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Festival Report – Way Out West: Friday

We’re not quite sure how it happened but we think we ended up at a rave on top of a hill on Thursday night and well our head, legs and pride are still hurting a little bit as Friday’s mid afternoon park line-up begins to beckon. If anyone could coax us out of our beds and into the afternoon downpours it would be Ane Brun though, her beautiful creations drifting through the warm afternoon air. Arriving on stage in the most effortless elegant ensemble the Norwegian born, Stockholm resident draws extensively from this year’s It All Starts With One LP, its gently soulful numbers scattered in amongst choice selections from her extensive discography. Joined on stage by Jose Gonzalez for ‘Worship’ her shimmying, playful rhythms and powerful vocals become utterly arresting.

Photo: Hugo Johansson

From one incredible female singer to another, Canadian icon Feist treats the afternoon crowd to a beguiling 40 minutes, skipping back and forth between soft sombre tracks from her universally acclaimed album Metals and cautiously euphoric commercial successfully releases. Half the audience seem to letting her delicate tones wash right over their heads which is a crying shame, as the diversity of her unique output ranges from pop and art house jazz through to indie and guitar driven country, a taste for which is emphasised by Jeff Tweedy’s closing guest appearance.

Photo: Annika Berglund

Bon Iver bucks the trend by not bringing any guests on board but with a full band behind him the stage doesn’t look like it would fit anyone else. Having grown in stature and intricacy from his debut record into his second, Vernon’s bruised emotional compositions translate surprisingly well into this larger sphere – particularly numbers like set opener ‘Perth’ and heart wrenching EP track ‘Blood Bank.’

Photo: Annika Berglund

Tonight is, for most, all about Blur and when the opening chimes of ‘Girls & Boys’ ring out it is so easy to see why. Even though there is an element of them going through the motions with their more tried and tested hits, it is impossible not to get caught up in the moment – the crowd singing along to every word of ‘Beetlebum’, ‘Coffee & TV’ and ‘Song 2′. In fact the band seem rather at odds with the crowd tonight, the Brit poppers are clearly excited about trying out their more recent efforts but the audience’s response feels a little luke warm at times despite the high anticipation.

Photo: Adrian Pherson

As the chords of ‘End of A Century’ fade into the night, we make our way through the hordes of people into the heart of the city for one of the craziest, most inspirational sets of the weekend from avant garde musician and long time Ariel Pink collaborator John Maus. Within moments of being on stage the experimental performer is hitting everything in sight – the floor, his microphone, his face – nothing escapes his frenzy. The next five minutes are spent watching him scream “Louder, LOUDER, L-O-U-D-E-R” over brooding, industrial dance beats like a child having a temper tantrum before he moves into the euphoric territory of “Believer.”

-Lauren Down

Photo: Hugo Johansson


Header Image: Hugo Johansson

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