Wednesday 11 June 2014

Lovely Pinkpop Sunday

I wasn't planning on going to the Pinkpop festival this year. But with the prospect of good company, cold beers, nice weather and great music I don't need much more persuasion. The line-up looked really good with old legends The Rolling Stones on Saturday and indie legends Arcade Fire on Monday, but Editors and Arctic Monkeys on Sunday made us go for this day.

Pinkpop 2014 Sunday, June 8 2014

Driving up to the festival, the weather keeps getting better and better. It has come to our attention that we cannot park on our usual spot on the market square this time. So instead we are directed to one of the festival parking lots. By the time we arrive at the gates, there's quite a crowd and we miss the first band as a result. Nothing a cold beer can't fix.

Portugal. The Man
The first band we check out are Portugal. The Man. They are playing compact songs and have left their psychedelic side. In the beginning this is working quite well, although singer John Gourley's thin high voice isn't always easy to like. Halfway the show people are starting to lose attention and some are leaving. It is actually starting to get boring in the end so we decide to catch a bit of Fred Durst and co.

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Limp Bizkit
At the stage at the other side of the festival site Limp Bizkit is working their way through a trip down memory lane. Fred Durst is playing the tough guy like always and the crowd loves it. Although it results in a nostalgic party, it also isn't more than that. It gets a bit cheesy, especially when they start to play covers. Time for some ice cream I guess.

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The Kooks
It's been a while since I have seen The Kooks for the last time and that I heard from them. But here they are and Luke Pritchard is looking in better shape than I have seen him in a long time. His voice is good and he is bouncing around the stage throwing smiles around. They showcase a new song that sounds interesting enough. It could mean a change of direction and I'm looking forward to hearing their new album. It's the perfect weather for cheerful hit songs like 'Naïve' and 'Ooh-La' which seem to go down well.

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Intergalactic Lovers
A few years back I was pleasantly surprised to hear the melodic songs of this Belgian indie band. Now they have released their second album Little Heavy Burdens and I get a chance to see them again. It is clear they have grown a lot since that first encounter. Singer Lara Chedraoui's voice sounds great and the songs are well crafted. Slowly the tent is getting more empty though until it's half full. But the people who stay inside are completely into it and are singing along to great tunes like 'Delay', 'Howl' and new hit 'Islands'. In the end the ones who are staying get treated to a very pleasant show by a band who are far from using all their potential.

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Paolo Nutini
Paolo Nutini has come a long way since his pop hit 'New Shoes'. He had to dig deep and go through some dark times to come up with his new album Caustic Love which is totally different. It is full of intense soul songs and so is his performance today. His band is tight and sounds great just like Nutini himself. Unfortunately we can't stay until the end since Editors are waiting for us.

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We almost miss the beginning of the show because of some really slow burgers. I thought they called it fast food? Editors look stronger than ever today. They are playing hit after hit and it all sounds great. I still think the songs of the last album The Weight Of Your Love aren't as good as the rest, and also today I feel songs like 'Munich', 'All Sparks' and 'Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors' are simply better than 'A Ton Of Love' and 'Formaldehyde'. But it doesn't matter that much, because they will always deliver a strong performance. Of course they close the set with 'Papillon' that has grown into the perfect festival anthem, where every festival site seems to explode in the chorus.

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Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters
We may never see Led Zeppelin play and then Robert Plant may be the closest thing to come near. Unfortunately he's squeezed in between Editors and Arctic Monkeys so we only see a small part of his show. When we arrive he's just wrapping up 'Baby I'm Gonna Leave You'. It's great to hear this legend sing this epic song. Of course he's also playing some of his solo songs which I'm not really familiar with. 'Black Dog' gets a complete make-over with African instruments and singing where Bonham's solo used to be. It sounds really interesting and it is a brave act by Plant. But if anyone can do it, it's him. Too bad we have to leave him this early.

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Arctic Monkeys
We are leaving Robert Plant for the rock band who is shaking up things nowadays. The Arctic Monkeys have come a long way from the shy, introvert school boys they were ten years ago. Alex Turner has transformed in a modern James Dean of rock music and is confidently looking around the crowd with penetrating eyes. He's walking a thin line there though and he should take care not to overdo it, since it turn into too much of a gimmick. Their wild songs have been replaced with heavy grooving thoughtful tracks, which I love. Matt Helders is playing the slow grooves phenomenally and with a lot of power. But the breaks between songs are too long and so the show never really takes off. This isn't because of the slow songs, since they really sound great and the way Turner is singing them in a lazy fashion with his brilliant timing is spot on. It's far from perfect Arctic Monkeys show, but they still prove why they are one of the most interesting bands of today.

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With a day full of sunshine and some fine music this was a very nice festival day. When Pinkpop can come up with another great line-up next year, I will probably travel south once again.

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