Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Pinkpop 2015 Sunday

The biggest nightmare for a festival organiser is when a headlining act falls out. Even worse is when it's your closing headliner and it happens at the latest moment. Exactly this happened to the Pinkpop festival when Foo Fighters had to cancel because Dave Grohl broke his leg. They are not only one of the biggest rock bands at the moment but also the headliner everyone is after this festival summer.

Pinkpop 2015 Sunday at Landgraaf, June 14 2015

There's no way you can replace an act like that in only a day, even though festival director Jan Smeets and his team tried really hard. The solution to bring in Triggerfinger in the line-up and let Pharrell Williams close the festival was the best they could do. Of course you can't blame this on anyone and it is just really sad for the festival organisers, Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters and all the festival visitors, especially Foo Fighters fans like me who bought a ticket for this day just to see them play. The smartest thing to do is just make the best out of it and try to have a fun day nevertheless. That's exactly what we're planning on and after a smooth trip we find ourselves on the festival site that is already bathing in sun light. Time to rock!

The Deaf
Time to rock indeed and get this party started. The Deaf are just the right band to do that, which I already knew after seeing them a few times before. Singer Spike and co. have no trouble firing up the crowd with their catchy rock 'n roll songs. Especially Spike himself and keyboard player Maurizio Pinna are going absolutely all the way and are all over the stage. The setlist is almost entirely full of uptempo rock songs that get everyone dancing and result in an early high. The band doesn't leave before Spike is crowd surfing while playing guitar and the four members are all soaking in sweat.

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Nick Mulvey
We make our way to the Brand Stage where Nick Mulvey has already started. The modest intimate songs are a different cup of tea, played patiently by his band. It all sounds pretty good and skillful, but this simply isn't my kind of music. It's too slow and cautious for me so we decide to cross over to the other side of the site.

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There Dutch rapper Typhoon has already started another leg of his victory parade across the country that started last year after releasing his highly successful record Lobi Da Basi. He turns every place he's playing into a big tropical party and today is no different. His energetic songs invite everyone to the dance and his wonderful tight band make sure the music keeps swinging and grooving. Typhoon himself can only answer to this with his big smile.

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Even though they have to play a show tonight at the other side of the country, Belgian rock heroes Triggerfinger didn't mind to be added to the line-up so last minute. "We are no Foo Fighters, far from it" says singer Ruben Block, "we are Triggerfinger!". And I think most Foo Fighters fans can definitely appreciate the rock show the trio is displaying. Of course I have seen them many times before, but this band never gets old and will always deliver. Today is no exception and even though all the songs are so familiar by now, they still don't miss their effect. The heavy rock is sounding more solid and spot on than ever and the three men give it all.

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Oscar and The Wolf
Also from Belgium is Oscar and the Wolf, Max Colombie's electropop project, whose dark danceable electropop songs are slowly winning over our country. They are showing today that there's a good reason for that, since the smooth sultry songs sound great and are full of hooks. The strong album Entity translates well to the live stage and most people, including many Belgians, are dancing and enjoying the tropical music. Even a cover song like Gala's 'Freed From Desire' sounds sexy in the world of Oscar and the Wolf.

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De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig
Dutch hiphoppers De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig have something to celebrate, their 10th anniversary, so a big present including ribbons is standing on stage. When it opens the band steps out and what better treat can they hand out than themselves? We are watching from a distance but it's clear many people enjoy songs like 'Shenkie', 'Sterrenstof' and the hit that started it all 'Watskeburt'. The very catchy songs may sometimes seem a bit cheesy but are always very clever with creative lyrics. More treats follow when they hand out a few Foo Fighters T-shirts before ending their happy birthday party with 'De Formule'.

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Dutch singer Sharon Kovacs surprised the Dutch music world with her dark and powerful voice and a good debut album Shades Of Black. Although she's definitely talented she lacks experience to entertain a festival crowd. Her somewhat static performance isn't always light on the stomach and her band, although routinely playing the songs, doesn't exactly add a lot of sparks either. In the end this stage is a bit too big for her but she still has plenty of time to grow.

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Rock band Placebo are no strangers to replacing cancelled acts. They replaced Depeche Mode a few years ago as headliner and today they are replacing Sam Smith. This was good news for me and especially today I'm glad they are playing instead of Smith. The band plays a greatest hit show and you'd almost forget how many great songs they have like 'For What It's Worth' and 'Every You Every Me'. Singer Brian Molko isn't exactly Mr. Sunshine but the band knows how to play stages of this size and a festival crowd. They throw in a cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill' and in the end it's a solid and satisfactory rock show.

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Pharrell Williams
By then it's time for the final performance of the weekend. And where I was expecting to be jumping on some Foo Fighters adrenaline we are now watching Pharrell Williams close the festival from a distance. Of course he has many hits but to me it feels like watching a long video with plenty of commercial breaks. I didn't expect to go wild about this show but it really just doesn't grab me at all. So after a few songs we decide to make for our car and leave the festival early and beat traffic. Oh by the way, Pinkpop is not even close to Amsterdam Mr. Williams, it takes about 2,5 hours by car.

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It's a disappointing ending to a day I was really excited about and to me the festival kind of dies out on a sort of low instead of the euphoric high I was hoping for. With this kind of weather and nice bands it was the perfect festival that in the end just was far from perfect. Still we had a great time and enjoyed the sun, great music and cold beers. It could have been worse of course and next year when the Foo Fighters will be back (which I expect) I will be there again as well.

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