In the five years since I first saw Metronomy so much has changed about the band that it’s hard to believe that they’re the same entity at all. Today’s Metronomy is much more confident and polished, and this work has obviously paid off as they managed to draw a decent sized crowd to the outdoor stage in the scorching early afternoon. In the heat their more breezy, yacht rock-like tracks drifted nicely on the breeze and seemed to have a cooling effect. Their dancier numbers such as “The Bay” and “Heartbreaker” were too infectious not to move around to, even if it meant more sweat. The closing “Radio Ladio” was a full-on party and sing along in one, with everyone down the front getting totally involved in making it a send-off to remember for the Brits.
First Aid Kit
Santigold’s alt pop seems fresh because it’s so perfectly executed yet it still seems spontaneous. This is true of her live show, which incorporates a tight band, all dressed the same way, and a pair of energetic and entertaining back up dancers with choreographed moves, which makes the show seem polished, but then she’ll do something like invite a bunch of the audience on stage to dance around and things feel like barely-controlled madness. Santigold played all the favourites from her debut album of a few years past, as well as introduced the audience to a host of new numbers that were all very well received. Like Metronomy she managed to keep the audience dancing throughout, whether it was to something they knew like “Creator,” or an instantly punchy new track like “Freak Like Me.” She saved the biggest dance number of all for the end with “Big Mouth” and had many parts of the audience bouncing around to the rave-style number; a memorable way to end her set.
Fitz And The Tantrums
Having already seen Wild Flag tear apart the intimate Troubadour last year, it was interesting to see how they transferred their sound to a much bigger arena which came in the form of the outdoor stage. Basically, they just made everything bigger to match; the riffs were more monstrous, Carrie Brownstein’s growls and wails more fearsome, and everyone’s rock star moves seemed more extroverted. The four women sounded as tight as ever rushing through jams like “Boom” and “Romance,” but were happy to tease out longer jams like “Glass Tambourine” and “Race Horse”; effortlessly dragging the audience through the loops with them. The band wrapped up with a cover of The Distillers’ “Ask The Angels” which saw Brownstein and co at their punchiest and most fun all afternoon, it was almost as if they were just having fun jamming out an old favourite, and we were fortunate enough to get to watch them doing it.
It seems like such a long time since The Hives were last around that it was kind of surprising that they still held down a prime spot in the early evening on the main stage, but as soon as they arrived in front of the audience we were all reminded why. The band is led by one of the most charismatic front men in the business in the form of Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, who had the audience eating out of his hand to the point where he got them to cheer his drinking some water. The band sounded as tight and loud as ever, and songs such as “Main Offender,” “Walk Idiot Walk” and “Hate To Say I Told You So” sounded as brilliant as ever, reminding us why they came to be such a popular band in the first place. By the final track, “Tick Tick Boom,” Almqvist felt confident enough to get the whole audience to sit down and lay back, which they just about managed in the small space, and then everyone jumped up in unison, creating the perfect explosion for the final chorus. It’s good to have The Hives back.
The Weeknd’s performance on Sunday night was certainly one of the most anticipated of the festival, so it was a shame that the sound levels did not quite match up to what we’d expect. Nevertheless the sexy bass kept things pumping, and Tesfaye and his recently-put-together band seemed like they had been playing together for years. They were confident enough to tease “Dirty Diana” before seguing straight into “The Birds Part 1,” and by the end when they brought out the true favourites from House of Balloons they had the audience rapt attention as they sung along.
At The Drive-In
Florence + The Machine
Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
The start of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s set was tailored to show how legendary the duo are, from the golden images of themselves that appeared on the screen, to the early playing of old classics like “The Next Episode,” “Gin N Juice” and “Ain’t Nothin’ But A G Thang,” to which they had every word screamed right back at them by thousands of people. The Nate Dogg tribute “Ain’t No Fun” was a nice touch, but things started to get pretty weird around the time they covered House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” Not that their performance was bad at all, and it had the desired effect of getting people moving, but it still seemed like an odd choice considering all the hits these two heavyweights have that they didn’t play.
Things started getting crazy when the guests started appearing; Wiz Khalifa ambled on to play his weed anthem “Young, Wild and Free,” Kendrick Lamar got a nice introduction before playing “The Recipe” with Dr. Dre, 50 Cent appeared out of nowhere for some of his hits, and then Eminem came up out of the floor for a couple of newer songs, but most notably “Forgot About Dre,” which might go down as the best song of the night, thanks in no small part to Em’s charisma. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the Tupac hologram, which did exactly the same dance moves as last week (as expected) and was caught on thousands and thousands of cameras by the expecting audience.
The performance was capped off with a brutal fierce delivery of “Still D.R.E.”; the two veterans showing that even at the end of a long set, twenty plus years into their career, they still spit as calmly and precisely as ever. Their whole set basically seemed like one final big blow out party – what better way to end the weekend?