Friday 27 August 2010

Lowlands 2010 Day 1: Lowlands Kicks Off Hard

This year it was my 13th Lowlands edition. It may be an unlucky number but the line-up only predicted good vibes. We knew from experience that it can take a while to get there, make it through the entrance, find a good spot for the tent and get it all up and running. So we left early but things ran so smoothly we were sitting in front of our tent in the sun by 11.00 am! What a great way to start and well on time for the first performance: Festival opening act Triggerfinger.

Triggerfinger (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
And these guys know exactly what party people want: a killer performance to get crazy. They knock out all their testosterone-high songs and even make Duffy's Mercy rock hard with the help of Selah Sue (check it out here). What a way to start the festival!

Frightened Rabbit (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
Nearby the huge Alpha stage is the tiny Charlie stage. This is where the more obscure and relatively unknown acts are programmed. But these guys know how to please the crowd that showed up. They play their songs with lots of enthusiasm and sound fresh and lively. Their album seems to be a bit more sad but they sure present themselves in a good way.

Broken Bells (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
The collaboration between James Mercer of The Shins and producer Danger Mouse isn't exactly a performance to put on the big Alpha stage. Their album already has many weak and boring moments and their performance suffers from this as well. It all looks very static. Not even a perfect song like 'The High Road' can change that.

Ok Go (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
Brilliant videos made this band stick out from the many indie bands that are out there. But their videos do distract a lot from the music which isn't that special. On stage they show they can entertain a crowd but also need some visual aid for that (like an act with bells that we missed unfortunately). So they put in lots of effort and energy which makes it a lively and happy performance. Still the music doesn't sound all that special.

Balthazar (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
The young band from Belgium surprised us at Rock Werchter and didn't disappoint a bit. They give a focused performance with a nicely balanced set. The sound is great and the crowd loves it. Everyone is listening with open mouth to the songs that aren't always easy. Hopefully they can repeat this when they visit the Melkweg in October.

Ginger Ninja (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
Currently they are having a modest hit with their single 'Sunshine'
which sounds like a warm summer's day. Their performance is just as cheery and well received although there's still lots of progress to make. But these lads are really eager. Even so eager that drummer Johan Luth kicks his bass drum beater through the head so it needs replacement. Singer Henrik Hamilton has a bit of trouble filling that unexpected break and uncomfortably decides to tell a joke to kill the time. But that doesn't stop the crowd from having a good time.

The Kooks
(Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
Coming up with a new album early next year The Kooks are playing some gigs ahead of that to warm their fans up and remind everyone else about what they are about. Which simply comes down to playing light catchy indie rock songs that will stick to your head like superglue. Singer Luke Pritchard certainly is in a good mood and has lots of energy. He's using the whole stage and shows why so many teenage girls are into this band. Their sound seems to have matured since everything sounds more rocky and solid. They are playing two new songs that although sounding a bit doubtful are interesting and reveal maybe a new direction and sound.

Tame Impala (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
This band takes you on a psychedelic trip back to hippie ages. There's a lot of echo in their sound and they look really static. The music is interesting enough but somehow it's not enough to keep us watching. Somehow I feel I should have given them more time like some space cake to sink in to be fully appreciated.

The Specials (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
The old-timers from this old 80s band repeat their party from Rock Werchter and sweep the Lowlands crowd off their feet as well. The Grolsch tent turns into a swirling dancing crowd as everyone takes in the irresistible ska songs.

With these good vibes we continue the first day's party in good spirits which leads us to comedy and German schlagers. Already Lowlands has turned into one great party.

See more pictures over here:
Lowlands 2010 Day 1 Pictures

Lowlands 2010 Day 2 Review >
Lowlands 2010 Day 3 Review >

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