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Saturday, July 10, 2004

Rock Werchter 2004

Finally, here is my report on the Rock Werchter festival 2004.
We arrived at Werchter on Thursday (the 1st of July) at about 15.30. We decided to camp at camping site C3, but we soon found out that at that time in the afternoon the camping sites were already full. So, after strolling across this huge camp site for some time with way too much luggage we decided to place our tent under the trees in the forest in stead of on the grass. In the end, that probably wasn’t such a bad idea because our tent didn’t suffer as much from the rain and wind as it would have out in the open field. The bad part was that just about every male used these parts of forest as a replacement for the toilets. So every morning we had to put our tent-pegs in the ground again, because in the dark people were constantly tripping over them. I couldn’t really blame them though, because those toilets were incredibly grubby. Everyone stayed away from them as much as possible.

This particular camp site was a good choice: enough toilets, access to showers and running water, the possibility to have breakfast in the morning, a chips stand and there were lots and lots of Dutch people on it. We probably even had a majority over the Belgians, and I got the impression they didn’t really like that. Of course we didn’t sleep much during the night, because there were all kinds of after-parties going on. If we were lucky we could catch some hours of sleep early in the morning. Personally, I got woken up quit a lot of times by the Rock Werchter 2004 yell: HOEREEEENN!!!! And then it was answered back over and over again until it went quit again. Until the next person decided to shout this extremely intelligent yell again. I have no idea how or why this yell came into existence. I just didn’t get it, and still don’t as a matter of fact. I just thought the yell “Daar heb je AARIIEEEE!”, answered back with “Met z’n KANAAARRIEEE!” was way funnier…

We had quit a bit of rain and wind during Rock Werchter this year, so I was really glad we had decent raincoats with us. Although we found out that those also get wet in the end, if it rains too hard for too long. Fortunately the sun came back every time after it had rained, so everything could dry again. Only the last night, from Sunday to Monday, it rained so hard for so long our tent started to leak. Everything in the sleeping compartment was wet and damp. We were just glad it happened on our last night and we could pack up early and go home after that.

On to the music. I’ll only go into the bands and acts we saw ánd heard. But first, what I thought was the best part of the festival: the audience. Every single act was received with a huge enthusiasm and people really went with the music and the songs, whether it was Pink, The Cure, Novastar, Muse or the Sugababes performing. It didn’t matter, because they were all welcomed by the audience with great enthusiasm.

Day 1, Thursday July 1
Michael Franti & Spearhead: This was the opening act and with their uplifting music they immediately set the right atmosphere. Good performance, but Michael Franti could ease up on the “How y’all feeling!?!?!?!” That gets really annoying after the fifth time.
Sean Paul: So boring and monotonous we decided to move our ass to the other stage.
The Rapture: I never heard of them before, but they were great! Funky music that came across very well live.
Pink: Judging by her sarcastic remarks she knew very well this wasn’t exactly her type of audience. But she nailed it and everyone sang along with her songs, whether they would normally or not.
The Cure: Amazing. In my opinion one of the best, or maybe The best performance of the entire festival. I was absolutely awestruck and totally overwhelmed. They played quit a few songs from Disintegration, but also a lot of songs I didn’t know. An incredible performance.
Basement Jaxx: One of my favourite dance acts of the last couple of years and they do know how to have a party on stage. And once you mix ‘Seven Nations Army’ into your music, you know for sure the audience is awake. Good performance, though a bit too loud for my taste. We were really close to the speakers at first, but the loud bass was making me feel sick to my stomach so we moved away.

Day 2, Friday July 2
Lost Prophets: Very energetic performance, with the very first pit of the day (many would follow). The singer could hold back on the fucks. I got the impression he was saying fuck all the time because he thought that would make him tough. Soon into this performance it started to rain and storm.
Modest Mouse: Easy listening if you’re lying in the grass hoping everything will dry up very soon.
Monster Magnet: Not exactly my kind of music, but they were very convincing and they were a lot tougher then the singer of the Lost Prophets will ever be.
Dropkick Murphys: One of my brother’s favourite bands, so we decided to get close to the stage. And of course they started pitting just two rows before us. *sigh* Good party performance, but I still feel Flogging Molly is more my thing. For one, because the latter is a bit more civilized.
Korn: In my opinion also one of the best performances of the festival. Jonathan Davis and his band really gave everything and received a lot in return. They mostly played well-known songs, but they also did one Metallica song and ‘Another Brick In The Wall, which was absolutely great. Too bad the music dropped out several times at the end of the show.
Metallica: Very professional show. Lots of fire, fireworks and a lovely light show. The performance itself was good as well. Although I don’t understand why they had to start over half an hour too late, that was just irritating. It’s always powerful to see and hear 50.000 people singing the same song (Nothing Else Matters). The sucking up to the fans by James did make me feel like I wanted to puke.

Day 3, Saturday July 3
Within Temptation: Way too sweet for my taste. The band was so happy I had to laugh at them. The setting was beautiful, the performance was okay, but not great.
Franz Ferdinand: They all had big smiles on their faces during the entire performance. Very nice to listen to in the grass/mud/dirt.
Joss Stone: Beautiful voice. Beautiful girl. Beautiful performance. She’s really giggly in between her songs, but that’s understandable for someone who’s only just turned 17 and is just starting in the music industry.
Moloko: Roisin showed up in this orange/red outfit, with a mask on. Just watching her the entire performance is an experience in itself. What an incredibly weird, but cool woman! Too bad just about all the instruments dropped out when they wanted to start their big exit song, Bring It Back. They just wanted to let the beat kick in when everything dropped out, so Roisin had to sing the song without any music. Really too bad, because they had been working towards this climax song, and then it just stopped…
Muse: I was really grateful their music wasn’t as loud as it had been on some of their other performances. Good performance, with half the audience singing along.
Novastar: Simply too beautiful to put into words.
Lenny Kravitz: All the big hits.

Day 4, Sunday July 4
Danko Jones: Rocking at 11.30 in the morning.
Starsailor: They sound a lot better live then they do on record.
Lamb: Lovely performance, especially Gabriel was beautiful. It was just a pity that at times the music was a bit loud compared with Louise’s voice, so you couldn’t really hear her.
PJ Harvey: She blew everyone and everything away. She totally rocked! Very strong performance by someone that just does her thing and doesn’t care about anyone else.
Jasper Steverlinck: My brother insisted on seeing him, but I personally thought he was rather boring. So did my brother after a few songs.
Placebo: Again, in my opinion, one of the best performances of the festival. You could tell Brian Molko was in a good mood. The audience was very enthusiastic, and so was the band. I was very happy they played some songs from their latest album, Sleeping With Ghosts, because that is by far their best album.
Air: Lounging in the grass/mud/dirt at 22.00 together with thousands of other people. Quit a few songs from Talkie Walkie and of course their biggest hits.

If you have any questions about the performances, the festival itself, or whatever: just let me know through a comment.

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