I'm a little tired and suffering of the usual post-festival trauma. Just came back from four days of bloody good concerts, not enough sleep, beer for breakfast and the other usual festival attributes. In Belgium. For a change. Actually it started with a day in Brussels, spent mostly at the local pub from 11 a.m. until 6 or so, just because torrential rain followed by us by people from the to-be festival camp dropping in and stopping us from leaving. It was a tough week, but we made it.
First of all, Werchter does not compare to my favourite; Roskilde. Ok, the beer is cheaper and the weather is supposed to be better, but who cares when it just lacks all the fancy things that make Roskilde such a cool place to just wander around aimlessly, such as cocktail bars, lounge tents, 6 stages of music you never heard of and most of all, the perfect organisation. Instead it feels quite commercial and a festival area built without much love and in a hurry. That said, Belgians really know how to go wild during concerts, in a very good way. The Aussie-Norwegian-French-Swedish-Finnish-Lebaneese-Swiss-Austrian camp we had managed to get together was also something else. And last but not least, the concerts this year were bloody good. To mention a few:
Clearly the biggest legend of this festival, Neil with his band basically blasted the hell out of the festival. As opposed to Radiohead, we managed to stand right in the front which made the impact even more powerful. I had not expected such energy from this man, even though he is known to have invented grunge, more or less. But he is 63 years old! During Hey Hey, My My, we were seriously afraid that he would suffer a heart attack. Over two hours and several great songs later, many with long intense guitar solos later and all of which sounded better than I ever heard them before, he was long overdue the schedule but couldn't help doing an encore. This was maybe the highlight of the concert and surely the best Beatles cover anyone is likely to ever do; a hardcore version of A Day in Life, ending with Neil trashing his guitar against the speakers. Truly awesome.
Love And Only Love
Hey Hey, My My
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
When You Dance, I Can Really Love
All Along the Watchtower
Oh, Lonesome Me
The Needle and the Damage Done
Heart of Gold
Get Back to the Country
No Hidden Path
A Day In The Life
One of my long-time favourites that I never got a chance to see live, this was what I looked forward to the most. And they did not disappoint. They played most of the newest In Rainbows album, quite some from Kid A and also some classics like You do it to Yourself. The last one is what really made the crowd go crazy. And almost the whole crowd seemed to know the lyrics and sing along.
Grinderman is Nick Cave and half of the Bad Seeds, in some kind of new configuration, appearently and only playing new material. Very powerful and a much better than the album.
I had already seen this amazing icelandic band on the smaller "Green Scene" of Roskilde, which was magical. This time was almost as good, but made it clear that the biggest scene of a festival is just not optimal for these guys, at all. I will try to catch them in Iceland some time. In a small village on the countryside on the Heima II tour. It's important to have dreams, at least..
He is not that charismatic on stage, but the man is a genius. Very good.
"I solemly sweaiearrrRRRrr, to.. have NO... Other... Gods. Thaaaan... The Hives.". These guys are gods on the stage and the Swedish-American-slurry accent of “Howlin” Pelle Almqvist is actually brilliant.
Ok, these guys were not actually that great, and were quite obviously lacking material for a whole concert, but the atmosphere during this gig was amazing. It was simply a really great dancefloor and we liked it. Belgians sure can party. (Even though they should try to shut up a bit more during quiet, introvert Radiohead songs)