Open’er Festival 2014: Day 1, Open’er Festival 2014: Day 2, Open’er Festival 2014: Day 3, Open’er Festival 2014: Day 4, Open’er Festival 2014, Kari, Kamp!, Coldair, MØ, Jack White, Foster the People, Darkside, Phoenix
Open’er Festival 2014: Awards Edition, July 5th, 2014
Between the language barrier and the time difference, going to a music festival in another country can be tricky. But it’s not impossible. Most of life’s problems can be solved by a Diet Coke, smiling, and saying “pardon” repeatedly. Last week was Poland’s Open’er Festival. Now in its twelfth year, the event attracts an impressive array of talent, both from within the country and abroad. With bands like Phoenix, Jack White, Lykke Li, Eric Shoves Them In His Pockets, Misia Ff, and We Draw A on the bill, it was well worth the nearly 24 hours travel time.
Rather than drag you through the dirt and spilt beer (sorry ‘bout that) of the festival in long form, here are a few of my favorite moments of the event—presented in award form.
Electro Pop Shock Award: KAMP!
Despite having the dubious honor of having to perform at 1am (many of the Polish bands were put on the bill super late or super early), KAMP! managed to make the most of their slot. Backlighting! Guitars! Synths! The audience started dancing from the moment the electronic trio took the stage and didn’t stop until the end. Truly dance pop heroes in the making.
The Underrated Gem Award: Coldair
You’re not going to pin Coldair down with one easy genre description. Melodic folk? Moody organic electronic? See, no matter how you phrase it, it sounds kinda stupid. What’s not stupid is the fact frontman and sole constant member Tobiasz Biliński is feeling some serious feelings—and he’s going to take you along for the ride.
MVN (Most Valuable Newbie) Award: MØ
Many foreign artists made their Poland debut at Open’er including: HAIM, Lykke Li, and Daughter. But none brought quite the energy to their set that Danish pop-star-in-waiting MØ did. Wearing tennis shoes with her long skirt was a good idea—she needed them when scaling the barriers to sing directly into the faces of her audiences. (Security guards’ faces went white while fans blushed. A case of giving the people what they want—authority be damned.) By the time she closed out her set with “Don’t Wanna Dance” everyone was getting down.
Best Use of Back Catalogue Award: Jack White
It wasn’t enough that Jack White’s entire set was blue. Or that he took Polaroid selfies and flung into the audience. (If anyone caught one I’m dying to see it!) He also performed a heavy helping from his back catalogue, including White Stripes cuts “Hotel Yorba” and “I Can Tell That We Are Going to Be Friends.” Even The Raconteurs were represented with (still awesome) cut, “Steady, As She Goes.”
Best Stage Banter Award: Jack White
That’s right, Jack White gets two awards. (Rules don’t really apply to the Willy Wonka of blues.) “I spoke with my mom in America,” he told the crowd a few songs into his set. “She told me not to come home without a Polish wife. So I’m on the prowl.” I’m here to tell you, estrogen clouds are real. Every female in the Gdynia/Gdańsk/Sopot region got a bit giddy that night.
Corey Haim Achievement Award: Foster the People
Polish crowds wear their hearts on the sleeves, and aren’t afraid to show their affection with homemade sign, banners, and coordinated dance moves. But no other set was populated with starry-eyed teenage girls quite like Foster The People. One devoted fan stood in the front row, silently crying and clutching a hand-drawn portrait of frontman, Foster the People. It was downright heartwarming.
The Coolest of the Cool Award: Darkside
The Bat For Lashes Spirit Award: Kari
Haunting female vocals? Check. Song imagery that leans on nature? Check. Elaborate costume? Check. Paging Natasha Khan—we have found your long lost Polish sister.
The Stick to Your Ribs Award: Perogies
I love Poland. What other culture says, “Hey, how can we make these potatoes and cheese heavier?” and then proceeds to stuff the mixture in pasta and deep-fry it? Wash it down with a beer and you won’t have to eat again until Open’er 2015.
The Leaving it All On Stage Award: Phoenix
Phoenix had the honor of closing out the festival on Saturday Night. They made sure to out on the highest of notes, performing almost the entirety of Bankrupt! and Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. By the time frontman Thomas Mars clutched the microphone in his teeth and jumped into the crowd, fans were in near-hysteria. When they did finally leave the stage, and head into a waiting van, it felt like The Beatles had descended on Poland.
Check out day one photos featuring HAIM, Coldair, The Black Keys, and Foster the People here.
Check out day two photos featuring MØ, Darkside, and We Draw A here.
Check out day three photos featuring Foals, Jack White, Lykke Li, Ben Howard, and KAMP! here.
Check out day four photos featuring Warpaint, Daughter, Faith No Mo More, Kari, Artur Rojek, The Horrors, and Phoenix here.
- Wilco Announce June Tour Dates and Confirm Full Solid Sound Festival Lineup (News) — Wilco
- Watch Strand of Oaks Perform “Rest of It” and “Radio Kids” on “Conan” (News) — Conan O’Brien, Strand of Oaks
- Watch: Little Cub Share Politically Fueled “Hypnotise” Video (News) — Little Cub
- Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys Announces New Solo Album, Shares “Shine on Me” Video (News) — Dan Auerbach, The Arcs, The Black Keys
- Watch: Mac DeMarco - “This Old Dog” Video (News) — Mac DeMarco