Rock Werchter 2011, Day 3 Review

This could also be called “waiting for Coldplay” day, as it seems like that’s what most of the people were doing.


23:15 – 00:45UNDERWORLD
21:40 – 22:40MAGNETIC MAN20:05 – 21:05SELAH SUE
18:35 – 19:35BRIGHT EYES
17:05 – 18:05I BLAME COCO
15:45 – 16:45JENNY AND JOHNNY
13:20 – 14:00EVALINE


23:30 – 01:00COLDPLAY
21:35 – 22:50PORTISHEAD19:40 – 20:55PJ HARVEY
18:00 – 19:00ELBOW
16:25 – 17:25BRUNO MARS
13:20 – 14:20RIVAL SONS

I knew I had no intention of seeing The Pretty Reckless – whose lead singer is that girl who plays Jenny on Gossip Girl (a show I stopped watching after its first season and Jenny was my least favorite character). The other reason was that Gaslight Anthem were playing the main stage. I saw Gaslight last year, when they were playing the Pyramid, and I absolutely adored them back then, so I was very pleased they got a chance to play for a bigger audience. Unfortunately, the sound was just off, lead vocal wasn’t loud enough, you could barely hear Fallon’s voice, let alone decipher the lyrics, it just sounded like a mess. The crowd was happy, but I was left disappointed.

I made my way very quickly to the Pyramid, since Jenny and Johnny have already started. I mourn the end of Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis’s previous group, but it seems the Indie queen has decided that touring and creating with her beau (Johnathan Rice) was more important and would make her happier, as can be inferred from the name of their studio album I’m Having Fun Now. I didn’t hear any of their material before and apparently they play modern pop with a bit of an edge. Jenny definitely outshines Johnny, both in singing and stage presence. Their act is solid (interlacing some solo songs in between their collaborative ones) and they appear to genuinely be happy to sing with one another.
Here’s a little southern rock ditty – their take on Jenny’s Next Messiah:

The next choice was a double-edged sword: watch Sting’s daughter make a fool of herself or watch Bruno Mars’s untalented ass. Since I wanted to eventually be at Bright Eyes show, I decided to stick with the Pyramid, resulting in me having to endure Coco weird persona (I later found out she literally had her skull fractured two years age, so that might explain some of the girl’s behavior). Onwards and upwards I say.

Connor Oberst (Bright Eyes) has been making music since he was 13, self-releasing tapes (do you remember those awkward devices? Having to rewind them? How far we’ve come). I remember first reading about him in 2002 and being so overwhelmed with the praise he received, I had to buy his CD that same day. And then I played it on repeat. For weeks. That’s how unbelievably good I think Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground is. It’s a modern day masterpiece. And if you’ve never heard of it, I urge you to go and get it. Granted, Oberst’s voice isn’t great to say the least, but it feels honest and unashamed. And the show? you ask…  The band’s sound was excellent, if a tiny bit too loud, and it felt like Oberst was actually having fun (I had a fear the act would be depressing, because, well, his songs tend to be tales of woe). They only played up-beat songs, leaving the acoustic ones for another festival perhaps. Well worth the Coco.

And now we enter the fun part of the evening. The waiting. I was hoping that PJ Harvey’s show would be accessible, but boy was I wrong. Once she came on stage in a white gown with a corset on it, a golden-leaves tiara and some sort of harp, I knew this was going to be a tough one to handle.

I’m not a major fan but I do think she’s a true artist who believes in what she does and who has a fan base that adores her, being as that fan base is not quite correlated with the mainstream, her place is not on the main stage before Coldplay. Especially when she spent most of the show glued to the same spot, far away from her band (of geezers I may add).

Things only got worse when Portishead came on. The self proclaimed “odd” band just couldn’t feel more out of place. Their sound is slow, meticulous, uncommerciallike  (I just made up that word…), they make music that is meant to be heard in a dark smoky room. As you may recall, I was not it a dark smoky room. The audience response was as to be expected – a lot of conversations, a lot of people sitting down. Beth Gibbons, who felt as uncomfortable on such a huge stage as she looked, ended the show practically apologizing, saying she knows “it was a dodgy show”. Some might call this – not a highlight.

And then, Coldplay, who were built for these sort of stages. Chris Martin looks at home in front of a crowd of 100,000 and orchestrates the crowd perfectly. It’s an hour and a half massive sing-a-long, for better or worse. Being my second time seeing them live, I was less bewildered and enthralled than last time, but it was still immense fun. Even if you don’t like their music, you have to give props to the Britons for their production value (I’m not even talking about the fireworks at the beginning of the show).  As to be expected, they played the four new songs they’ve been playing at festivals lately, and all their well known hits (with Coldplay, that a description fitting almost every song they ever wrote). I especially enjoyed Politik and Charlie Brown. Bottom-line: worth missing Underworld for.

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