Monday, August 27, 2018

Live: Way Out West 2018 (Gothenburg, August 9th - 11th, 2018) - Part 2

In Part 2 of our coverage of Gothenburg's Way Out West festival we have the performances that stood out for us during the second and third day of the event that took place at Slottskogen Park between August 9th and 11th, 2018. You can check out the highlights of the first day here.

Fever Ray, live @ Way Out West 2018 (Aug. 10th, 2018)
Day 2 - August 10

Friday was less busy for us in comparison to the full first day of the festival, with fewer artists on our "must see" list, so after spending the morning checking out record shops and switching to non-vegetarian options for lunch, we made our way to Slottskogen Park in the afternoon, where Lily Allen was presenting on Azalea stage her comeback album "No Shame". I have nothing against her brand of dance pop music but it's definitely not my cup of tea, so we enjoyed some churros instead and waited for M.I.A.'s performance on the nearby Flamingo stage.

It's been a long time since the first time I had the opportunity to see Maya Arulpragasam on stage. It was actually 11 years ago in a festival in Paris, where M.I.A. shone with the material from her newly released "Kala" album, including the brilliant "Paper Planes". M.I.A. and her crew still present a lively and entertaining set, guaranteed to provide good festival vibes, but the sense of innovation that used to characterize her early work is not really present any more. Not surprising "Paper Planes" stole the show once more and had everyone dancing, but for some real surprises and thrills we had to wait a little longer for Fever Ray's set on Azalea stage.

M.I.A. live @ Way Out West 2018
Karin Dreijer, in her Fever Ray guise, made a thrilling come back last year with her second full-length release, the excellent "Plunge". Her live show at Way Out West, where she was accompanied by two back-up singers/dancers dressed in impressive uniforms plus a handful of musicians adding extra sonic layers and more percussion to her electronic sound, was certainly one of the festival's highlights.

Fever Ray's set combined some of the strongest songs from "Plunge" ("Wanna Sip", "To the Moon and Back", "IDK about You") with a few choice cuts from her classic debut ("When I Grow Up", "If I Had a Heart") to create a unique audio-visual experience, a Dionysian sonic orgy whose protagonists seemed to have landed on earth from a perverted universe far, far away!

Fever Ray, live @ Way Out West 2018
After the otherworldly 60-minute Fever Ray extravaganza, it was time for Kendrick Lamar, undoubtedly the world's top hip hop star at the moment.

Kendrick, who came on stage sporting an Oasis "Supersonic" t-shirt under his yellow jacket, gave a top-notch show, drawing an impressively large crowd who seemed to know the lyrics to all of his songs. His recent hit album "Damn" provided several of the night's highlights ("DNA", "Loyalty", "Humble" to mention a few) without forgetting his past, with tracks like "M.A.A.D City", "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" or "King Kunta" raising the enthusiasm of the fans. A triumphant performance from a man at the top of his game!

Kendrick Lamar, live @ Way Out West 2018

After Kendrick Lamar closed the night at Slottskogen Park, we tried to check out Australian punk rock sensations Amyl and the Sniffers who were playing at Folkteatern as part of the Stay Out West club shows. Unfortunately the small theater got too crowded (frankly an unfit venue for a punk show) and unable to see anything we decided to call it a day. From what we were able to hear though in the twenty minutes we were there, Amyl and the Sniffers are certainly a band that deserves our attention and we will be seeking out their recently released debut album that combines their EPs "Big Attraction" & "Giddy Up".

Day 3 - August 11

We started the rainy last day of Way Out West at the Linne stage where David Longstreth unveiled the latest line up of his long-standing Dirty Projectors project.

With new players Felicia Douglass (percussion/vocals), Maia Friedman (guitar/vocals) and Kristin Slipp (keyboards, vocals) joining the ranks of the band which also includes longtime members Nat Baldwin on bass and Mike Johnson on drums, plus a new album under their belt ("Lamp Lit Prose"), Dirty Projectors played a fine set that proved that Longstreth has found a way to reinvigorate his band and add an exciting new chapter to their important history.

Dirty Projectors, live @ Way Out West 2018
Meanwhile, back on Azalea stage Fleet Foxes unveiled their fragile melodies under the gathering clouds that brought the first heavy shower of the evening.

The band had something from each of their three albums in their set, with my favorites coming from their ten year old self-titled debut - "White Winter Hymnal", "Ragged Wood" and of course "Mykonos".

Fleet Foxes, live @ Way Out West 2018

Lykke Li on Flamingo stage was next, with a new album to present ("So Sad So Sexy") and an interesting past to draw upon in order to create a respectable pop show that made our wet evening warmer and a little bit sexier.

Lykke Li, live @ Way Out West 2018
After a bit of rest and a bite to eat, we were ready for the festival's grand finale on Flamingo stage, an epic performance by Arcade Fire.

The seasoned Canadian rockers seemed to under-perform last year with their fifth album "Everything Now" not living up to their usual standards. However on stage they proved that they are still a formidable force and despite the rain that made its presence felt especially during the start of the show, the band gave a triumphant performance, combining their best new material ("Put Your Money On Me", "Electric Blue", "Creature Comfort") with several highlights from their rich history.

Their classic debut "Funeral" was well represented with "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" and  "Rebellion (Lies)" making an impact early in the set, while the tremendous "Wake Up" was saved for the grand finale. In between songs from both "The Suburbs" and "Reflektor" left their mark and chased the rain away ("The Suburbs", "Ready to Start", "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)", "Reflektor", "Afterlife", "We Exist"). Only "Neon Bible" was left completely out, but I guess you can't have it all in a 80-minute festival appearance.

As the band made its exit to the sounds of "Walk On The Wild Side", it was time for us to say goodbye to Gothenburg and the lively Way Out West festival, a well organized and constantly growing event which we would definitely recommend to any music fan visiting Sweden during August.

Arcade Fire, live @ Way Out West 2018
Check out below clips from some of the performances we enjoyed during the second and third day of the festival, and click here for our coverage of the first day of Way Out West 2018.

Arcade Fire - Wake Up (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Fever Ray - Wanna Sip (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Fleet Foxes - Blue Ridge Mountains (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

 Dirty Projectors - Cannibal Resource (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Live: Way Out West 2018 (Gothenburg, August 9th - 11th, 2018) - Part 1

Way Out West festival takes place every August in Gothenburg, Sweden. The three day music and cinema festival has been growing steadily since its start in 2007 and it is now one of the major European summer festivals, attracting around 30.000 visitors each day to the beautiful Slottskogen Park at the heart of the city. After hours, when the outdoor stages at the park have closed, the music continues in various venues around the city, as part of the Stay Out West portion of the festival programme.

It’s also worth mentioning the emphasis that the festival places on environmental issues, its LGBTQ-certification by West Pride and the strictly vegetarian food policy which along with the decision not to serve alcohol in selected bars makes W.O.W. the most “straight edge” festival I have ever attended!

St. Vincent, live @ Way Out West 2018
In this post you can read about the performances we attended on August 9, 2018, the first day of the 12th edition of Way Out West festival and in the second part (check it out here) we will have all about days 2 and 3 of the event.

Day 1 - August 9

Thursday, the first day of the festival, was by far the busiest day for us, with the highest number of acts we wanted to check out, both in Slottskogen Park and later in Magasin 105 club as part of the Stay Out West gigs.

Grizzly Bear, live @ Way Out West 2018

Early in the afternoon on Azalea stage, one of the two main stages in Slottskogen Park, Grizzly Bear kicked off our W.O.W. 2018 experience with a great set based on last year’s fine "Painted Ruins" album, with the only "problem" being that the band had to play under a bright sunshine, with the sun in their eyes, as one of their songs goes.

Jenny Lewis, live @ Way Out West 2018
One of the good things we should mention about the festival’s organization is that the timetable of the lineup avoided clashes between acts with similar audience. One such issue however was not avoided at the start of the first day as Jenny Lewis’s set was scheduled to start only 20 minutes after Grizzly Bear.

Jenny Lewis, live @ Way Out West 2018
So, after about 40 minutes of Grizzly Bear, we made our way to the nearby Linne stage for the performance of the former Rilo Kiley’s singer. It’s been a while since we last heard something new from Jenny Lewis but there is plenty of material in her back catalogue to form a great set and we did have quite a blast in the half hour we got to attend, with "See Fernando" and Rilo Kiley 2004 favorite "Portions for Foxes" being the highlights.

Nils Frahm,, live @ Way Out West 2018
After relaxing for a while to the melodic experimental sounds of Nils Frahm at Flamingo stage (the other central stage of the festival), it was time for one of the best performances of W.O.W. 2018, St. Vincent’s weird and wonderful pop extravaganza at Azalea stage.

St. Vincent, live @ Way Out West 2018
Her hour-long set was focused on her latest album "MASSEDUCTION" kicking off with the high energy dance groove of "Sugarboy" and continuing with our Track of the Year for 2017, the great "Los Ageless".

Annie Clark’s frequent guitar changes between songs was aided by a masked man (who sported the same mask as the drummer and keyboardist of the band) in a little ritual that became part of the show and reminded us that even in her most dance-oriented tunes, her guitar playing always has an important part to play.

Next to her Toko Yasuda (formerly of Enon) was giving her own show handling synthesizers, bass and guitar according to the needs of each song.

Some of the prominent songs from previous albums that made it into the set included "Cheerleader", "Digital Witness" and "Rattlesnake", while the grand finale consisted of "Fear the Future", the fast version of "Slow Disco" and the excellent "New York", the only song where Annie let go of her guitar and moved to the front center of the stage to sing. A fantastic performance, which could have been the best of the festival had it taken place later at night and not during the afternoon with the sun still outshining the stage lights.

St. Vincent, live @ Way Out West 2018
Charlotte Gainsbourg, live @ Way Out West 2018
Next up at the Linne stage we enjoyed Charlotte Gainsbourg’s '80s influenced electropop set presenting songs from her 2017 album "Rest" ("Deadly Valentine" was certainly among the festival’s highlights), while back in the two central stages it was time for two veritable legends of rock music.

Patti Smith, live @ Way Out West 2018
First it was Patti Smith and her group who brought positive vibes at the Flamingo stage, in a set that combined a handful of her own classics ("Because the Night", "People Have the Power", "Dancing Barefoot") with a few selected covers (Midnight Oil’s "Beds Are Burning", Dylan’s "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and of course Them’s "Gloria" which she has made her own).

Iggy Pop, live @ Way Out West 2018
Minutes after Patti Smith's set was over, the electricity in the atmosphere was raised considerably by Iggy Pop who at 71 incredibly seems to not have lost any of his raw power. The godfather of punk showed the kids how it is done in a greatest hits set with all the tracks you would expect to hear ("I Wanna Be Your Dog", "The Passenger", "Lust for Life", "Search and Destroy", "No Fun") and a few that perhaps you wouldn’t (like ‘80s soundtrack song "Repo Man" or a cover of Bowie’s "The Jean Genie").

Arctic Monkeys, live @ Way Out West 2018
The first day’s proceedings at Slottskogen Park closed with the 90-minute headline performance by the Arctic Monkeys. The British band led by charismatic frontman Alex Turner (sporting a new, short-hair look) gave a solid performance with a well-balanced set that included songs from all of their albums.

Their latest effort "Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino" offered some of the more melodic moments of the night (like opener "Four Out of Five", the title track or "Star Treatment") while the set’s more energetic tunes ("Brianstorm", "The View from the Afternoon", "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor", "Teddy Picker") came from their earlier work.

The key to their captivating show was the correct balance between old and new material, combining in equal measure the youthful energy of their past with the more mature songwriting of their recent efforts.

Arctic Monkeys, live @ Way Out West 2018
As Arctic Monkeys closed the night at Slottskogen’s Flamingo stage with "R U Mine?", the Stay Out West portion of the festival had already began at various locations around Gothenburg’s center. We chose to make our way towards the Magasin 105 stage at Bananpiren (Banana pier) where, unfortunately, we only caught the last song of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s set, but we did get to enjoy the dark, primal energy of Chelsea Wolfe’s performance and the menacing, gothic drone of local hero Anna von Hausswolff.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, live @ Way Out West 2018

Chelsea Wolfe, live @ Way Out West 2018
Anna Von Hausswolff, live @ Way Out West 2018
After 12 hours of almost non-stop live music entertainment, it was high time for the ride back to the hotel to get some much needed rest and prepare for the next two days ahead of us.

More about the festival in part 2 of our Way Out West coverage, here.

Check out below selected clips from the first day of W.O.W. 2018:

Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine? (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

St. Vincent - Fear the Future (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Remarkable Day (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Jenny Lewis - Portions for Foxes (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Grizzly Bear - Yet Again (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Chelsea Wolfe - Scrape (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Iggy Pop - No Fun (live @ Way Out West Festival 2018)

Friday, August 03, 2018

New Releases: July 2018

Round-up of the most interesting albums, singles and EP's released in July 2018:


Endless Scroll
BODEGA - Endless Scroll
BODY / HEAD - The Switch
LAUREL HALO - Raw Silk Uncut Wood
WHITE RING - Gate Of Grief
DEAFHEAVEN - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
DEAF WISH - Lithium Zion
PRIMO - Amici
CHASTITY - Death Lust
WIMPS - Garbage People
KELLEY STOLTZ - Natural Causes
CHARLES WATSON - Now That I’m A River
IMMERSION - Sleepless
PRAM - Across The Meridian
PHANTASTIC FERNITURE - Phantastic Ferniture
SO STRESSED - Pale Lemon
LULUC - Sculptor
JENN CHAMPION - Single Rider
LERA LYNN - Plays Well With Others
COWBOY JUNKIES - All That Reckoning
BELLINI - Before The Day Has Gone
LARK - The Last Woman

Singles & EPs 

UNDERWORLD AND IGGY POP - Teatime Dub Encounters EP 
WHITE RING - Nothing / Leprosy 
SELECTOR DUB NARCOTIC - Bounce It Out (Bounce It On Out) 
GUIDED BY VOICES - You Own The Night / Your Cricket Is Rather Unique 
THE SPITFIRES - The New Age / Bitter End 
KLAMMER - Spiral Girl  
LARK / ANDREW WEATHERALL - Can I Colour Your Hair 
EL MICHELS AFFAIR - Unathi / Zaharila

Bodega - Charlie

White Ring - Nothing