I woke up already giddy with excitement: today I finally get to see Arcade Fire!!! I had planned to see them at their show in Vredenburg earlier this year, but that got cancelled because Win Butler was ill…

My friends were all in total relax mode taking their time waking up, still recovering from the night before. But my festivalclock was ticking: places to go and gigs to see! So I headed to the terrain by myself for one of the day’s openers I was really looking forward to: Patrick Watson. Luckily for me they put him in the smaller and more atmospheric India tent. Moreover, because it was only 12:45 I could walk straight through, all the way to the front, where I was surprised to see Patrick already on stage, doing some soundchecking. I’ll admit it, my first thought was: he’s hot. He sat there fidgetting with the keyboards, downing a beer with a cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth (my kind of guy haha), joking with the people in the front rows (“God its’ early isn’t it?” followed by his hilarious geriatric hillbilly chuckle).

Patrick Watson @ Lowlands

The band were obviously in good spirits, giving it their all despite the early hour and not put off by quite a few technical difficulties. Drummer Robbie Kuster uses pretty much anything for percussion (his keys, his limbs) and guitarist Simon Angell went all out with an electric toothbrush and deflating balloon. Patrick’s voice was every bit as haunting (and Jeff Buckley-reminiscent) as on the album, but all the more interesting live: a bit rougher around the edges. The way he contorts his face when he sings was very amusing too.
They ended the set with an a capella rendition of Man Under The Sea (apparently every show during this tour), with all four bandmembers standing at the front of the stage, doing the percussion by jumping up & stomping their feet. The crowd loved it and were easily seduced into repeating “just me, the fish and the sea” on a loop. I enjoyed this concert immensely and hope to check out their show in Paradiso in September.

As this is my blog I am now going to shamelessly show my own poor quality snippet of footage from the finale and post a link to a better quality version below:

Click here for the decent quality tv-recording of the same song!. You can just about spot me at 1:30, I’m holding up a camera behind the tall blond guy with glasses in the front!

Next up: New Young Pony Club. I was expecting painfully hip ‘new rave’, but found there songs were much more conventional than I would have thought, and in parts quite boring. Add to this a way too early time slot, a decidedly placid crowd in a barely half-filled Bravo tent: not a great setup.  Although some songs were enjoyable and lead singer Tahita Bulmer made the most of it, I had more fun looking at all of the new rave girls in the audience: all leggings, brightly coloured tops with either glitter or those childlike prints of exclamation marks, clouds and ice creams. As good friend and fashionista MB commented: “Very daring. I wonder what they’ll think of their pictures of this weekend in 6 years time.” Sadly I didn’t hear them play my favourite track: Hiding On The Staircase.

Making the most of the glorious sunshine, we decided to enjoy Loney, Dear outside, lying on the grass. I was very glad we didn’t bother working our way to the front as we were distinctly underwhelmed with this act. I love a song or two of the pretty & quiet variety (Like the wonderful The Meter Marks OK), but they managed to fill an entire set with na na na’s and la la la’s, making for a sickly sweet ordeal.

Next post: The Shins, Sonic Youth and Arcade Fire!