Open’er Music Festival Saturday: Mumford and Sons, Bat for Lashes, The XX, SBTRKT

On the last day of the Open’er, in spite of a massive downpour around about 18:00 by the time we arrived at Babi Dół it had all but stopped making it the first Open’er that I have been to (that I can remember) when every single day there was no rain whilst I was watching. Needless to say that wellington boots were an absolute must although some merry festival-goers were just going bare-foot with a ‘what the hell’ attitude. Whilst we made our way the main stage still in our bicycle capes we caught a band called Instrumeti from Latvia who were blasting away in a high vocal choral style which was a bit like Yes on speed. Well delivered songs unusually taking advantage of three brass instruments played by people dressed in black and wearing huge black hats.

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Mumford and Sons came on after the storm and played a folk-rock set with gay melodies and polished harmonies. They were very together and brought out the glad tiding in the crowd, promising to return to Poland soon. The crowd were already delirious with joy that there was no more rain and lapped it up. They played their bluegrass and folk instrumentation, using banjo, upright bass, mandolin and piano with a rhythmic style which crossed bluegrass with rock and traditional British folk in a passionate way, a great example of which is White Blank Page.

Whilst Dominika and her friends watched The Mars Volta I caught a section of the film Ambassador by Mads Brugger but didn’t see the end as the screen went black prematurely. It was an interesting film – in the sense of – why? and seems to cause as much controversy off-screen. At the end of the link above one of the people unwittingly filmed challenges Brugger’s approach and whilst watching it was difficult to know where the boundary of reality and fiction lay.

Fortunately, the black screen coincided neatly with the start of Bat for Lashes in the Tent Stage although there was a 30 minute delay whilst the electrics were checked for safety reasons – an Alter Art spokeswoman said that the safety of the band and fans was paramount and they did not want to electrocute the stage and the audience in one fell swoop.

Natasha Khan appearing as Bat for Lashes

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wasted no time in establishing a presence and quickly showed us the incredible range of her voice. I remember seeing her on Jools Holland on her own and having a band behind her gave her the freedom to express herself in movement and gestures. Her dress was beautifully ornate although probably proved a little on the warm side as the heat from the lights and the audience intensified. By the time she played one of her most popular songs (Daniel) it was sweltering. It was a great concert and great atmosphere with fine rhythms and a fantastic voice.

 I was encouraged to watch The XX by my compatriots and we delved into the quagmire that was the 10th row on the right-hand side of the stage. it wasn’t the squelch of mud that was annoying me, I couldn’t get a good view of the stage being so close so i went back a bit and just couldn’t get into the set at all so I slowly meandered back towards the tent stage where SBTRKT were due to appear. Wow! As they started the show the biggest, fatest, thumpiest, synthiest bass notes I have ever heard slapped me through the heart and through the groin. What a start. The stage was not really lit from the front at all and I never got to find out whether that was due to Aaron Jerome’s wish for anonymity or because of some technical hitch as there was a lot of frantic running to and fro back-stage in the first half of the set. The beats were great and I really was spooked by the vocals of Sampha who had a real ‘live’ voice and quite raw and full of emotion and busting with energy. For a few flashback minutes I was convinced it was in fact my friend and accomplice from Tomboy (Island Records), Roger Murray. SBTRKT played a great set and I’m glad that it was them that was the last sound memory of the festival. See you next year!
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One Response to Open’er Music Festival Saturday: Mumford and Sons, Bat for Lashes, The XX, SBTRKT

  1. Ben Hoyle says:

    Ah should have gone with Dominika to Mars Volta – they do a good live show. SBTRKT’s album is pretty good – they were played a lot on 6 music. Sounds a good line up this year – almost all are on my music library.

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