Monday, July 7, 2008

Rock Werchter Festival- Day 3 recap

Day three at Werchter featured a non stop line-up of big names that we were anxious to check out, from Kings of Leon and Band of Horses, to Sigur Ros, MGMT and Radiohead. Here's the rundown of what we saw: ( to see all the photo's click here.)
-With the daunting task of being first up on the main stage at 12:15p on Sat., Athens Georgia's The Whigs brought their straight ahead southern filled rock. Shaking the cobwebs off of the hung over crowd, the three piece band cranked up the volume and raced through rockers "Right Hand on My Heart", "Already Young", "Production City" and the highlight of the set the rousing "Like a Vibration".

- Next up on the smaller Marquee stage was indie-electo-synth outfit MGMT. There hasn't been too many bands out there within the past year who have garnered more hype than these guys, so i was looking forward to seeing what they brought to the table live. The group had the crowd on it's feet early, dancing along to the hits "Time to Pretend" and "Electric Feel" which came across stronger than on album. Other standouts of the set were the pyschedelic "Weekend Wars" and the closer, the 80's dance infused "Kids".

- Band Of Horses on the Marquee Stage, kicking off the set with the beautiful crescendo steady rocker "Is There A Ghost". Lead singer Ben Bridwell and the band seemed to genuinely be having fun inter-playing with the crowd after every song with yells of "whooo" back and forth., with Bridwell introing songs with ..."this one's called ..whoooo". Mixing in new and older material the band featured tight harmonies on "Ode to LRC" and the countrified "The General Specific" from Cease To Begin with "Islands on The Coast" sounding especially strong. Classics from Everything All The Time like "Great Salt Lake", "Weed Party" and "Wicked Gil" had the crowd shaking, while the anthemic "The Funeral" was the absolute show stopper with it's mass sing along.

-Joy Division and Interpol comparisons aside, The Editors who played during a steady rain on the Main Stage brought urgency to songs such as "Smokers Outside Hospital Doors" and "An End Has A Start". But their older track "Munich" off of 2005's The Back Room had the most bite of them all.

-Next up on the Main Stage was Kings Of Leon. With three solid albums under their belt now, the southern band bring a swagger to their set of raw energy and guitar power. Starting their set heavy with material off of the recent Because Of The Times, the band scorched through "Black Thumbnail", "My Party", "Fans" and "On Call". The band is tight live, and were particularly on point on the 7 plus minute "Knocked Up". Older material that was exceptionally intense were "King Of The Rodeo", "Molly's Chambers" and "The Bucket", but highlighting the set was the brilliant "Charmer" with Caleb's howls, then leading into "Slow Night Slow Long" to close the set. Some Day soon you'll see these guys closing a Festival themselves.

- Iceland's Sigur Ros brought their airy dream pop, opening with an older track, the ambient "Svefn-G-Englar". During their set the hippy dancing began, as the crowd soaked in the atmospheric sounds. Highlights of the groups set were the richly layered "Saeglopur", along with "Vid Spilum Endalaust" which could be the most shoegazy or pop sounding song the band has tackled, which is off of the new album and also the hectic paced single "Gobbledigook" complete with confetti cannons exploding at the finish.

-Closing things out on night three, and probably the most anticipated act at Werchter this year was Radiohead. With a huge and far ranging back catalogue to choose from now at this point in their career, the band can really show off it's diversity. Wether it's opening the show with the sweeping "Weird Fishes" straight into "National Anthem" or "All I Need" into "There There", the band can switch gears on a dime. One minute unleashing spacey electronics, the next driving beats or just flat bringing full blown guitars. Just take for example the group closing out the set before the encores by dusting off the old screamer "Just" into "Reckoner", "Idioteque" and then "Bodysnatchers". No other band can match that kind of diversity and that is exactly why the band gets labled the most influential group around nowadays. Other particularly great moments from the set were "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" which sounded particularly electrified thanks to Jonny Greenwood's guitar work, "Climbing Up The Walls" and "Paranoid Android" with thanks on the latter again going to Greenwood's solo as the highlight, before closing out the set with a phenomenal version of "Everything In It's Right Place".

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