Once again this years edition of Rock Werchter has finished. This is not, for me personally, the best festival in Belgium, but it is certainly the biggest in number of visitors. Since a few years now it lasts for 4 days and the music is spread out over 2 stages, the main and the pyramid stage. Although the weather was horrible, the music was extremely good.
On the Thursday we had New Order doing their thing. They brought a good mix of old and new songs, ofcourse the crowd went wild when they played Blue Monday. The band itself hates this song and feels Temptation is better while at the same time I think Bizarre love triangle is their greatest, it was also the best performed number of the excellent set. Next up was Ozark Henry, an old time favorite of mine. One of the best performing Belgian artists and a real musical talent. The songs were played perfectly, but seemed lost on the big main stage. The band was having a good time for sure, but somehow it didn't seem to translate to the public. Best performed song of the set was Intersexual. The surprise and certainly in the top 3 of best gigs this year is courtesy of Kraftwerk. They blew me away. Those old German geezers still performed with a minimal of content but a perfect, spotless, amazing set. Best songs in the set where Man machine and Radio activity, although when they started The model the crowd went through the roof. If you get the change to see them perform, don't hesitate!
The next day Garbage wasn't doing to bad, although it seemed they had a hard time getting the people in the right mood, although that didn't stop Shirley Manson to show us her ass, yep, nothing beats showing your ass in front of 70.000 people, except playing a great version of Push it. As far as I know, the only Dutch singing band on Werchter this year was Monza, which is a reincarnation of Noordkaap. People who know Stijn Meuris, know he is a real performer. It seems like he gets consumed by his own music once he is on stage, this time it was not different. Funny was the way they dressed up, like a band from the 60's or something, looking like they walked out of a bad episode of Happy Days. The set was dead on; new work, older work and even several oldies from the Noordkaap repertoire. Ik hou van U had the usual effect, although Panamarenko was my favorite. The happy punk songs and excellent show of Greenday did nothing but confirm this had been a great second day. The band sure knows how to entertain, fireworks, interaction with the crowd, and although I saw them already once and this was mostly a rehash it didn't bore for one second. Again they selected 3 people to come on stage and play a song, this time they even gave away their guitar. And although it is a punk band and they are naughty they are mostly entertaining and I'm sure they gain a few fans each time. It is difficult to pick their best performed song, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Boulevard of broken dreams.
Everybody who knows me, should know that Millionaire is one of my favorite bands, since Tim Vanhamel is an ex Evil Superstar and he is not afraid of trying new things and touching the boundaries of musical genres. Anyway, after a few songs Mauro came on stage and played one song along. Great, great, great! The set however was mostly made up out of new songs, so I didn't know that many of them. Played very loud and required some effort to appreciate. Surprise nr.2 of the festival was Interpol, as I don't really like their songs when played on the radio, they are not bad at all, but they seem a bit over-hyped. Still I must confess to being totally blown away by the set they played. Perfectly played, enjoyable music and the crowd loved every second of it. Although there wasn't much going on on stage, except some light effects, the music did all it had to do and impressed. Best performed song was Evil. Go see this band if you get the chance.
Zita swoon is really transforming as a band, going back to their roots, which are Moondog Jr. Gone are the days of disco and Banana Queens, back are the gentle, relaxed songs. I really like this band, no matter how they play their music, however some of their songs don't translate to this relaxed musical way of playing (like banana queen), but the overall set was beautifull, an oasis of love and wisdom. The side effect of playing this way is that the crowd is not easily pumped up, so it was difficult for them to get interaction at some times. Still it rates as one of the best performances this year, best played song was Jintro and the great Luna. I like the Foo's more then Nirvana. And it seems there is nothing that can get in the way of these party animals. What a perfect set! This was not the first time I saw them, but certainly the best. Although the sound was hard, rough and loud it was also very clear and perfectly performed. Best song; My hero
Bands that should be avoided at all costs are: Snoop dogg, Within temptation, Faithless, Audioslave and propably others but I didn't have a change to see everything.