Here we go with part one of the brokenbranches Lowlands walk through: Friday 21st of August. Luckily enough the thunder and hail storm the weather reports had been warning us about for days only amounted to half an hour’s worth of heavy rain and a few flashes, we were happily unimpressed and managed to get our little tent camp up no problem.

Amanda Blank

Feeling a bit groggy from Thursday night’s celebratory drinks we stumbled onto the sundrenched terrain on Friday around two, and were immediately welcomed by the sassy rhymes of Amanda Blank (my get um girls!), dressed in what is probably best described as a black swim suit and sneakers. Even though the festival was just getting started she gave a really lively performace and got the curious onlookers dancing. Good start of the day!

la_roux
photo: 3voor12

Next we headed to the girl with the funkiest hairdo of the festival: La Roux. Her uncompromising brand of squealing is a bit of an acquired taste, but the songs are very well put together with rediculously catchy eithies synth and singalong lyrics. Enjoyable, but I wouldn’t have been able for more than a relatively short festival set. She wrapped it up with crowd pleaser Bulletproof.

bon_iver
photo: 3voor12

I was a bit afraid what to expect of Bon Iver playing in the big Grolsch tent as this is the kind of band you should really see as close up as possible. To compensate I snuck in the front and was not disappointed. The band managed to play a warm and intimate gig despite the setting, and with additional drums on stage they packed some more power into the songs which was definitely a good idea.
They played some interesting new material too (Beach Babies and Blood Bank among others), and got the crowd to sing “What might have been lost” during The Wolves, always a smart move during a festival.

Beirut
photo: 3voor12

Holding onto our laid back mood we stayed in the Grolsch to watch wonderboy Zach Condon and band, otherwise known as Beirut. I was suprprised by how receptive the crowd was to their Yann Tiersen meets mariachi style music, and equally by how shy Condon is!
They didn’t blow me away (even with all their horns and trumpets), but they played well and had the crowd lovingly swaying side to side. Perfect soundtrack for a sunny mellow afternoon.

Lily_Allen

Right then, time to wake up and follow the masses to the stage among stages: Alpha. As we walk in Lily Allen is already in full swing, trotting around the stage in her high heels, flirting with the cameras filming her. She knows exactly what she’s doing and she does it well. Whether it’s the tongue in cheekiness of It’s Not Fair, the order to all flip the finger during Fuck You or a clubby cover of Brit’s Womanizer, we’re lapping it up. And she hit every note, credit where credit’s due.

From a cheeky girl to a cheeky chappy, next stop: Dizzee Rascal. He had the Bravo tent filled up without it being jam packed, everyone there seemed very up for some dizziness despite the temperature inside approaching boiling point. He mixed the old with the new, threw in some samples and a lot of “make some fuckin noise!”.
Even though the sound of tracks like Bonkers, Dirty Cash and Dance Wiv Me is commercial miles removed from his early stuff, the two work well together and the audience doesn’t seem to mind one bit.

Grizzly Bear6

At the end of the day I left all my friends (and most of Lowlands) who headed to the Alpha to see The Prodigy and I joined the minority splinter group in the India tent to see my most anticipated act of the day: Grizzly Bear. I was stood right at the front and got a good look at the harmonious Brooklyn foursome.
Southern Point made for an amazing set opener building up and quieting down again ending in a big climax. Their set was a mixture of soundscapes, beautifully layered vocals and even noiserock, with the Veckamtimest material as standout tracks. However, it soon became clear that the audience didn’t have the necessary patience for a Grzizzly Bear gig at this time of the evening (or maybe it was the niggling knowledge Prodigy was a 5 minute walk away?) and the tent gradually lost more and more people.
It didn’t bother me though, Grizzly Bear was my Friday highlight and I can’t wait to see them again in November!

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