Autre Ne Veut
Way Out West 2013, Way Out West 2013: Day One, Autre Ne Veut, Junip, Jupiter & Okwess International, Omar Souleyman, Tame Impala
Way Out West Festival 2013 Day One: Junip, Tame Impala and More, August 8th, 2013
The sixth annual edition of Gothenberg Sweden’s Way Out West festival looked like it would be threatened by rain. But by the time the gates opened at the Slottsskogen Park, it was a postcard-ready first day. While headliners Neil Young and Crazy Horse were no-shows due to an accident that forced them to cancel the remaining dates on their tour, the spirit was hardly dampened thanks to impressive sets from Jupiter and Okwess International, Junip, Tame Impala, Omar Souleyman, and Autre Ne Veut.
Memo to indie bands everywhere: it is totally okay to care about your audience and show that you’re having a bit of fun onstage. Case study: Jupiter and Okwess International. Despite having the unenviable task of playing the first set of the day (later they would fill in for Neil Young with equal aplomb), the Congo-based six-piece dripped with joie de vive. Their set featured an abundance of polyrhythmic beats, smiles, and a strange instrument played by creating vibrations on a string attached to a tin can. It’s no wonder they’ve logged time with Damon Albarn.
Over the years, Junip bandleader Jose Gonzales has come to represent the Swedish folk rock scene. (So much in fact, he earned a European Border Breakers Award for his work in 2007.) Now focused on his band Junip, the singer/songwriter—alongside Tobias Winterkorn and Elias Araya—performs soft rock with a melodic flair. There’s a sweet unease to their music, particularly found in the band’s self-titled second album, laced with ruminations on life and death
On the opposite end of the spectrum was Tame Impala. Despite regularly putting on the kind of performances that festivals should be built around, the Australian band failed to ignite the audience in the later afternoon. Frontman Kevin Parker dedicated Lonerism cut “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” to the band’s flying camera—which managed to land in his hands by song’s end.
A few days before his performance, Syrian musician Omar Souleyman was denied entrance into Sweden due to fears he would attempt to seek asylum in the country. The issue was corrected with barely enough time for the singer/songwriter to take the stage. Souleyman seemed relieved, albeit a bit exhausted—still managing to ignite fans with his traditional chants and hands held aloft dance moves.
As part of the Stay Out West portion of the festival, bands took over clubs all over the city. As luck would have it, Autre Ne Veut performed at the venue right next to our hotel. (Multi-venue festivals aren’t for the weak of heart.) Arthur Ashin turned into another emotive set of indie R&B, repeatedly dropping to his knees and locking eyes with the front row. It was baby-making music to say the least, but since no one has any energy for those sorts of antics by nights end I settled for a few sweet dreams.
Check out a full gallery of day one photos here.
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