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!