Lima area

When you wake up on day three there is always a slight feeling of panic. Surely this cannot be what my face looks like? Why am I not able to stand up straight any more? Where did I leave my voice? Three nights with at most 4 hours sleep, lying on a wafer thin ‘self inflatable’ mattress really take their toll. But there’s still so much to see, no rest for the wicked.

SUNDAY 22-8

I decided to start my day off with a touch of hippy and headed straight for Yeasayer. I didn’t really know what to expect live as some of their songs are better suited to a state of mantra meditation, but I was pleasantly surprised. Their set was really diverse with more hits than I realised and the band sounded great, with both singers pitch perfect.  Even though their music can be a bit complicated for such a big stage there were plenty of anchors to hang on to: Sunrise, Ambling Alp, ONE and 2080. A wonderfully melodic and smooth start to the day.

Yeasayer live at Lowlands 2010 (photo Nick Helderman via 3VOOR12)

Even though The National is not necessarily my cup of tea I decided it would be worthwhile to have a peek and indeed it was. I was treated to a beautiful rendition of Bloodbuzz Ohio and heard a well oiled band playing intense songs with understated emotion, but it still didn’t grab me. A friend of mine said that if I love Radiohead I should love The National as well, but I’m going to have to let him down.

And now for something completely different: Die Antwoord, completely off kilter rap techno hip hop Zef  beat threesome from Cape Town. I had high expectations for this act, bringing something completely new to the festival lineup. It turned out to be a very entertaining show with special mention for the tiny and talented Yo-Landi Vi$$er, but it didn’t blow me away. The beats were there, the X-rated lyrics were all over the place (Jou ma se poes in a fishpaste jar!), the hits were there (Enter The Ninja, Beat Boy, Wat Pomp), but somehow it didn’t reach the next level. A lot of the material was still rough around the edges and friend & fellow Zef man Jack Parow did a much better job of connecting with the audience. And where was Parow during the hilarious closer Doos Dronk?

Die Antwoord at Lowlands 2010 (photo Jelmer de Haas via 3VOOR12)

On to Manchester new rave alumni Delphic, who delivered exactly what you would expect: a whirlwind show of synthesizers, beats, strobe lights and aspirational lyrics (Give me something I can believe in), brought with a lot of energy and conviction. The crowd enjoyed it and so did I, but somewhere in the ‘rave’ part of their music I lose interest. Maybe it’s the Manchester thing, never really got any of the bands with that sound, bands like Foals speak to me a lot more.

On the other side of the dance spectrum we find the straight laced but seductive London synth sound of Hot Chip. I’ve seen them a few times now and enjoy them more each time, they understand perfectly how to build a festival set and have the crowd jumping around in no time. With a hit packed catalogue of material to choose from it’s almost too easy: Over And Over, One Life Stand, Ready For The Floor, One Pure Thought, Hold On... Shame that Joe Goddard wasn’t with the band this time, although they used video images to produce his essential warm vocals.

Hot Chip

After the steaming Hot Chip crowd flowed out of the sauna of the Bravo tent I wandered over to the India stage for a spot of Two Door Cinema Club and was amazed to see a huge crowd stretching far beyond the tent joyfully dancing and singing along to every song. How did that happen? Did Something Good Can Happen get so much airplay that everyone bought the album? The Northern Irish boys are still a bit shaky in parts but are playing with loads of gusto and the crowd is clearly loving it. It’s cheerful and cleverly made pop music at it’s best, perfect little festival band but I’m curious to see if they have anything else up their sleeve.

At this stage of the day, hitting 9 PM and the festival slowly coming to an end, I find myself calculating the chance I will be able to make it through the next gig standing up. And so I decide to enjoy Massive Attack from the sidelines with some much needed refreshment. Not a decision I would usually make, as this is the kind of band you need to experience from within the dark brooding belly of the beast, way up front in the tent, where Martina Topley Bird’s bewitching vocals surround you. Sadly I was surrounded by kids in their late teens – early twenties who hadn’t the slightest idea what Massive attack have contributed to music.

Fool's Gold

Then comes the crucial moment: deciding which act will be your last one of the festival. Go the obvious route and head for Queens of the Stone Age at main stage Alpha? No, seen them before and not enough of a fan to brave the masses. Go out with the festive gypsy sounds of Shantel? No, not in the mood for Balkan beats. We happily ended up at the intimate Lima open air stage where Fool’s Gold gave the perfect end of festival performance. The musicians seemed to be having the time of their lives, the music was appropriately sunny and upbeat with a lot world music influences (African, Israeli and hometown Brooklyn to boot). I enjoyed it immensely and so did everyone else considering we were all still singing the last song for ten minutes after the band left the stage. They even came back for an extra bow and to take pictures of these crazy Dutch people who didn’t know when to stop.

Our little gang ended the night with the completely mental party cooked up by legendary Dutch DJ Kees van Hondt with his special brew of insane German and tiroler folk beats (where does he find this stuff??) and all the partygoers bringing attributes to the tent (mainly broken branches, inflatable animals and any unsecured piece of festival furniture). Then back to the camp sight to spend roughly three hours dreaming of what a wonderful edition 2010 was. Let’s do it all again next year.

Lowlands at night

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