Thursday, 12 July 2012

Rock Werchter 2012 Day 4: Attrition Day

We're having a slow start today. All the partying and band hopping is taking its toll. The last day doesn't look that great compared to the other three. Maybe we have a few more surprises coming. Unfortunately both my batteries are empty by now, so I hardly can take pictures today. In the end I was able to squeeze a bit of juice out of them to get a few snap shots. Ah well, at least there's still plenty of Joe Piler left.

Rock Werchter 2012 Day 4, July 1 2012

The Hickey Underworld
This Belgian band is certainly waking us up. Their heavy garage rock is dark, loud and tight. They are playing full of fire and are breaking the dark clouds that gathered above the stage. We get the first bit of rain on the festival site. Some of their songs are supported by disturbing and vague music videos on the big video screens. It may not be for every one, which is clear from the empty spaces in the crowd, or for the faint hearted. But it definitely is a convincing performance on the main stage.

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The Vaccines
Which cannot be said from The Vaccines. They wrote a few catchy rock songs and were one of the hyped bands two years ago. But singer Justin Young doesn't sound so great, especially at the beginning where his voice is awful and off-key, mostly in the lower registers. It does get better and there's a lot of people who are enjoying songs like 'Wetsuit' and 'Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)'. But their other songs are pretty thin and that shows.

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Dropkick Murphys
Good songs is also what's lacking a bit from this band, who are not really from Ireland, but from Boston. However they make up for it with a lot of energy and good spirit. And many drinks, since the members don't appear all to be completely sober. It is their last show of the tour and they promise to give everything. The main stage turns into a big pub and a massive American Irish party. So who cares that they seem to be playing the same song for an hour. Dropkick Murphys are definitely going out in style.

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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher is playing more subtle rock songs. It's a totally different cup of tea compared to the Dropkick Murphys and less of a spectacle. But Gallagher's album is full of nice summer songs and he's making the music speak for itself. It surely isn't Oasis, so it may be a let down for some folks. Still Gallagher sounds good, his voice is clear and it's definitely nice to enjoy with a cold beer. And the Oasis fans still get what they want when he's playing 'Don't Look Back In Anger'.

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Florence + The Machine
Florence Welch has a bit of a doubtful reputation when it comes to singing her songs live. There have been several occasions in the past where she was sounding off-key. She solved this by adding a backing singer who's taking on the parts where she could be failing. This works very well. She's also looking very active once and a while running around on and off stage while singing. This was not obvious from her vocals which makes me a bit sceptic about what she really was singing. Normally you can tell when people are running and singing at the same time. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. She does turn it into a strong and lively performance.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers And then it's already time for the last act of the festival. I feel they definitely need to convince me again after their weak last couple of albums and a disappointing performance a few years ago in Nijmegen. But after a couple of songs it's clear I don't have to worry about that. Flea, Anthony Kiedis and new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer are bouncing around stage, while Chad Smith is sounding as tight and groovy as he's always been. Kiedis' vocals are even quite decent tonight, which is not always the case. He's still off-key once and a while especially in 'Californication', but it's not really disturbing.

Although Klinghoffer is obviously an accepted and full member of the band now, he cannot make us forget about John Frusciante. His guitar playing isn't of the same high level. Especially his falsetto vocals and harmonies with Kiedis can't match those of Frusciante. But it's great to hear 'Scar Tissue', 'By The Way', 'Sir Psycho Sexy' and even 'They're Red Hot' being played with a lot of energy. Jams by Flea and KlingHoffer are the upbeat to some of the songs and add variety to the set. Of course 'Give It Away' closes the set with close-ups of festival visitors including us (spot me if you can find a decent video and win a beer). I definitely gained my love for this band back. Hopefully they will start making decent records again too.

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Traditionally after a short delay fireworks close the festival which cannot describe this edition better. This must have been one of the best Rock Werchter editions so far I've visited. We hardly saw any weak performances. Instead there were a few surprises and many bands excelling. All the head liners totally lived up to their status with convincing performances. But the real difference were the visitors. People were just amazing this year. Every crowd was full of energy, responded great to the artists and were just completely ready to party. The 2013 edition is already in our calendar. See you next year!

Click here for more pictures

Rock Werchter 2012 Day 1
Rock Werchter 2012 Day 2
Rock Werchter 2012 Day 3

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