Well we’re still alive, despite a little liver damage, and the good ol’ sun keeps shining down on us. Just getting to site in time for Jose Gonzalez‘ rather early slot, we encounter – well, everyone. Hordes are off to see the Swede play in Odeon, one of the smaller tents. By the time we work our way into the tent to get out from under the high, high sun we realise that Jose and band are set too far back in the stage for anyone but those directly in front of him to see. As there are no screens here it is left for everyone to either make do with just listening or forcing our way into the centre. This guy can sell out pretty big venues in Denmark so it seems a bad tent decision, but he does his thing beautifully and it is lapped up. For a genius of cover versions we don’t get anything especially Roskilde from him but he closes with -Smalltown Boy’ and lashes through it so fast we don’t get much chance to sing along.
Maybe it’s the daythreeness of it all getting to State but we get the tent wrong for Efterklang and by the time we get to the right one they are stopping punters getting in to the beautiful Astoria ballroom tent. We watch most of this concert from just outside but it’s clear that the Danish band are in stunning form with about 14 people on stage in either white shirts and trousers or red boiler-suits. Instruments are flying about (almost everyone on stage ends up playing drums at some point), someone up there is wearing a cape, and like a hybrid of Beta Band, Polyphonic Spree and yesterday’s finest, Yeasayer, they inspire worship inside the packed tent. We lose track of time and it could be an hour and a half they play for but we’re all caught up in it and the dimly lit tent really does justice to their whole ensemble show – all lights, drums and paper planes at the close.
We pass some real joy streaming out of the Odeon tent then as Queen Ifrica pours more positive vibes out upon us. True sunshine music it is. But it’s time to pick up the rest of the team and have that cooling first beverage of the day. Word is streaming in about the Irish weather and, ever considerate, State has a drink in the sun and toast our good website readers and beleaguered web editor. We shimmy over to Joan As Police Woman and certainly the snappiest dresser, she’s resplendent in a silver dress and is strong and purposeful in her delivery. We discuss how it would be wonderful to see her in an intimate indoor venue, as sun and ice cream are distracting much of the crowd. State is distracted by the first sight of a GAA jersey and we chat to some Kerry bikers who, like many kind souls at this festival, are flying a tall flag which enables their mates, but also the rest of us, to arrange suitable meeting points in big crowds. ‘I’m under the turkey-standing-on-a-pile-of-shite flag’ or ‘meet you at the inflatable alien banging the cow’ are phrases used much, much more often than you can imagine.
As with all good festivals, there comes that part of a given day where you either clone yourself or decide on one act to see but using supernatural powers State manages go catch most of Germany’s The Notwist (no-twist, or not-wist arguments aside) and they are bursting with energy, giving songs from the new album a much rockier live angle and receiving hearty cheers when a Neon Golden classic is unearthed. -Pick Up The Phone’ is such a joy and we want to stick about and see if they play -Consequence’ but we must away to see the only Irish contingent at the festival this year, My Bloody Valentine.
There is a relatively tidy crowd lined out to see the band that launched a thousand shoegazers. State works into the pit and we were happy with ourselves until BOOM! the band are most definitely back in action. It is probably the loudest band you will ever hear. The slow purposeful wall of noise would knock you sideways. In fact, it’s hard to pick anything specific out above the aural assault. Shields’, and Butcher’s vocals intertwine with Ã“ CÃosÃ³ig’s indefatigable drumming. It’s intense but the joy on some of the more seasoned faces in the crowd cannot be hidden. For hardcore fans it’s Christmas and they relish every distorted note and drowned vocal. We miss our editors warning to -watch out for the noise section’ and before you know it -You Made Me Realise’ bleeds 20 minutes of intense sound and we carry our ears to the main stage hoping for some solace. But no old dude sitting on a chair playing ballads here. Neil Young has come on stage with untold reserves of energy, shaming most young upstart bands. -Love And Only Love’ opens it and the gent in the -fashionable’ paint splattered trousers is burning it up in front of the crowd. In fact, there is a dude actually painting huge pictures (with the song titles on them) on stage beside a 2 meter high cooling-fan, which Young basks in to cool down once in a while. He’s like a man possessed of so much music that he has to violently get out of his system; -Cinnamon Girl’, -Words’ and -Fucking Up’ are roared out. For respite we have -The Needle And The Damage Done’ and State is compelled to make an expensive phonecall to LA to the fella who introduced us to Mr. Young, when -Old Man’ is given an airing. Sweat is pouring from the stage and it is engrossing stuff. -All Along The Watchtower’ (‘for my friend Bob’), -Heart Of Gold’ and the 23 minute wig-out epic of -No Hidden Path’ from Chrome Dreams II has us worn out, but not Young. Just when we think he must be spent we get The Beatles -A Day In The Life’ and Young drags the two disparate parts of the song together and screams it out like he owns it, losing himself further and further into he song. It all ascends into rock n’ roll oblivion and he’s ripping the strings off his guitar and snarling the final notes ‘Aaaah aaaah aaaah…’ and we are mesmerised.
Photos by Jakob Bekker