Sunday, 28 August 2011

Lowlands 2011 Day 2: Magic and Sausages

We wake up to a lovely day. After a great first day with many high lights, today is looking a bit pale on paper. But I'm ready to be proven wrong. After a hearty breakfast and coffee of course.

Lowlands 2011 Day 2, August 20 2011
To head it off we join the big Karaoke party 'Lowlands is singing' that is a good way to get rid of your hang over and get you in the right mood. With a smile on our face we leave for the first performance of the day.

Young The Giant (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
One of the upcoming bands and promising for the future according to many, but I wasn't impressed by their album at all. Hopefully they can convince me live on stage. But after a few songs I already find out that's not gonna be the case. Singer Sameer Gadhia has a good clear voice but I don't believe him. It looks like he's practiced every single move in front of the mirror. The performance of the band is looking pale and after a while I'm getting bored. Like on the album they only have a few really good songs. But I'm not gonna stick around for their best song 'Body'.

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The Deaf (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
So I rush over to The Deaf at the small Charlie stage. I liked their lively performance when they were support act for the Arctic Monkeys a few months ago. And today it's even better. The band is full of energy and their punk rock songs are firing up the crowd. Frans "Spike" van Soest is proving once again he is a great front man. He's playing with a big smile on his face all through the show. Keyboard player Maurizio "Skinny Mau" Pinna keeps rocking his organ most of the times adding to the lively atmosphere. It's the perfect band for this sunny afternoon and just the wake-up call I need.

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DeWolff (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
Three young dogs take the big Alpha stage for their psychedelic rock music. Only a few years ago they were playing the small neighbouring Charlie stage but things went fast. With their second album they proved they are here to stay. I was a bit worried the stage may be too big for them, but during their show the huge tent fills up gradually. Many people are impressed by the skills and talent of this young band. They have put together a smart set list that slowly builds up to a climax. By then they have already won everyone over.

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National Youth Jazz Orchestra (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
Jazz on a festival like Lowlands may not be an obvious choice and is quite a gamble. The Lima on the other hand is a great stage for these experiments, where people are open minded and that can turn into a party. The orchestra consists of some of the most talented young jazz musicians in The Netherlands at the moment and Benjamin Herman is their mentor and conductor. He's the right man for the job with his never ending enthusiasm and great skills. And it works brilliantly. They have put together a very good set with appealing and swinging songs. A couple of young, talented and more experienced musicians join them as well to take on many of the solo's. It's a great success and proof that even jazz has a place on this festival.

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Cloud Control (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
I'm trying out this band from Australia. Their mix of folk and psychedelic indie rock isn't really my kind of music but it sounds interesting enough to stick around. They are playing a convincing set and the musicians are giving it all resulting in good vibes. The part where bass player Jeremy Kelshaw is hitting a flight case with some kind of big plastic sticks is a bit weird though. It's probably supposed to add some percussion element but it gets kind of lost. Overall it's a good show nevertheless and it's one of the surprises of the weekend. This is a band to keep an eye on.

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Cage The Elephant (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
Matthew Shultz, the singer of this band from Kentuky, is known for his energetic performances. And that's definitely no lie. He's all over the stage and looking for contact with the crowd. But his vocals aren't great and it all starts to sound the same after a while. Shultz is addicted to stage diving and when the rest of the band has already left the stage he decides to take one more leap into the crowd. When they could improve their songs it would get a lot better. But it's a nice band to have on a festival.

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Elbow (Ronald Says 9 out of 10)
When you've seen Elbow a few times, you know what you're gonna get. So it won't be a surprising performance. But when you do it so well and convincing like Guy Garvey and friends that's no problem. The show will be recorded for an upcoming DVD and so everyone is looking at its best. Garvey is as charming and charismatic as ever. He's wrapping all of us around his finger without a problem and everyone is kindly following his interactive requests. He could have asked the crowd to do anything really. The set is mostly made off their last two hit albums and with the addition of some live strings they all sound magical. In between they even have time to celebrate their 20th anniversary with a drink and a small acoustic moment together. So maybe it isn't all that surprising but it's still working so well. And yes Guy, we're still okay.

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So this day is ending strong and it's party time again. A few hours later we find ourselves in the middle of a big sausage party at the camping shop. Mustard anyone?

More Pictures
More Videos

Lowlands 2011 Day 1 Review >
Lowlands 2011 Day 3 Review >

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