Monday, August 05, 2019

Live: Ejekt Festival 2019 with The Cure, M. Kiwanuka, Ride, Khruangbin (Athens, July 17th, 2019)

The Cure, live @ Ejekt 2019 (Athens, July 17th, 2019)
In the third and last post of our three-part series presenting the live music we got to enjoy during our July vacation, we have photos and videos from Ejekt Festival 2019 headlined by The Cure and also featuring Michael Kiwanuka, Ride, Khruangbin and The Steams.


Khruangbin, live @ Ejekt 2019 (Athens, July 17th, 2019)
We arrived at Plateia Nerou, the seaside location of the festival in recent years, just in time to catch the summer vibes of Khruangbin, the Texas trio which we also enjoyed a few days earlier at BST Festival in London. The early afternoon heat did not hinder their breezy set which brought us the sounds of their recent album "Con Todo El Mundo", an interesting, laid back mix of global music, soul, funk, garage and psychedelia.



Ride, live @ Ejekt 2019 (Athens, July 17th, 2019)
The logical flow would suggest that after Khruangbin we should be hearing Michael Kiwanuka's soul sounds, but instead the musical mood changed drastically with the classic shoegaze guitars of Ride. The Oxford band has defined this sound with its early '90s output and in the almost 60-minutes they played, we got to hear several of their classics including "Seagull", "Dreams Burn Down", "Leave Them All Behind", "Taste", "Vapour Trail" and "Drive Blind". Ride's return to action in recent years has also brought us some exciting new music and their set also included songs from their 2017 comeback album "Weather Diaries" as well as a couple from their forthcoming work "This Is Not a Safe Place", with closer "Kill Switch" being one of the highlights of their performance.


Michael Kiwanuka, live @ Ejekt 2019 (Athens, July 17th, 2019)
Michael Kiwanuka and his band with the easier to the ear melodic soul and folk sounds allowed us some time to relax and enjoy our beer before the mammoth, two and a half hour headline set of goth godfathers The Cure.


The Cure, live @ Ejekt 2019 (Athens, July 17th, 2019)
Robert Smith and his band have not played around these parts for almost 14 years, so the long set filled with highlights from The Cure's early years until their late '80s - early '90s hits was more that welcome from the huge crowd of all ages that filled the venue to see them. It was certainly one of those occasions where different rock generations meet, some to remember the music of their youth, some to see for the first time one of rock's legendary bands, that although it has not produced any new music for several years now, its classic output is more than enough for a great festival show.


Here's The Cure's set list at Eject Festival which this year celebrated its 15th anniversary, plus a couple of videos from the event:


The Cure - The Caterpillar (live @ Ejekt Festival 2019)

Ride - Drive Blind (live @ Ejekt Festival 2019)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Live: British Summer Time Hyde Park (London, July 13th, 2019)

The National, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
The second event of our London visit was the penultimate date of the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park, headlined by Florence + The Machine and The National.

Florence + The Machine, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
Finding a festival with the kind of line up that I would enjoy from start to finish hasn't been easy this summer, but the July 13th event in Hyde Park looked like it was tailor-made for me. First of all it was The National's presence that got the festival date on my radar as I had not seen the band live for many years (here's when was the last time), while this year's "I Am Easy to Find" is certainly one of their best albums yet as well as one of the highlights of 2019 so far.

The National, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
It's also been a long time for Florence Welch and her band (since her Athens live debut at Synch 2009 festival), so this was a good opportunity to see her in her hometown, but what closed the deal for me was the fine line up of support acts that ensured this was a festival date we would enjoy from start to finish. And as Florence pointed out during her set, the event's line up was 70% women ("Welcome to the matriarchy!" as she jokingly said), a rarity for festivals these days, although it's clear that women are responsible for a large percent of the best new music around.

Welcome to the matriarchy: Florence + The Machine, headlining B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019
Add to the great line up, the fine weather of that weekend (no rain and no heatwave either) and what you get is a great festival day filled with fine music in one of London's finest parks. Here's what else we enjoyed until The National and Florence + The Machine performances closed the day:

Cherry Glazerr


Cherry Glazerr, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
Clementine Creevy and her band came on the main stage around 13:30 for a strong 30-minute set, a fine blast of 90's indie-rock influenced guitar music, culled mainly from their recent album "Stuffed & Ready".

Goat Girl


Goat Girl, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
Goat Girl's debut was one of the highlights of 2018 and we had the opportunity to enjoy several tracks from it early in the afternoon at BST's second stage.

Nadine Shah




Nadine Shah, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)

Back on the main stage it was time for Nadine Shah and her excellent five-piece band who presented us one of the strongest sets of the day, based mainly on her 2017 album "Holiday Destination". If I am not mistaken, we also got to hear a couple of new songs as well. In any case, after this great performance we are certainly looking forward to her next releases.

Let's Eat Grandma


Let's Eat Grandma, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
Childhood friends Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth have great chemistry together and the fun of their modern electropop sound is certainly infectious. Their dance routines during some of their songs is something else!

Blood Orange / Lykke Li

Blood Orange, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
Lykke Li, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
Dev Hynes' Blood Orange presented their latest work "Negro Swan" adding some R&B flavors on the main stage's proceedings, while Sweden's Lykke Li brought to Hyde Park the melancholic pop of her last year's album "So Sad So Sexy". Having seen her set last summer at Gothenburg's Way Out West we took the opportunity to have a lie down in the park and gather our strength for what was to come.

Aldous Harding




Aldous Harding, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
New Zealander Aldous Harding is responsible for one of our favorite folk albums of 2019, the excellent "Designer", and along with her four-piece band she presented us one of the finest sets of the festival on the second stage, featuring one of our top songs of the year, the wonderful "The Barrel".

The National





The National, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
Back on the main stage it was time for The National. The band has book-ended this decade with perhaps their two greatest albums, 2010's "High Violet" and 2019's "I Am Easy to Find", they are undoubtedly one of the finest live acts around and as this awesome 90-minute set proved, this year is a great time to catch them live. They played highlights from most of their albums and of course presented us their latest work accompanied by four excellent singers, Gail Anne Dorsey, Mina Tindle, Lisa Hannigan and Eve Owen.

Khruangbin


Khruangbin, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
Khruangbin's mostly instrumental set closed proceedings on the second stage and were also joined by Dev Hynes for one song. More about the Texan trio's blend of psychedelia, surf, soul and dub on our next post about Ejekt Festival as a few days later we watched them again in Athens.

Florence + The Machine



Florence + The Machine, live @ B.S.T. Hyde Park 2019 (July 13th, 2019)
I may not be the biggest fan of "High As Hope", Florence + The Machine's fourth album, but undoubtedly Florence is an excellent performer and a great vocalist, so her headlining performance at Hyde Park (her second time on this stage) was certainly an entertaining experience. Full of energy and emotion, she presented a set covering all her albums so far and celebrated the ten years of hard work that brought her to the enviable position of topping this great bill here, in her hometown. A triumphant show to close the promotion of her latest album in the UK, before some rest and more headlining sets, this time in Athens, under the Acropolis.

BST 2019 highlights including The National, Aldous Harding, Nadine Shah, Goat Girl and Cherry Glazerr