So…………Pukkelpop was great. Good music, good laughs, good weather. Musically, it was a success. The first day was a case of one great set after another; with Bon Iver making me feel emotional, Dizzee Rascal making me feel ghetto, and Maximo Park making me feel northern. Then the heavens opened during Deftones, before the ‘suprise’ act, Them Crooked Vultures, made everyone giddy. Especially me, even though I stood at the back of the tent, dripping wet and having lost my friends. I proceeded to walk about like a dick for two hours trying to find our tent (in the process missing The Offspring) until I eventually found my buds.
Finally, Faith No More blew everyone away with their awesome set which featured Mike Patton getting in VIP’s faces and a stagediver who leapt from a great height and missed the crowd completely. Crazy.
The second day was proving to be a little under-par as we were bored by New Found Glory and buggered off after two songs from Fight Like Apes (Sample lyrics: “You are like Kentucky Fried Chicken but without the taste“, “Lend me your face!” and “You smell like ham and taste like bile!”) until Eagles Of Death Metal charmed the pants of everyone with their hip-swinging boogie rock and a quick guest spot from the Desert Rock overlord Chris Goss.
Then we represented the big G by getting down the front for Glasvegas, who were simply phenomenal. James Allan was in rare form and everyone came away feeling stoked. More Scottish love was felt when we were pleasantly suprised by Snow Patrol being really cool. Placebo wrapped things up with an atmospheric, yet strangely anthem-lacking set. We then saw a few tunes by Kraftwerk before sloping off to bed.
My most anticipated sets fell on the Saturday, and the first didn’t disappoint. Florence And The Machine rocked the house big time with us and some Irish dudes dancing our white asses off. Next up, Klaxons were very good, with the most crazy crowd of the fest so far (that could have been because I was quite drunk at this point) and they pulled out all the hits, my highlight being a feral version of Magick.
Still riding of my beer buzz, we missed Fiddy but managed to check out N.E.R.D, which I can’t recall much of, other than a sexy-as-all-hell version of Lapdance. Finally, my big one: Arctic Monkeys. After deciding to go to the front and then stopping halfway, I found out the only major problem with Belgian crowds. People near the front tend to stand mostly still and watch the band, and if you try to squeeze past to gain access to where you can mosh or dance, they take offence and hit you. What the fuck? Where is the logic in that?
Anyway, the Monkeys played fine, but I thought that something was missing. They didn’t help themselves by loading the set with new material (almost all of the new album was played) and being very sparse with the older material. It was okay for people like me who had heard the leak of Humbug, but for everyone else there was no ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, ‘A Certain Romance’ or ‘Teddy Picker’. Also, they barely said a word inbetween songs and I got the definite feeling they would rather have been somewhere else. Ah, well.
All in all, a great festival experience and my personal best so far. Enjoy the tunes that soundtracked my time in Belgium! And please buy albums from all the artist I have mentioned!
So Humbug has leaked! I’m so excited I could kick someone in the face. Since I’m going to see the Arctics at Pukkelpop in 20 days time, i’m stoked to get a few weeks listening time before seeing the tunes played live. I’m going to give you my thoughts on it, even though I know you really don’t care. Here we go!
My Propeller – Great intro. Little bursts of drums and guitar open the album. Alex is really crooning here, his voice is much deeper now. Lots of sexual imagery here – “my propeller wont spin and I cant get it started on my own,” Steady, big fella!
Crying Lightning – Still loving this tune. One thing I’m happy at is that the Monkeys didn’t release this too long before the album came out. I hate tiring of lead singles as I replay the album, but so far this is my favourite song on the record.
Dangerous Animals – First things first – Josh!!! Yes! This is soooo good. Big sexy riff and more sex related chat. Alex is a horny bugger by the sounds of things. And I thought Favourite Worst Nightmare was shag-obsessed! “Lets make a mess, lioness’” Turner sings. This is the first song with a big fat solo on there, and it’s quite satisfying. The way Alex spells out the title of the song has been the subject of much debate on the Monkeys’ forum, but I quite like it.
Secret Door – Were are in Mardy Bum/505/No Buses territory here. Alex crooning again. I must admit that just now the version I have is not living up to the performance that they gave on the live website. But I have the feeling this is a demo. The chorus vocals have a completely different feel to the verses.
Potion Approaching – More sexy, driving rock riffs here. Sounds like the whole band are singing backup vocals. The riff has a real swagger at the end.
Fire And The Thud – Queensy feel to this tune with the falsetto ‘oohs’. A mid-paced grower, I think.
Cornerstone – Warm acoustic feel to this one. Alex reminds me of Morrissey here, even though the song is about pulling girls in pubs. Once again, he creates a compelling, layered narrative within four minutes and weaves a cracking tale. Great song.
Dance Little Liar – Another spacey mid tempo song. It’s good – but I suspect it will take a little time to grow on me. That’s the way I felt about most of FWN, and I love that album now. The drums remind me of QOTSA’s Turning on the Screw. Loving the bonkers riffing at the end!
Pretty Visitors – Some synths open this song. Up tempo again. This song really showcases how different the band sound to Whatever People…. This song contains a huge metal riff and a mega chorus that has a kind of carnival theme to it.
Jewellers Hands – Some bizarre guitar effects here. There’s a real theatrical feel with this song. The way it builds a mood and turns in a lovely, wistful chorus.
And that’s it! I have only been listening a few days, but already songs are going up and down in my estimation. I cannot wait to hear these tunes played live. Roll on Pukkelpop! I’m not gonna post any MP3’s, as Domino are eating the faces of bloggers that post any.
But I will direct you to We All Want Someone To Shout For, where you can download the video of the live performance of album tracks (plus a cover of Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand that will will melt your face with it’s awesomeness) i talked about previously. Get it here.
Pre-order Humbug at Amazon.co.uk. I have!