Pulled Apart by Horses, Happy Pills, Bear in Heaven, No Age, The Flaming Lips, The Raveonettes, Casiokids, Off Festival 2010, Off Festival 2010: Day Three

Off Festival 2010 Day Three Recap - The Flaming Lips, The Ravonettes,  and others, August 8th, 2010

Aug 11, 2010 Photography by Helen Boast Web Exclusive
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The third day of a festival is always a bit tough. Sore feet, musical overload, sunburn—it’s a lot to take in. But then, there’s day three of the Off Festival—which proved to be an exception. And not just because I ended up in an orange jumpsuit by the end of the night.

The day kicked off with Pulled Apart by Horses who proved one of the more fascinating rules of a festival: even when opposed to a particular genre (in this case: hard rock)  to the point it evokes thoughts of root canals and ritualistic torture, it can be a whole heck of a lot of fun live. Pulled Apart by Horses didn’t just dance—they pranced. Staging diving became everything diving, security watching in horror as band member James Brown jumped off a wobbling stack of amps. The antics I could have watched forever. The music? Again, not so much.

Happy Pills were significantly lower energy, but much easier on the ears. A melancholy Polish pop band with English lyrics, their stage presence was not unlike a mellower version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, music playing not-unlike Smashing Pumpkins fronted by a female jazz singer.  

Much-hyped Bear in Heaven proved that they just might be worth the fuss. Shoegaze turned up to eleven, the set was filled with pounding bass and an abundance of shakers, band enjoying their time on stage as much as the audience. “If we had a time machine,” they announced with glee, “We’d go back and play this show all over again tonight.”

Also smiling was Casiokids, who celebrated their first Polish performance by unveiling a new song to a happily dancing crowd. The Norwegians kept the good times rolling, rocking both pineapple-shaped percussion and fancy dance steps.

Perhaps the only weak note of the day was No Age. Despite endless hype and one of the evening’s larger crowds at the side stage, I found very little to enjoy in the too loud, too fast, too much set, and left after a few songs in search of more palatable fare.

Also loud, but with style to spare, was The Ravonettes. Continuing the trend of bands making their first Polish appearance, the Danish duo stomped through their set, effortlessly trading between guitars and drums. Their dark retro sounds had an entire sea of fans around the main stage bobbing in appreciation.

And then…there was The Flaming Lips, where this story gets both personal and surreal. Equal parts performance art and music show, the Lips use anything they can get their hands on to wow the audience—including lights, smoke, and handpicked dancers. Which is how, mere minutes before they took the stage, I found myself crammed in a tiny dressing room with 30 other people donning bright orange jumpsuits. Our character—DJ Lance rock from Yo Gabba Gabba—was a bit lost on the European audience, but the absurdity wasn’t. Nervously, we stood in the wings while, one by one members of the Flaming Lips entered though a psychedelic door, leadman Wayne Coyne emerging in an oversized bubble and walking across the top of the enthralled audience.

Now, I don’t want to over-sell how awesome the experience was—but few things in life can top that moment when you’re released on stage amidst streams of confetti, smoke and flashing lights. It’s enough to make a normally sedate journalist (who—it should be noted—spends a good deal of time threatening to make an ass of herself) actually dance. Sometime after the opening number, and just before the experience became a psychedelic blur of flashing lights and flailing limbs, Coyne mentioned those weird moments in life where you’re not quite sure you’re awake of if it’s a particularly vivid dream. It was a statement that I—thousands of miles away from home in an orange jumpsuit, confetti in my hair—strongly identified with. To steal a quote from set closing song “Do You Realize??,” it’s hard to make the good times last. But this weekend was full of good times I won’t soon forget.  (www.2010.off-festival.pl)

 




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