My summer fest experience finished in mid-August with the Way Out West (WOW), a festival taking place in Göteborg (Sweden). This festival holds 4 main stages, some of which rather small and, therefore, with reduced capacity, plus a couple of stages at the Stay Out West, which I didn’t visit, accessible by bus from the main WOW venue.
The pitch in front of the stages is, in principle, alcohol- and food-free. That is, there are specific areas where to grab a bite or have a sip, and rather strict control when entering the pitches. This was a plus point, surely, as the pitch area didn’t end up so filthy as in any other fests. The same can be said of most of the other facilities. The fewer the people, the cleaner the venue. Mathematical.
In contrast with other fests I’ve attended, let’s say this one was not the one that offered the most impressive line-up of them all. But it was precisely because of that (and of my beloved Florence and The Machine, ehem) that I made up my mind to go, as there’s little chance that Ellie Goulding, Susanne Sundfør or First Aid Kit, to mention a few, set foot in Spain any time soon. It also included a few Scandi acts such as First Aid Kit, Kygo, Tove Lo, and Susanne Sundfør, among others. Besides, it offered some international great acts which, oh surprise, surprise, didn’t overlap with any other big names. The downside to this was, though, the consequent mass of people for certain acts, such as Future Islands, Years & Years, Pet Shop Boys or First Aid Kid, either due to the timing or the stage assigned.
suffering seeing Kindness again from the distance, Day 1 started with the timeless music of the Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. Their show was kind, friendly, no risks taken, including tunes from all their discography, without emphasizing much on their latest, more electrodance-y album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance till the end of the show. Initially, they weren’t going to have videos in the backdrop but they managed to rent the huge screens in the background, courtesy of Pet Shop Boys, in exchange of £200, that is. If it hadn’t been for the videos, their show would have been just ok. While it is true that they are in full shape and that their show is dynamic and funny at times, the fun came from, essentially their frontman, Stuart Murdoch, only, who cordially invited some punters to dance to a couple of their tunes on the stage. The other members of the band did their job, yes, but not even their outfits, including a shopping bag when leaving the stage and the gown you could easily wear to do the yearly general clean-up of the house, showed they were going to play on stage in front of an audience. Stage presence, guys!
Being late for the beginning of Future Islands‘s show, it was impossible for us to enter the Linné tent, we had
to make a supernatural effort to see Foxygen from the distance, while waiting for The War On Drugs, an American indie rock band who, in my view, released one of the best albums of 2014: Lost In The Dream. Theirs was a serious show, aiming at highlighting the grandness of their solo guitars and of their frontman’s peculiar voice and occasional ‘wooh’.
While their music live sounds impeccable, clean, brilliant, there is not much more to the show other than the perfect execution of songs of classy indie rock style.
Then we were forced to take the tough decision to skip the now super trendy Kygo (yep, first world problems * sobs *) in favor of the Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør. With some delay for technical reasons, we attended a gig that took a while to take off. The first part was (way too) experimental for a festival show and left part of the audience a bit out of place. Or maybe it didn’t. Difficult to state openly. However, even the very Susanne, once this part was over, went like ‘Let’s have some fun!’ (weren’t we supposed to be having fun from minute one?). In Sundfør‘s defence, it must be said that it can’t be easy to decide on a setlist when your catalogue covers so many different styles and registers. The most ‘difficult’ (to call them some way) tunes transported the audience to a sideral space where there was room for any synth or button Susanne felt like playing while going almost in a trance state. Her more danceable pop tracks, while involving the audience more easily, failed to sound so neat, yet it was blatantly obvious that the audience enjoyed them perhaps even more than the previous ones.
Beck was the cherry on top of the night. To be honest, I had no idea what I was about to listen to (* hides behind a rock *), but Beck won a new fan with his live show, including cute choreos and skits. Unable to say anything about the setlist or how the show unfolded accordingly, I will just say that seeing that man on stage made me think ‘I wanna take you home and press your belly button to make you play whenever I feel like it’. An artist to explore, for sure.