Sunday, the last day of the festival, absolutely crammed with must sees. Still sunshine galore and sweltering heat, but there’s no time to work on my tan, the race begins!

Fanfarlo

First stop of the day is the charming Fanfarlo: “We’re missing half our band because they missed the plane, we fucked up!” said frontman Simon Balthazar with an apologetic grin, “will you help us with clapping and singing?”. Not a problem!
With no drums or strings they had to adjust their set a bit, but it made the gig ll the more spontaneous and the crowd loved it. In fact, they wouldn’t stop cheering until they came back for an encore, at the Charlie stage! Unusual and justified. I enjoyed their Bonnie Prince Billy cover of A Minor Place too.

Vampire_Weekend
photo: 3voor12

After that there was some more Brooklyn based indie on the menu: Vampire Weekend. I’d been looking forward to their show as I missed them last year, but have to say I was a bit underwhelmed. They play their songs adequately, all the hits are in there and some new stuff too (bit more electropoppy it seemed), but therejust wasn’t any magic. Was it the heat? Or their lack of stage presence? They could do with a bit more livening up as far as I’m concerned.

Snoop_Dogg
photo: 3voor12

Next stop: the dogg pound in the Alpha tent. As there wasn’t really anything else decent on at that time, absolutely everyone was headed to see Snoop Dogg. I decided to admire from a far, but was still entertained by the greatest hits machine on stage. It would be nice to see Snoop’s darker side a bit more, but in this case it was a well oiled crowd pleasing festival set.

Little_Boots
photo: 3voor12

After heated internal debate I decided to go and see Little Boots in stead of Patrick Watson, who were programmed in the same slot. Reason being I’d seen Patrick  four times before, but never miss Boots.
As I stood listening to her in the half empty India tent though, I got cold feet. Sure Little Boots gave a solid performance, but there wasn’t much excitement there. You can see the potential in songs like New In Town and Remedy, the rest is a bit bland and needs polishing. So after about 4 songs I couldn’t resist any longer, Patrick wait for me!

Patrick_Watson
photo: 3voor12

I rushed into the front of the Grolsch tent which luckily had enough room for me to wriggle in and felt immediately at home. Truth is I could go and see Patrick Watson & is guys ten times a year and it still wouldn’t bore me. They had no problem mesmerising that big old circus tent right to the back with the clever build up of their songs.
For the encore Patrick asked the crowd if they wanted to hear The Great Escape or To Build A Home. What!? “TO BUILD A HOME!!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, but alas.. He let some girl at the front decide and the dimwitted child went for the familiar Great Escape instead. Grrr. Maybe I’ll get my chance at Crossing Border in November.

Florence and the Machine2

And now, for the most anticipated act on my Lowlands logistical schedule, Florence and The Machine. I went to the Charlie stage over half an hour beforehand thinking I could get right in front, think again! Obviously the Florence buzz has spread, there were already quite a lot of people sitting on the floorboards to mark their territory.
I find it hard to describe what happened the 45 minutes after she took to the stage. This is going to sound horribly cheesy, but it was as if everybody there was temporarily transported to planet Florence, where there is love, drama, fairytales, hate, moon and stars and twilight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone, particularly at the age of 22 (!!!), be so vulnerable, real and compelling at the same time.

Florence and the Machine4

She stood there, red locks blowing in the wind, black dress floating up just enough to show gold sequined shorts, belting out one after another amazing song. The hopeful Dog Days Are Over, the tongue in cheek Kiss With A Fist, the hypnotising Cosmic Love, a more sultry version of My Boy Builds Coffins, each one a gem.
At the end of Drumming Song she spun around so vigorously she fell to the ground laughing. In between the songs she’s this slightly mad & chatty young girl, all giggles and funny stories. But then within seconds she has the ability to move you in a song. During her powerful version of You Got The Love a girl in front of me teared up and turned to her boyfriend for a big hug, I almost had a lump in my throat myself.
Florence seduced, mesmerised, shook, twirled, sparkled and sang her way right into my Lowlands 2009 no. 1 spot. My two “Florence virgin” friends who tagged along were also completely bowled over and gobsmacked. Can’t wait to see her full concert later this year!

The Maccabees

Still on a high, we stuck around Charlie stage to see The Maccabees. The first few rows are filled with jumping indie teenagers, by the look of them all Brits. They sure know how to get a party going and Maccabees guitarist Hugo White plays on this to great effect. They perform a crackling set that thrives on their specialty of suppressed tension building up and the cool vocals of Orlando Weeks.
Although the Brit brigade love the more jumpy early work, the songs off their last album get a great crowd reception too. It seems their turning the corner towards bigger and better, I’m interested to see where it takes them.

P1000318

As Lowlands draws to a close and pretty much everyone is on their way to see the Arctic Monkeys, I decide to take the road less travelled with a bit of Grace Jones (hula hooping her way through Slave To The Rhythm) and some festive Mongolian throat singing courtesy of Hanggai. Only at Lowlands.

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