly enough for that. Talking a bit less might be a good first step, though.
It’s only been a few weeks since I saw Element of Crime play live, but it was great to have a (short) look at them again. Their music was a soothing break –
Wo die Neurosen wuchern, möcht ich Landschaftsgärtner sein… – and a short one because, knowing that I’ll see them again at Haldern in August, I gave up the end of their gig (which included an ultra-long version of Across the Universe) for the next one…
I just love The Strokes their newer albums may not be able to match the fantastic Is This It and they may just be a little too cool for their own good when playing live, but in total it’s still enough for some serious ass-kicking.
Their set-list was great, including my favourite song The Modern Age and many others which are frequently neglected. The lights they had on stage were strips of lights which could change colour and all and are meant to go with their current album cover I suppose. I thought their lights were a bit too bright – shining too much into audience – though, which made it a bit hard to actually see the band at numerous times. And while I’m complaining, let me mention that my camera claimed its battery was empty after I took a single, really bad photo of the band. The camera took another 50 photos with the same battery an hour later, though. Argh!
And sometimes, just sometimes, when you’ve got everything you would have asked for, someone will come and offer yet another thing you really like. And at this festival Sigur Rós were that thing. Finally I got an opportunity to see them. And while starting to be exhausted after a day full of gigs this was worth every minute of standing in the night.
Not only did they play their beautiful music with eight people on stage, including an electric bass, electric guitar, drums, a strings and keyboards, with all those high pitched sounds actually being sung by a guy – the music was complemented by a simple yet stunning video projection on the back of the stage which was the only ‘decoration’ they used.
Great Stuff! And I was completely knackered after that day of extreme musical goodness.
Next up: Hurricane Sunday
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