Lowlands festival 2014 – 16th August 2014 (Walibi – Biddinghuizen)

After a weak first day rescued by the shows of Janelle Monae, La Yegros and Triggerfinger, it was time to start enjoying the heavy artillery in Lowlands 2014 in a day in which bands like Stromae, The National or Volbeat would be playing on their stages.

Stromae - Lowlands 2014

Photo taken by Esther Vicente. All rights reserved

Our first gig of the day was the Belgian Selah Sue in the Alpha stage, who enjoyed the pleasure of the audience with her easy assimilation style mix of soul, r&b and ragga. Without new material since 2011 and waiting for her next album which will be released next October, the young singer chose a tour along her discography that contented some fans which surprisingly filled the largest venue of the festival. The fact that she were accompanied by a predominantly rock band prompted some of her songs sounded too hard and out of style, as happened for example with her hit "This World", but that does not seem to matter to her followers, who praises especially with a beautiful rendition of "Fyah Fyah". Behind her, it was time to meet again with Jungle, which we saw (and hallucinate with them) about four months ago at the London Calling Festival, and this time already presented to a wider audience that knows them through the hype their self-titled debut album. With a stage show and a similar repertoire to that we saw in Paradiso, the band demonstrated why they are one of the bands of the moment thanks to an excellent sound, based mainly on the perfect overlap of the two leading voices of a duo chorus line and clarity in the electronic databases that transport you to the early 80s. When they play their hits "The Heat", "Time" or "Busy Earnin'", they already had the audience in their pocket..

Jungle - Lowlands 2014

Photo taken by Esther Vicente. All rights reserved

In a change of style, but not if the final way, our first visit to the Grolsh stage would had as protagonists Australians The Cat Empire and their fusion of jazz with ska. With dance rhythms as the main protagonists and led by their two vocal leaders Felix Riebl and Harry James Angus (quite a spectacle on trumpet), their show became a roller coaster that had its best moments with the most powered songs of their latest album "Prophets in the sky" and "Still Young", but surprisingly the media rhythms of their hits "Two shoes" and "Wine Song" clip the wings of the show.. The first great moment of the night regards big names come on the main stage, where the Danish Volbeat would have to prove not only its presence as one of the great bands of the day, but also the aura of the new "Metallica" they have in the last year from the filing of their fifth studio album Shady Ladies & Gentlemen Outlaw. Beyond the paraphernalia of fire, pyrotechnics and lights that accompanies them, the sound of the band is powerful and trickster, remembering at times the best time of Motorhead than James Hetfield band, highlighting the presence of leader Michael Poulsen and the bonus that has given guitar for adding a beast on live as Rob Caggiano (ex-Anthrax). As if that were not enough, their connection with the audience was high thanks to a versatility that makes them move from metal to 60's rockabily with astonishing ease, as demonstrated by the mythical moment when they performed in a row "Reign of Fire" and "Sad Man`s Tongue" from master Johnny Cash.

The Cat Empire  - Lowlands 2014

Photo taken by Esther Vicente. All rights reserved

The great moment of the day, at least for one who writes these lines, was closer to arrive. I must admit my love for The National goes back to overhear "Mr.November" from Alligator LP in a local radio about 9 years ago, and all my attempts to see them live since then were shattered by strange reasons .. So it is possible that what I write is then influenced by the fan phenomenon that invades me, but honestly, I think the of American band was one of the shows of the festival. With a tremendous start focused mainly on their two latest LPs Trouble Will Find Me and High Violet, band led by Matt Berninger shown as conveying the feeling and anxiety of their letters to a massive live, aided by a sound in which highlights the distortions of the guitars of the Dessner brothers and a sober audiovisual that fits perfectly with the proposal of the Americans. The show had a little bump past half of it when rang some of the less known to the general public as "Abel" or "Slow Slow", but with the incredible final set of songs with "Graceless", "Fake Empire" , "Mr. November" and "Terrible Love" reached the apotheosis to Grolsh tent. In a slot in our memory will remain multiple Matt gestures and rages attacks  with mic stand or to the instruments of his colleagues, but above all, remain in memory the last song sung by the Cincinnati singer  in the middle of the audience to the joy and delight of those present.

The National - Lowlands 2014

Photo taken by Esther Vicente. All rights reserved

In difficult reasonable overlap, the final of the concert of The National matched for about 15 minutes with the beginning of the great name of the lineup of the day, the Belgian Stromae, which in these parts is a real celebrity. ¡And of course he triumphed! Before an audience that filled not only the tent, but also the surroundings in a way that made ​​it impossible to approach within 50 meters of it, the small artist conquered the public based on a perfect cocktail in which above all emphasizes his personal charisma, but in which other elements like music and lyrics of his songs, a exceptional band accompanying or very successful staging both audiovisual and costumes, were also at a high level. Its blend of African rhythms with elements of French music of the last century (impossible not to see the comparisons at certain points with Master Jaques Brel) and even dance rhythms of 90 ( Technotronic, Snap!) reaches a diverse audience who is able to dance with the hits "Papaoutai" or "Ta Fête" or even belt out wonderful and emotional "Formidable". With the good taste of a second day filled with outstanding performances that were at the height of a prestigious festival as Lowlands, we left the venue with hope and courage recovered for a third day in which expected bands as Queens Of The Stone Age, Portishead and Royal Blood ought to play.