Open’er Thursday: ‘Dry the River’, Penderecki/Greenwood, Jamie Woon, Maccabees

Dry the River in the Tent Stage had a huge following of Polish fans which seemed to genuinely take them by surprise. Some left the signing tent in tears. The sound was energetic and full of emotion.

The mood changed on the main stage, Penderecki conducted his own work (Hiroshima victims – threnody) and that composed in collaboration with John Greenwood, Radiohead’s guitarist called Polymorphia. It was a complete contrast to the standard act on the main stage but beautiful and moving.

Jamie Woon gave a powerful performance crossing soulful melodies with tight rhythms and then the Maccabees with a set that had the whole tent moving. They introduced one song about belief by explaining that they had difficulties leaving Germany and getting to Poland.

The whole evening was carpeted in fog but there was no rain and the mood of the crowd was up-beat. Many styles of footwear could be spotted from farmer-style wellies to chic diverse boots. 

There were five guys dressed as a group of three chefs, a chicken and a red beetle who had traveled by car from England for the gig.

Major Lazar started at full pelt and didn’t let up at all. When the crowd was encouraged to ‘take off your shirt and wave it in the air’ I realised I had to hurry over to the tent stage in order not to miss the Maccabees. It was a good move – they had a tight sound and great vocals.

The last act I listened to was Jessie Ware who said she was over-awed with the reception and would definitely return to Poland. She also said that she loved her band and I could understand why. The drums and bass were completely in synch and the bass kept it simply but the careful choice of notes made it very powerful and provided a terrific backline for Jessie’s jazzy vocals.

Lastly, I was not able to see Paula and Karol on the World Stage but Dominika and her friends said it was really good but I did catch a glimpse of an interesting group called ‘Pipes and pints’ on the Talents Stage playing a song which attacked the supporters of white power. They played an aggressive punkish set with the lead singer doubling on bag-pipes, presumable giving rise to the name.

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