Lykke Li

Lykke Li

Back in the Lima tent for day three, and today it’s Lykke Li that gets us started. She is a commanding presence on stage, executing her quirky dance moves very confidently and singing in that breathy start-stop style. Although the audience seems to be enjoying the show, the energy levels are a bit low at the start of this third festival day. She calls us on it: “You’re so quiet, it’s like I’m having my own party up here!”. It works, there is more life in the crowd from this moment on and songs like the seriously cool Breaking It Up and her mashup of Dance Dance Dance with Vampire Weekend’s Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa get everybody moving. She also revisites Tribe Called Quest’s Can I Kick It in the encore, but less convincingly.

If you weren’t awake yet, the next gig definitely finished with any dozing: Gogol Bordello. Sadly they were programmed in the Alpha, as this quality Balkan bonanza is best experienced in a smaller setting, but they pulled it off. Do not be fooled by the chaotic party vibe that surrounds Gogol Bordello, this band knows exactly what they’re doing and they do it extremely well. Harem In Tuscany will go down as one of my favourite dancing-around-at-Lowlands-2008 memories.

Get Well Soon

Get Well Soon

I decided to hang around this corner of the festival terrain to check out Get Well Soon in the Charlie, and what a good decision that turned out to be! The most exciting brokenbranches find of the festival I would say, these guys really won me over even though I hardly knew any of their material. They are often connected to Arcade Fire and I can understand why, but they definitely have a sound of their own. Their Born Slippy cover got them some blogpress, but their own songs deserve a lot more attention. Will be keeping an eye on these guys from now on!

All excited I rushed over to the India tent for the next band high up in the must-see-wish-list: MGMT. However, this turned out to be a bit of a let down. Right up front they played Time To Pretend, a bit weird as the crowd were still settling in and it didn’t get the Lowlands-anthem-response I was expecting. Electric Feel was the third track, leaving a set full of less known material, played well but lacking in oomph, all a bit bland. Highlight was the only track played with real heart as far as I’m concerned: Kids. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all right?

Delayed slightly by a massive downpour of rain, I made my way over to the Charlie again. This stage might be my favourite of Lowlands 2008 come to think of it, great place to discover new up-and-comers. Luckily I caught the tail end of the Black Kids set, with personal favourites Listen To Your Body Tonight and, of course, I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You. They sounded slightly shaky, but very entertaining all the same.

Most people were gearing up for the Editors or Sigur Rós as festival closers in Sunday, but I was personally looking forward to dEUS. Having lost interest a bit over the last two albums, their latest had me all excited again. All the rumours about the band turned out to be true: they are back in excellent form and sounding better than ever. They have a great chemistry on stage and Mauro Pawlowski is a big (and hunky) asset to the band. The setlist focussed mainly on Big Guitar Tracks, which I guess is fitting to a performance in the Alpha tent. Sadly for me this meant no Little Arithmetics, but this was easily compensated with opener Slow, a riproaring version of Instant Street, a perfect execution of the single The Architect and two for the old school fans: Suds & Soda and Serpentine. Thank you dEUS!

Tom Barman - dEUS

Tom Barman - dEUS

I couldn’t help myself peeking in on Sigur Rós, as I’m fascinated by the fact everyone seems so in awe of them and it just doesn’t grab me. As I stood watching them in the drizzling rain, I could see why people love them. They put their heart and soul into that show, that much was obvious even to this sceptical onlooker. I could literally see the crowd being mesmerised and entranced by their ethereal sound, but alas, I remain unconverted. Perfect soundtrack music, but not for a whole concert.

I decided to finish Lowlands 2008 on a more punky note, and headed over to the Dresden Dolls in the India. To my surprise the tent was quite full (despite sharing a timeslot with Editors and Sigur Rós) and there were a lot of devoted fans who could sing all the songs word for word, a great atmosphere. They gave an extremely energetic performance which was also really entertaining to watch. For me, as relative newcomer to their repertoire, Coin Operated Boy was a highlight, as was Night Reconnaissance from their new album. They also did a version of The Port of Amsterdam which was very well received by the audience, just like Amanda’s news that she’d be spending more time in Holland as her sister recently moved to Utrecht. They also told the crowd this was to be their last joint performance for some time as Amanda sets out on a solo effort and Brian will drum for another punk band for a while, and that they couldn’t think of a better place to share their last gig together.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend three days than at Lowlands, what an amazing festival. When do they start ticket sales for Lowlands 2009??

Dresden Dolls

Dresden Dolls

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