18 September, 2015

Festival review… Lollapalooza Berlin 2015

When in November 2014 we heard the news that Lollapalooza would be heading to Europe for the first time ever a buzz went through It's All Indie HQ. We were extremely excited and pleased to be able to welcome the American spectacle in 2015. 
10 months on, I travelled to Berlin to see if Lollapalooza would live up to our expectations. 
Located at Berlin's now disused Tempelhof airport, the festival sports a vibrant, urban feel with the old terminal and runway giving it a unique vibe. 
As expected of Lollapalooza the line-up was very impressive featuring international bands of the highest quality.

Saturday

My Lollapalooza weekend kicked off with a loud, energetic set by US band Joywave who clearly had a lot of fun interacting with their fans. "We're the biggest band to come out of the USA in the 21st century - don't double check that on Google", they announced before telling the crowd that they hadn't been able to get into Berghain (Berlin's most famous nightclub) the night before. Considering their very unfavourable stage time (13:10) they managed to attract a good crowd thus engendering a great start to the festival. 
Joywave kick off our Lolla experience
I continued with Glass Animals and their groovy unorthodox sound. Performing on the Alternative Stage to a big crowd the band's calm sound made sure everyone survived the scorching lunchtime sun in style.

Newly founded supergroup FFS (Franz Ferdinand & Sparks) attracted a massive crowd which seemed to know the lyrics to every song. The Franz Ferdinand tracks performed definitely provoked the biggest reaction with people everywhere dancing to the sounds of one of the best indie bands ever to grace the stage. FFS song "Collaborations Don't Work" showed everyone watching the band(s) perform that if there is such a thing as a near-perfect match in music, then Sparks and Franz Ferdinand may have found just that.
Collaborations DO work!
I remember reading a magazine on a flight home with Pete Doherty on the cover when, mid flight, the girl sitting next to me asked whether he had died. Amy Winehouse had just passed away and the question seemed chilling, yet justified. It was then that I figured I would probably never get to see the incredible Libertines live. Years later it's happened. After cancelling their London and Manchester shows the days before, it was unclear whether the band would perform in the first place. When they did come on stage, however, it was obvious to the crowd that this was a moment they had to enjoy and cherish - their second chance may not come again too soon. Musically the band weren't at their best. An absolutely drunk Carl Barat slurred into his microphone and the band made various mistakes throughout - much to each other's amusement. Macklemore playing at the same time meant that mostly only "real" Libertines fans had come to see the London band creating a Libertine-esque intimate atmosphere on the old airfield. Each of the band's old songs received loud sing alongs with "Gunga Din" proving to be the highlight of their new album. The band returned to the stage with two encores before drummer Gary Powell used the empty, post-gig stage to stomp around and perform a weird dance to the amused crowd.
Pete Doherty looked shaken but happy when returning to his dressing room located inside the old airport terminal building.
The Libertines actually turned up to their Lolla show


Sunday

My second and last day at Lollapalooza saw Wolf Alice start the action on the Main Stage 1, where they performed their last festival show of their, very busy and spectacular summer. The London band used the opportunity to say thank you to their fans on numerous occasions in between their loud, aggressive songs.
Wolf Alice take to the Main Stage
Up next for me was Spanish band Crystal Fighters, who kicked off nearly an hour late after being stuck in traffic. This didn't stop the crowd from going wild with the band when they did finally start their set. Performing just two days after  the anniversary of the passing away of their former drummer Andrea Marongiu the band showcased a mix of tracks from both their debut "Star Of Love" and follow-up "Cave Rave". Giant (really really really giant) beach balls thrown into their crowd further lifted the mood of their partying fans. Their unique sound perfectly fitted the Berlin afternoon sun and made sure that everyone in attendance enjoyed the, possibly, last days of summer. 


I once wrote the following about MGMT: "Throughout the whole concert I couldn't help thinking that this is a band now actually exploring that long-elusive dark side of the moon."
Since the same goes for Tame Impala and I'd hate to repeat myself unnecessarily so I'm going to leave it at that. The Australian band are a spectacle which has to be seen live. Taking to the stage in what was their last festival appearance of the summer, the band performed a set of the high quality their fans expect. 
Tame Impala are perfect in the Berlin night
After attending festivals in the UK, Central Europe and Japan I can only recommend a visit to Lollapalooza 2016 - in my opinion it may just be the best festival you can attend next summer.


Benjamin Brown