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)

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