Monday 26 August 2013

Lowlands 2013 Day 1: Wet End Of The Day

Could it be true? Could this be my fifteenth Lowlands? If all calculations are right it is! This calls for a celebration, let's get beer and head to the first band.

Lowlands 2013 Day 1, August 16 2013

This punk band from the North of The Netherlands in Groningen are the ones to head of the program in the X-Ray. And many people have come out to see if they can tear down this stage out of corrugated metal. It's so full we can't get in right away. After a few songs we slowly make our way into the X-Ray. But we're still so far to the back that it's hard to get into their energetic songs. Judging from where I'm standing the people at the front started an early party and the first mosh pit of the festival.

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Deep Sea Arcade
We leave halfway traumahelikopter's show to be able to catch Deep Sea Arcade. Their album Outlands sounds nice and on stage they know how to lay down a good rock show. From time to time singer Nic Mckenzie sounds like the Aussie version of Liam Gallagher. However this band is exploring more of the sixties rock spectrum with a bit of psychedelica added to it. It does stay on the safe side, but some songs are quite catchy and the band is fun to watch.

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Seasick Steve
Time for some good old blues with Seasick Steve and his drummer Dan Magnusson. To my surprise I find Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones on stage as well. Isn't that a great present!? After seeing the old bluesman several times I know exactly what I can expect. But it never gets old. He's telling his funny stories, playing his solid blues songs on his self-made guitars while Magnusson is going wild on drums now and then. Jones is adding an extra layer to the music and is giving the songs more groove. It's still impressive to see how this old dog can entertain a big stage like the Alpha.

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Tame Impala
Up next on the same stage is one of my favourite bands of the moment, Aussie psycho rockers Tame Impala. Slowly they are getting used to their role of big rock band, although this stage is still a bit too big for them. Like always they need to warm up, but after a few songs their sound is exactly the way it should be: fuzzy and full of reverb. Slowly we're leaving the planet for a trip into outer space. In a smaller tent like the Grolsch it would have sounded even better, but it looks like master mind Kevin Parker is getting used to his status. Songs like 'Elephant' and 'Solitude Is Bliss' are definitely working their magic.

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Sir Yes Sir
Belgian newcomer Sir Yes Sir are playing the small Charlie stage right after. This stage is now covered up as well with a roof, creating a dark and more intimate atmosphere. I was a bit disappointed with their debut album We Should Talk. Some songs just sound too smooth on it as opposed to some of the other more rough and less predictable songs. Maybe it's because of the sax? However live it all sounds a lot more exciting. The band is working hard and the sax is actually a nice addition live. Maybe I'll have another go at the album again.

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Beans & Fatback
At the Lima stage you know you can always find a band to dance to most of the times. Dutch band Beans & Fatback treat us to a steaming set packed with soul and old rhythm and blues. The group is full of energy and this is catching on with the crowd in no time. In the end everyone is dancing, a well deserved reward for the hard working band.

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Mikal Cronin
On his second album MCII Mikal Cronin proves that he's able to write very good pop songs next to the fuzzy and grungy songs that he did on his first album. On stage his no nonsense band are playing a solid show, that requires some effort by the ones who are watching. The band is very focused and therefore a bit introverted. Their somewhat nerdy look isn't exactly showing off a radiant stage performance either. But the music is making up for that. The songs sound great and the band is so into it, that it is a pleasure to watch. Sometimes it's nice when you have to put a little effort into music to find the true beauty of it. I decide to leave halfway nevertheless to catch the last half of the Jagwar Ma show at the Charlie stage. It has started to rain and the place is so full of people looking for cover that we just can't get in. Too bad since I left a good show halfway and cannot catch this show now. We try to watch it from outside, but this is no fun at all. We decide to keep our insides wet with some Grolsch instead.

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Nine Inch Nails
A few years ago Trent Reznor killed off his successful Nine Inch Nails project and sold all equipment and instruments. He probably had to invest quite a lot again when he reignited the project recently. With a new album coming up soon, they even earned a headliner slot on this first day. And the band doesn't disappoint at all. With only a small keyboard Reznor starts of the show by himself. Slowly the other musicians are moved onto the stage including a few screens. This turns out to be the setup for a very creative stage set and light show. The screens are constantly on the move and are used for lighting effects as well as video screens. The musicians are on different spots throughout the show as well. The set list is a nice overview of the NIN catalogue, including popular songs 'Wish', 'Only', 'The Hand That Feeds' and 'Head Like A Hole' back-to-back at the end of the set. To make things even better it closes with 'Hurt'. NIN made a lot of new friends today and proves the Lowlands organization right into putting the band on the bill as a headliner.

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We feel energized after that show to party for a bit longer. Hey! What's that enormous line doing in front of the Titty Twister!? And can someone please turn off the rain!

More Pictures

Lowlands 2013 Day 2
Lowlands 2013 Day 3

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