16 September, 2015

[FESTIVAL REVIEW] Dcode Festival, Madrid, Spain, 12th September 2015

This year was Dcode Festival's fifth anniversary and with a lineup comprising of a variety of well-established British and Spanish artists, this was obviously going to be an incredible day out. The festival took place in the Ciudad Universitaria, located near the Madrid city centre which made it easily accessible for all those attending.  This year, the festival was slightly different with doors opening at the earlier time of 11.30am (instead of the usual 4pm), meaning that there were activities such as football matches and live music at the smaller Tentaciones stage from 12pm.

Popular Spanish band 'Trajano!' kicked off the festival with a short set that proved popular with numerous 'MadrileƱos', as they are one of Spain's newer up-and-coming bands. The Tentaciones stage line-up followed with an inevitably strong set from Brit favourites, 'Wolf Alice', who performed a flawless 50-minute long set, shortly later announcing their 2016 EU tour where they would be returning to Madrid in February. Indie Spanish band 'The Parrots', were once again their enthusiastic selves and got the crowd going in the early afternoon. The energy was evident throughout the atmosphere at the Tentaciones stage after their set as everyone left with a smile on their faces. Fresh faced London-based singer-songwriter Flo Morrissey was a crowd favourite at the small stage, performing delicate tunes full of insight and maturity, she captured the attention of every individual in an instant.

As the day progressed, more people gathered at the two main stages (Escenario Dcode and Escenario Heineken) to see the main acts of the day perform from 4pm. The great thing about these two stages is that they are located literally next to each other, so no acts overlap and as soon as one ends you have five minutes to run to the other stage to see the next act start and so forth. Therefore, you never miss any of the music. Spanish indie girl group 'Hinds' announced that they were stranded in Mallorca airport just before their set was due at 5pm, however, this was all quickly resolved and 'Gold Lake' played an intriguing set in their slot. Shortly after this, 'Hinds' appeared on the Dcode stage at a later time of 7.20pm to perform a full show which was a great relief for a lot of the audience attending Dcode as they were undoubtedly one of the most popular and hyped acts of the festival. 'Hinds' are definitely one of those bands that are ones to watch, they had such an energetic and explicitly happy stage presence that it was impossible not to dance along with them to their catchy tracks. They even provoked a short stage invasion which added to the excitement of their slot even more.

Immediately when Hinds ended, the audience all rushed to the Escenario Heineken to catch festival favourites 'The Vaccines,' and boy, what a performance they did. The London band managed to pack in sixteen popular tracks from all three albums in their hour-long set, ranging from new single '20/20' to the slower acoustic 'Melody Calling' and ending on a high with 'Norgaard'. The whole audience sang every lyric back to lead singer Justin Young which proved that 'The Vaccines' are still dominating the modern music industry all over the world and will continue to do so.

Sadly, due to medical reasons, Sam Smith had to pull out of his slot, however, he was rightfully replaced by Mallorcan band 'L.A' who have an American vibe and are extremely popular with the Spanish crowd so there weren't too many unhappy faces around. They filled the festival with an exuberayting atmosphere which could be seen and felt throughout. 

Liverpudlian band 'Circa Waves' headlined the smaller Tentaciones stage with such a happy and energetic set those who had chosen to see them instead of Suede felt like they had most definitely made the right decision. Performing album hits such as 'T Shirt Weather' and 'Fossils', the band did not disappoint and made their mark on Spanish ground.

At the late time of 2.30am, 'Foals', took to the Escenario Dcode with an hour long set which was extremely similar to their Reading set with hits old and new, they got the crowd going. 'My number' proved to be a favourite as did the heavier songs such as 'What Went Down'. Again, Foals proved that they are going to be the festival headliners of the future with a faultless set full of variation and intricacy.

Crystal Fighters successfully closed the Spanish Festival with a vibrant set full of colourful costumes, flags and jungle themed backdrops. Already happy to be back on Spanish turf, the band responded to an eager receptive audience and were enthusiastic as always.

Dcode Festival was most definitely the best way to end a summer full of festivals, with a line-up to die for and weather that will not disappoint, the Spanish festival was a success. The atmosphere was also a main contributing factor to the enthusiasm of the festival itself.