We walked into the festival "venue" in Tilburg and it started to rain, and I don’t mean just a couple of drops, I mean this was let's build an ark this shit is about to get real kind of rain. What this did do was force us straight into the first tent that presented itself to us. This then allowed us to see the last three quarters of the Black Lips show and they were cranking. They automatically reminded me of why I had wanted to see them play when the band line up for the day was announced.
The highlight of their set was the song "Bad Kids" which was on a compilation "tape" I received from my good friend Bill 3 and 1/2 years ago which featured all the artists from the Lane Way festival. Also and probably more noticeably for the masses the song was also featured on the "500 days of Summer" sound track and it is a bloody corker.
After this first tent dalliance, and whilst there was a break in the weather, we strolled over to the main stage to see catch a bit of The Local Natives and they were really good. They had a well-balanced sound and I made a mental note to try and catch them next time they come through Amsterdam. Alas the next time they are scheduled I will be at a Robert Zimmerman gig, so maybe next time I will see them....
Just as we dived out of the rain once again, and sourced a beer we managed to catch the last couple of songs from the Skaters and their closing song was a cover of a Nirvana song, it’s the one with the chorus – ‘Can’t find a way, a better way’ (Territorial Pissing) and it was really, really good. To the point that if someone said it was just a recording of the original, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Well I hope it wasn’t, but maybe it was after all - they were a stage away and it was bucketing down with rain again.
Next up was a band called No Age, I had heard good things about this two piece band hailing from L.A. who I think may have been recently signed to Sub Pop, or another label I like. And as the show went on I thought how yes, there is something there, in this very raw two piece punk-ish outfit. Alas it was this same raw aspect that had intrigued me that ultimately I found distracted me and after 5-6 songs I decided I had seen enough, and it was time to move on and see the next band, a four piece British band who the press have been raving about for the last year going by the name of Palma Violets.
These boys were good and initially I thought that the bloke in the band known as Chili (or something like that) was nuts and by the end of the show I did not change my mind about this as a full beer can sailed out or his hand and 100 meters away into the crowd therefore vindicating my thought.
It was this super high energy that really made the show. And it was their punk "Morrissey" sounding vocals with energetic punk undertones that really keep you captivated. Furthermore as the set /band warmed up they got better and better until it was all over and the crowd were left wanting for more.
After the Palma Violets finished it was time for something different, well something not that different for me, it was Kurt Vile and it was the third time in a year that I had seen him live. This time he wasn't any different but he wasn't any worse either. He and his band of merry men gave it their all....and when I say all I mean in a very "Lo-Fi - shoe gazing" kind of way.
Up next was the band I was really excited to see, Portishead. We packed ourselves into the main tent and it is fair to say it was full, and I don't mean full as in we can get in another one hundred people, I mean full and we already have 4000 to many in here.
My expectations of the show following the last two times I have seen this band were rather high. I expected excellence, pure excellence, and I was not disappointed.
Leading up to Beth Gibbons and band taking the stage the crowed were in a state of pure anticipation, they had continued to grow and it was then that new that this as the band everyone had really traveled to see. What did they play I hear you ask? Well that is a great question, it is better to say what didn't they play from a band that only has just over 45 minutes to contend with a crowd at a festival. First off they punched out a few solid songs off the recent album which were okay. But all up the 12 song set did have Mysterious, Over, Glory Box, Cowboys and Roads. And Beth and the boys gave a perfect performance, it was a cracking set.
The last act for the evening would be Sigur Ros and by then I think I was a bit tired of dodging the rain and was ready to go home. That being said there were the expected high pitched harmonies and a good lighting display but all up nice but not mind blowing.
In the wrap up, whilst we went to a festival and spent the bulk of the day trying to dodge the rain it was still very doable and extremely enjoyable.