Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Lowlands chat

"I went to Holland for a music festival." This is a sentence I've said at least 14 times today at work (they keep asking me if I've been away. I suspect this is because my face has gone David Dickinson orange, not because I've been hugely missed).

"No, not in Amsterdam. It's called Lowlands, about an hour away from Amsterdam?" [insert your own irritating rising inflection at end of sentence] After four days camping, amazingly, I didn't get home feeling like I'd been turned inside out. But this may have been due to my £16.99 luxury camping pillow.

So here is who I saw (by the way, the headline above is an irrelevant pun on "Rowland Rat"):

Polyphonic Spree - epic, summery, uplifting. But seeing Arcade Fire make you realise that the Spree probably write songs using raffle tickets and dice, so rhapsodic are their tunes.

Magic Numbers - not bad at all (I said bad, not fat). More harmony-soaked lullabies. But I did get a bit annoyed when they stopped yet another song to do a cappella "woah woah baby" bit.

Kaiser Chiefs - brilliant. My comment that "they may have peaked slightly early" was laughed out of the park, and rightly so. The only band that actually listened to the timeless advice, "more cowbell".

Franz Ferdinand - also fab. Best bit was Alex Kapranos introducing their biggest hit Take Me Out with the line, "This is an old song, made famous by Vera Lynn in the 1940s."

Tom Vek - hadn't really got him before, but hearing a 14-year-old boy sing the same sentence 18 times in a row is really surprisingly addictive. You must try it sometime.

Apocalyptica - four classically-trained cellists and a drummer play Metallica covers. Unbelievably this was in the main tent. Still more unbelievably, they do this without a hint of humour. Even more unbelievably, it was great.

Maximo Park - very loud, very cool. I kept getting the sneaking suspicion they'd become 2005's Shed Seven. Is this a bad thing? Discuss.

Arcade Fire - sheer genius. Definitely one of the top three gigs I've ever seen. Never have I felt so grateful for the existence of Canadians. And if that wasn't good enough, their drummer climbed the lighting rig.

Art Brut - Eddie Argos is my hero, even with that moustache. This actually bordered on stand-up, but with amazing tunes.

Pixies - I always forget how sprightly and poppy the Pixies are. They're not like Nirvana at all! Started slightly cocky, with an ultra-slow Wave of Mutilation, but that was probably just Frank Black saving his voice.

The Others - only caught the end of this, but got to see Dominic Masters screaming "disappointment!" into the mike. He loves doing this.

Morcheeba - they've got a new singer. I was sceptical, because she kept grinning as if she'd been told "look like you're enjoying yourself!" beforehand. But her sweetasanut saxophone solo won the crowd over. Me and Jamie hung back and smoked.

Sons and Daughters - it's a cracking album, but the old ones dragged a bit. Note: lead guitarist looks like villain out of Die Another Day.

Futureheads - much more FUN than you'd think. After all, their lyrics are really silly (in a good way).

Nick Cave - Only saw the first four. Liked him, but still don't understand what it all means.

Foo Fighters - best bit was when Dave Grohl took to the drums. The drum kit fits round him like a Grohl-shaped box. He has a unique way of banging cymbals, it's almost hypnotic.


Nicole said...

More cowbell! I didn't realize you british people watched SNL...

Will said...

I love that sketch. So good, it made me forgive Will Ferrell for Elf.

Nicole said...

My friend has a DVD of the best ever Will Ferrell skits from SNL. Guaranteed to make you laugh 'til you puke.