This is about the first day of the Haldern Pop festival in 2006. The second day will be covered in the following post. See also: Haldern Pop 2004 and Haldern Pop 2005. And don’t forget to check out the Haldern Pop flickr group with many great photos.
The Haldern Pop festival finally took place this weekend. We got tickets quite early this year because it was dramatically difficult to get tickets for everyone at a later stage last year. As things go, two people who were supposed to come with us, didn’t come along in the end and there was a bit of drama about selling the two spare tickets in the end, as either many people had the same problem as we did or the hawkers had just bought loads in the hope to sell them at a profit. As the line-up was much more obscure and less teenager friendly this year than it was last year, all those plans probably didn’t work out and we could consider ourselves lucky to find buyers for the tickets a bit below their actual price.
After us leaving Göttingen on Friday morning we drove across the country to pick up Steffen and then go to the festival. With the route being printed from some old version of Route 66, I learned the hard way that not only those printouts contain loads of unnecessary information but also that it’s not compatible with social scientists who prefer reading out all the crap information given on the paper to telling you whether or not to take some exit. Strangely, we still managed to arrive… and meet Dan and Richard at the festival grounds where we quickly put up the tents next to Richard’s group pretty much in the same place where we’ve been in the past two years. I guess by now we can start claiming it’s
our place on the camp ground.
And that’s just for Friday, check the next page for those we saw on Saturday.
The first band we saw were Morning Runner. I didn’t really know them before but quite enjoyed their music. Not revolutionary but nice and energetic music and a good way to feel at home at the festival again.
After a refreshingly short time of rearranging the stage, The Zutons played. Everybody had heard of them before and was keen to see them. And they played all right. I think their songs can be a bit long and slow at stages, though. Bonus points for the saxophone and wearing a skirt (which sadly isn’t all that popular in Germany)!
The next break was quite unfortunate. Because it brought dark clouds and rain. A lot of it. We felt cheated then. After having stayed through a whole weekend of rain at last year’s festival in good humour, we definitely felt we deserved better weather this time. But it was a massive downpour that managed to turn all the areas where many people walked into a mud field with little lakes very quickly. My friends were soaked as well (and I only escaped that fate by hiding behind them unter the little roof of a pizza stall). Perhaps this photo of the Rockpalast sign (they’ll broadcast four hours of Haldern later this month), illustrates the rain problem.
And then We are Scientists came on. Having seen them before from just a few metres away, I wasn’t too bothered by just seeing them from the bad angle that standing at the pizza stall gave us. Their gig was all right, but I have to admit that the whole
crap, not the whole rain thing again! thought spoiled it a bit.
After the gig we went back to the tents for dry clothes, saying to ourselves that we should have bought rubber boots ‘just in case’ or being more pessimistic and going in with raincoats ‘just in case’ as well. While enjoying some drinks and snacks in the tent, the rain stopped luckily. It was a one hour and very intense period of rain only. And luckily it was the last one. Clothes could be put to dry, shoes could be replaced by muddy ones and we ended up being reasonably immune against the mud that still remained everywhere and went back to see…
This was my third opportunity to see Element of Crime this year. And yet again they were wonderful, with their songs wiping away the bad weather fear. I keep being amazed how well their mostly quiet and clever music works for open air festivals as well. I’d usually expect this to be something that benefits from being indoors at a small location.
After a bit of a wait, the stage was set up for Mogwai. While I always find it hard to actually recognise and name their songs (because of the lack of lyrics?), I still enjoy their music a lot. Its quiet power that isn’t all that quiet is just fantastic and blows you away. Not all that surprisingly, this was one of the best gigs of the festival.
Mogwai were the last band to play on the main stage. But as in the previous years there were two more gigs coming up in the
Spiegelzelt. And we were keen to go there, as the tent is quite cool and gigs there were quite cool in the past.
The first band to play in the tent that night were The Revs. Unfortunately, seeing Mogwai all the way to the end meant we were quite late in arriving there and had to wait in the queue while receiving text messages from Daniel on the inside telling us that it’s great – and it did sound quite good from out there in the queue as well. They had a screen outside the tent this year which was a great idea as it made the wait much less frustrating. When we finally got in, we just got to see the last two songs. But I got myself their record in the end, so I can double check…
I heard a number of people say that Final Fantasy will be a secret gem of the festival. The ‘band’, consisting of Owen Pallett who plays a violin for Arcade fire, was to play the violin with a dash of electronic weirdness. Where ‘electronic weirdness’ mostly refers to looping being used in addition to the live playing.
Just by the first look this reminded me of Patrick Wolf whom I got to know at Haldern in 2004… and playing for Arcade Fire isn’t the worst thing that people can do either. So I was curious to see what happens.
It turned out that the music was indeed quite different from Patrick Wolf and Owen made heave use of loops indeed – which I found rather irritating at first as you see him play something on the violin which doesn’t match part of what you’re hearing. A situation that I had to adjust to. I also found his singing a bit feeble and unenthusiastic.
In total I was really unsure what to make of it. While sounding irritating at first, the music sounded interesting to me in principle. But I kept thinking that it was a bit weak and needs some more work to be really convincing. Something to keep an ear on, but nothing that can be enthusiastic about now.
And after this gig, around four, we returned to our tents for whatever was left of a good night’s sleep.
Read about the second day…