Saturday 12 July 2014

Rock Werchter 2014 Day 4: Dancing In The Rain

On the last day of the festival we wake up to a nice sunny day. But the forecast is one that expects heavy rain storms. We'll just see about that. Nothing our friend Joe Piler can't fix. Here we go!

Rock Werchter 2014 Sunday, July 6 2014

On the main stage a small band is opening the day. Reignwolf is the project of Jordan Cook. It starts out as a three man band, while Cook is climbing a loose bass drum at the front of the stage. His music is blues and classic rock and indeed he can howl like a wolf. Then the other band members leave the stage and Cook gets freaky. He's playing guitar while at the same time holding his microphone. Or he's playing the bass drum at the same time. Or, sure why not, he's actually behind the drum kit playing it, while playing the guitar and singing. This guy is a one man band! It's pretty impressive and quite entertaining. Still I want to see other bands so I leave before the end.

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Oscar & The Wolf
I want to see the Belgian band Oscar & The Wolf, who make nice dreampop songs that take you away to tropical islands. And the stage looks exactly like that with palm trees scattered around and mostly red and green lights. Their music is the kind where you close your eyes and let it carry you away. It may not sound too exciting or energetic but the band succeeds in creating that tropical atmosphere, the high temperature inside helps too, with sultry versions of their music.

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Parquet Courts
And now for something completely different. No tropical atmosphere with Parquet Courts, but excellent punk rock songs. Their new album Sunbathing Animal shows more depth and melody while it still sounds powerful. The four guys play them quite convincingly, although it doesn't light the fuse as you would expect. That's because the band doesn't exactly go wild on stage. Still because of their strong repertoire it is a nice show, but could have been a lot better.

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Royal Blood
There are only two musicians in Royal Blood and still they know how to produce a very big and solid sound. Singer and guitar player Mike Kerr uses a heavily distorted bass guitar to lay down heavy riffs where drummer Ben Thatcher is putting very tight grooves on top. The duo from Brighton are convincingly playing their blues rock songs and have no trouble entertaining the full tent. It's remarkable how these two can create this sound by just the two of them.

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We take a break and have some food outside the festival side. While we're inside a tent to eat, a heavy rain storm passes by. We're lucky that we can sit this one out. We return to the main stage for Bastille, where the side has turned into mud and everyone is soaking wet. It's still raining, but not that bad anymore. No one is letting the rain get them down. It seems as everyone is eager to party anyway and Bastille has no trouble making the people dance. Their music isn't that brilliant or special but it's the right band at the right place at the moment.

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Franz Ferdinand
Although we have seen Franz Ferdinand twice in the last couple of weeks, we decide to go see them instead of Foals anyway. Not because we don't like Foals, on the contrary, but because we don't want to go inside another full tent. And of course because Franz Ferdinand never disappoints. It's the same set as the previous time, which is a perfect festival set. Again it doesn't miss its effect at all. The build-up in the beginning with some hits, then the middle part with some more down tempo songs, followed by the big blog at the end where the field explodes. Any festival should try to book this band.

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Kings Of Leon
We want to have a look at MGMT, but the tent is too full. We stand outside for a bit, but then decide to go check out Kings of Leon. The band is bigger than ever and you know what you're going to get. They play a decent set with many of their hits and some songs of their successful but quality wise poorer last few albums. We can even see Caleb Followill smile a few times. But the band just doesn't add a lot to the live experience. There are no surprises, no improvisations, everything is well rehearsed. It is actually quite boring. I wish they would spice it a up and look for a bit of adventure.

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It looks like Interpol have found their balance again. After Carlos Dengler left the band, it was as if Interpol was somewhat disoriented. Today they prove there's still enough fire in them to play a convincing set. Their songs sound dark and threatening again, full of tension and power. The new song the band is playing, sounds promising and I'm really looking forward to their new album later this year.

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Although it looked as if Kings of Leon were the headliner today, actually Stromae is the one to close the festival. And although some people were questioning it, no doubt he deserves it. It may be a risky choice by the Rock Werchters programmers, but one that works out great. From seemingly nowhere he rocketed into the spot lights last year with his hit 'Formidable'. And he proves to be a wonderful entertainer. I don't like his music too much, especially the songs that are more or less eurotrance, but boy what a great artist. His mimicry is great, the way he acts on stage, everything looks magnificent. He's a worthy ending to another great edition of this festival.

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What a blast it was again. I wonder though, why the festival didn't really celebrate their 40th anniversary or give it more attention. But maybe they wanted to let the line-up speak for itself, since it worked out in a great way. The crowd is always lovely here, full of energy, and many bands did feel this and played great sets. But next year we won't be there. We can't handle the four day camping anymore and we want to try out some new festivals. But I'm sure we will return some day to this wonderful place.

More Pictures

Rock Werchter 2014 Day 1
Rock Werchter 2014 Day 2
Rock Werchter 2014 Day 3

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