Haldern Pop 2010 Recap

<div> <a href="features/haldern_pop_2010_recap/"><img src="https://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/haldernpop10.jpg" alt="Haldern Pop 2010 Recap" /></a> </div> <div> <p> There are thousands of festivals in Europe, particularly in the summer time, but none quite like the...
Haldern Pop 2010 Recap
Haldern Pop 2010 Recap

There are thousands of festivals in Europe, particularly in the summer time, but none quite like the Haldern Pop festival, in the Lower Rhine of Germany.  In it’s 27th year, you’d think the word would spread a little more – because this festival is something more than special.  Spectacularly set on country grounds in the Rees-Haldern area, not too far from the Dutch border, thousands flock to witness the spectacular shows put on some of the worlds greatest artists – notably Beirut, Mumford and Sons and closers The National this year, alongside up and coming rising stars from around the globe.  A festival that sells out almost instantly, it’s not just the punters who return year after year, but the bands, such is the magical atmosphere.  Set alongside a lake, amongst the greenest grass, despite the big names – past bands have included Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Kelis – this festival is renowned for its cozy atmosphere, with only a maximum capacity of around 5,000 – which aims to stay that way – much to the delight and merriment to any who have experienced the Haldern magic.

QRO Mag had the wonderful opportunity to experience this distinguished festival-and because of it’s size and it’s relative unknown status globally, Haldern still attracts those who tend to be truly passionate about music- something which is unfortunately a little questionable for other ‘music’ festivals on a global scale.  With an outstanding line-up, there was much to write home about, rather than shaggy-haired, Ray Ban-clad, checkered shirt, drunken fools, but the spectacular show of musicianship throughout the three-day festival set mainly set over two stages.

 

Day One 

Cymbals Eat Guitars
Cymbals Eat Guitars

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The opening day of the festival, all but one stage – the Speigeltent – was open, an intimate tent with a draped velvet lining to the roof and coloured glass windows, the venue almost encapsulating the very essence of the festivals sentiment.  With questionable weather, the tent was packed throughout the day as festivities kicked off with New Yorkers Cymbals Eat Guitars.  Performing a mix of songs from their 2009 debut album, Why There Are Mountains (QRO review), and unreleased tracks from their forthcoming release, Cymbals Eat Guitars warmed the crowd slowly into the festival spirit.  Despite a strong vocal, easily listenable elements and an engaging, very sweaty performance from the band – although technical problems due to the rental of equipment caused slight problems – it would seem the crowd would need some warming up.

It’s rather more likely that many in the crowd were unfortunately trying to escape the rain, but one should hope that the solid, layered sounds of Cymbals Eat Guitars was enough to keep the wet ones entertained.
Cymbals Eat Guitars

 

Beach House
Beach House

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pyramid powerIt’s also rather likely that many were waiting for one of the most anticipated bands of the weekend – French-born Victoria Legrand and U.S.-born Baltimorean Alex Scally, the collective duo known as Beach House.  After forming in 2004, they have been considerable fast rise to the top, with recognition from some of the most renowned critics, including that of the notorious Pitchfork, as well as reaching commercial success.  It’s easy to see why Beach House have reached the heights they have, and despite their label of ‘dream pop’, Beach House seemingly have much darker, melodic elements to their music.  With a good showcase of existing material, Legrand performed with an impeccable vocal despite what only can be described as ‘hair head-banging’ – but as both Legrand and the rest of the performing band became increasingly disheveled, so did the audience, who were clearly enjoying the intensity of the showcase, aided by rather strange large triangular stage props and light show.

One did not have to know the tracks to enjoy the show – as it was apparent the crowd varied from avid fans to those who lacked familiarity, which perhaps is a true indicator of talent, and also lucky for Beach House who have been snapped up by other keen artists who have already reached commercial success as touring support, such as The National (see Day Three) and Vampire Weekend (QRO live review).  Lucky are those who caught Beach House in this meager venue – because big things are fast coming.
Beach House

 

Stornoway (acoustic)
Stornoway (acoustic)

violin (acoustic)banjo (acoustic)Click image for full gallery

As the night progressed and the ambience was indeed building, the beer flowing and the atmosphere growing – an expected surprise should appear!  From the Speigeltent should emerge Stornoway, equipped with acoustic guitars and a single drum.  Playing four songs off their debut album, Beachcomber’s Windowsill, with absolutely no amplification, the majority-unsuspecting crowd seemed a little unimpressed, whereas a handful seemed rather over joyous.  It was enjoyable by any means – and it presented Stornoway in their element: organically, which would, judging by their lyrics, seem like something they’re very much into.
Stornoway (acoustic)

 

I Blame Coco
I Blame Coco

Coco SumnerClick image for full gallery

Following Stornoway’s surprise set was I Blame Coco, fronted by Coco Sumner, who one may also know as the daughter of Sting and actress/producer Trudie Styler.  At the tender age of Coco Sumnertwenty, English descendant Coco is no Laura Marling (QRO live review), but in fact perhaps epitomizes the very polar opposite.  Aggressive and brash, I Blame Coco were a little more than intimidating, and once the novelty of the ‘show’ had worn off, one was left listening to weary, tarted-up indie-pop tunes – and who knows how she’ll ever pull off the six album record deal Sumner has scored with Island/Universal (Thanks to daddy dearest?…).  Although there is undoubtedly a commercial appeal present, and a clear pruned aesthetic, with tinges of electro and indeed all things pop in the literal sense, there is the very real possibility of success in the long run, but at Haldern, I Blame Coco is just one too many notches out of place.
I Blame Coco

 

Seabear
Seabear

SeabearSeabearClick image for full gallery

It would seem that Iceland’s Seabear would turn back on the bright lights and reestablish back probably what is more atypically the Haldern style, with majestic tunes.  Hailing from Reykjavík, Sindri Már Sigfússon primarily sings in English, and whilst Seabear as a project started out as Sigfússon, the addition of a keyboardist, violinist and a flurry of other instruments, alongside the usual suspects (most, if not all the band are multi-instrumentalists), seems to have proven a good choice, providing the crowd with triumphant songs easy on the ear.  With a great reception, the crowd swayed with uplifting tunes from their back catalogue.  Seabear may hail from Iceland, but hailing from Iceland doesn’t always mean that you’re either Björk or Sigur Rós (QRO live review).  Seabear have their own stunningly captivating sound, and certainly captured the hearts at Haldern.
Seabear

 

Stornoway
Stornoway

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Headlining the Speigeltent to close the night was, yet again, Stornoway, who entered this time to an emptying tent.  For those who stayed to watch the band, it was an enjoyable show – those who did stay showed great enthusiasm for this band hailing from Oxfordshire, England, who have made it to reasonable heights in the StornowayStornowaylast year, after signing to label 4AD.  Stornoway, with their pop elements and wholesome lyrics (who don’t actually appear to be written by anyone over the age of twelve, sadly), seemed in their element as they sung away their hearts to an appreciate crowd.  The band present themselves with a very real sense of awkwardness and honesty which is endearing, both through their songs and in their presentation, but such is the awfulness of their lyrical capabilities that it’s almost unforgivable and impossible to surpass – “We are the battery human / But we were born to be free range”.  It’s a shame, but Stornoway still provided Haldern with a good jab at an attempt of really rather listenable pop with solid results.
Stornoway

 

 

Day Two

Triggerfinger
Triggerfinger

TriggerfingerClick image for full gallery

As the weather began to heat up, so did the crowd and the bands, starting with Antwerp based band Triggerfinger.  The three-piece band, donned in suits and slicked backed hair opened the main stage.  Friday 13th – unlucky for some, but Haldern’s premium spot couldn’t of had a more banging opening, with this Belgian band rocking out to tunes from their three previous albums.  With elements from Black Sabbath to Deep purple, with an almost infuriating catchy sprinkling of beats, Triggerfinger played to a crowd gathered early who knew the fun would start early on.
Triggerfinger

 

Detroit Social Club
Detroit Social Club

David BurnClick image for full gallery

Detroit Social ClubContinuing the trend, and turning it up a notch, was England’s Detroit Social Club.  Hailing from Newcastle, the brash stage presence from frontman David Burn shone through, with their entertaining chat alongside songs that could’ve been written by Kasabian.  Having been championed by English publication the NME, Detroit Social Club seem set for big things in the commercial field, with big beats, electronic elements.  Their sound is massive, as it would seem the band’s egos too, but all was suitably met by the crowds’ enthusiastic response.  Although it all seemed far too familiar, and really nothing particularly unique, it provided for certainly some real entertainment.
Detroit Social Club

 

Fyfe Dangerfield
Fyfe Dangerfield

strings sectionClick image for full gallery

However, notably, taken down to a more low key presentation was Fyfe Fyfe DangerfieldDangerfield in the Spiegeltent.  Who you may ask?  Dangerfield is better known for his role in the Guillemots, and cover of Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman To Me”.  If anything, Dangerfield proved that it’s not all about stage antics and banter, but played a powerful set, with a tremendous strong vocal performance with songs from his debut album, Fly Yellow Moon, released in January of this year.  Although Dangerfield has not received particular recognition for his solo work in the media, there seems no real reason for this, as Dangerfield’s performance in the Spiegeltent proved to be a moving and powerful demonstration of a true shining talent.  Accompanied by strings, and a programmed keyboard, Dangerfield presented himself with an endearing, heartfelt set much to the delight of many.
Fyfe Dangerfield

 

Phillip Poisell
Phillip Poisell

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Meanwhile, the infamous ‘?’ was due to play – and who else could it of been but none other than fresh-faced Phillip Poisell, German singer-songwriter?  Having picked up the drums and moving on to the guitar at an early age, Poisell has reached German fame in recent years with catchy tunes with a solid, well structured layered sound.  Poisell played to a large crowd, who seemed to enjoy the refreshing pop sounds after an early start of heavy rock.
Phillip Poisell

 

Rox
Rox

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Continuing the pop star trend of the Main Stage was London born & bred singer-songwriter Rox.  Another baby face, the half Jamaican, half Iranian got her groove on playing a range of truly danceable hits to the crowd.  Backed by an animated band, including two backing singers, Rox wowed the crowd by showcasing a range of material from her debut album, Memoirs, released early this year, as well as a beautiful, soulful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.
Rox

Roxback-upIn her homeland of England, Rox has not reached the pinnacle of fame perhaps she deserves – with a well produced, strong sound with a truly commercial appeal – Rox’s releases have charted surprisingly better in Europe than in the U.K., despite being hotly tipped at the end of 2009.  Rox herself noted that it was refreshing to be performing finally after countless trips to Germany for the sole use of promotion – after all, with that bright young spark in her eyes and a real love for music which shone though, it would seem performing is what this fabulous young star was made to do.  With a range of influences on Rox’s sound, there was something for everyone, and something to get everyone grooving by the crowds response.
Rox

 

Delphic
Delphic

DelphicDelphicClick image for full gallery

As the evening started to kick in, so did the beats, with super hyped-up U.K. band Delphic playing.  Reaching the big time in the past year, the crowd was sufficiently warmed from the morning’s festivities as the band launched into a range of material from their debut album Acolyte, released in the early part of this year.  Raw guitars, plastic keyboards combined with electro beats almost sounds a little Eurotrash, but Delphic shone through and proved they really can live up to the hype with a sound large enough to fill the entirety of the Rees region, and with the bright lights and kicking harmonies, Delphic proved they’re set for big things.
Delphic

 

Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons

Mumford & hornsClick image for full gallery

However, some bands have nothing left to prove – shown by what was easily the highlight of the entirety of the weekend for many – Mumford & Sons.  With a massive turnout (one dreads Mumford & accordionto think if anyone was there at all for the show in the Spiegeltent…), this yet again British band from London Town proved that ‘folk’ isn’t all acoustic guitars and fluffy songwriting, but in fact, Mumford & Sons launched into an absolutely triumphant set, much to the adoration of thousands, who seemingly knew all the songs from front to back.  It was a beautiful sight too – all in attendance animated – and really showing that music can conquer all.  Despite only forming a number of years ago in 2007 – late 2007 – the band have risen to the top, with both critical acclaim and insanely soaring commercial popularity, and with such success, adoring fans, the beautiful girlfriends, there seems no stopping this band.
Mumford & Sons

 

Esben & The Witch
Ebsen & The Witch

Ebsen or the witch?The witch or Ebsen?Click image for full gallery

You may have stayed and watched Mumford & Sons, as meanwhile in the Spiegeltent, there was not much to be seen.  Shrouded in a thick cloud, Esben & The Witch played a dark, atmospheric set – you’d expect someone to yell out Siouxsie at any point now.  Named after the Danish fairytale, the band did create some stories of their own, but given the days triumphant line up, Esben & The Witch did prove to be a little bit of a downer, and somewhat un-engaging.
Ebsen & The Witch

 

Beirut
Beirut

Zach Condon

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There is simply more then that to be said about main headlining band Beirut, the blossoming project of Zach Condon.  With massively triumphant tunes laced heavily tuba!with a brass backing, Beirut played a celebratory set filled with vigor with a range of material from their back catalogue – their two albums Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Club Cup, as well as EP material.  Despite the jubilant presence of this band, who powerfully played each carefully crafted track after track with precision, the crowd were perhaps still recovering from Mumford & Sons – which proved to be a mighty shame as Beirut proved to have an unyielding capability to launch into substantial steadfast powerful tracks almost faultlessly.  Either way, Beirut proved to stun the crowd with truly beautiful tracks such as hit “Postcards from Italy”, as well as showcasing a range of other tracks.  It’s clear to say that after this show, the Beirutando may have got a little bigger, better and bolder.
Beirut

 

Serena Maneesh
Serena Maneesh

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more Serena than ManeeshTo close the night, Haldern is known for its choice of calming music to turn it down a notch.  A lullaby, something melodic, something smooth – but certainly not this time round.  Final closers were 4AD signees Serena Maneesh from Norway, who played to an emptied field, however this more Maneesh than Serenawasn’t just any rock to be taken lightly.  If music itself could ever been deemed ‘parental advisory’ purely on musical terms – this was it.  Bold, brash noise rock filled the air with an insane intensity, which seemed almost vulgar.  It would seem that in reality, only an older crowd stayed to witness the dark spectacle of what the band presented.

Serena Maneesh performed range of tracks from their albums, although each track virtually indistinguishable as the band launched into their soaring, constant set of noise.  The sound was thick and unshakeable, filling the air and for those who were there, proved to be a lot to take in – with the crowd emptying slowly as the night drew closer to an end.  Even so, one probably couldn’t of asked for a more intensely powerful ending to an amazing day, which isn’t always all that bad.
Serena Maneesh

 

 

Day Three

Young Rebel
Young Rebel

another couple of Young RebelsClick image for full gallery

a Young RebelThe last day of Haldern Pop proved to be something of a sweltering affair, not only weather-wise, but also musically – with an outstanding line up to close this intimate festival.  With a pop-heavy start, U.K. band Young Rebel Set opened up, providing a somewhat unspectacular set, but audio-friendly enough.  With a commercial appeal and boyish good looks, these young men set to show the internal crowd what they got, having recently signed in Germany.  Rising stars, quite possibly, Young Rebel Set have already sold out the majority of their debut German tour, mainly to young teenage girls, but hey, as a band of seven – at least there’s enough to go round!
yet another Young Rebel

 

Portugal. The Man
Portugal. The Man

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Portugal. The ManFollowed by Young Rebel set was an Alaskan band Portugal. The Man – possibly the most mismatched name, simply given on location and connotations.  However, aside from the strange choice of name, it would seem that this foursome have their sound down to a tee – and given their musical output of six albums and five EP’s in the past four years alone, maybe it’s true what they say: practice makes perfect.  With an eclectic mix of atypical rock sounds, with a little progression and experimental elements, this band present with a friendly, very listenable clean audio, which could be greatly capable of commercial success.  However, there does seem to be elements of the music – those little eccentric twinges – which the band could embrace to make them something a little more special than just something plain average.  There is no doubt that Portugal. The Man are good at what they do – the tracks are put together solidly, the band have a good aesthetic and presentation – but it would be nice if things could just be a bit more special, and if the band are able to find that ‘je ne sais quoi’ things could explode because the potential truly is great.
Portugal. The Man

 

Fanfarlo
Fanfarlo

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FanfarloIt would seem that the line-up for Saturday was put together in a rather interesting way, starting with those distinctly average (or at least in a realm of ‘good ‘ music, those who were slightly more lacking) and built up to greater and greater things.  That certainly was the case for Fanfarlo, the London-based band with Swedish roots.  Strangely enough, Fanfarlo still seem relatively unknown in the U.K., but in Europe have reached relatively great heights and acclaim, and it’s easy to see why.  Given that Haldern Pop adored Mumford & Sons (see Day Two), it’s pretty easy to assume they’d like Mumford & Sons Lite.  With a great reception Fanfarlo belted out tunes from their debut album Reservoir (QRO review), which was also produced by outstanding producer Peter Katis, a man capable of truly showcasing talent, as Fanfarlo’s Reservoir indeed does.  It is not just exclusive to the record though, with an array of instruments – mandolin, musical saw, trumpet, just to add to the fun, and that is certainly what the crowd did.
Fanfarlo

 

Frightened Rabbit
Frightened Rabbit

it ain't this sunny in Scotland!Following Fanfarlo, rather appropriately in terms of musical classification, were Frightened Rabbit.  Yet another band from the U.K. – Frightened Rabbit hail from Scotland and have been subject to great acclaim, and again, as with Fanfarlo, Frightened Rabbit certainly attracted some very excited faces who came to brave the burning sunlight.  With a fast growing popularity and back catalogue, the band played a range of material stemming from the early days where frontman Hutchinson played as a solo artist acoustically to that of the more layer and complex – such as this years release, The Winter of Mixed Drinks (QRO review).  All songs were met with a joyous reception, even though lyrically, Frightened Rabbit haven’t always been so content as they have with their most recent release.  Still, there was everything to celebrate (apart from the likely sunburn on Hutchinson’s face) with Frightened Rabbit playing up to their roots of the very definition of indie folk rock the very way it should be done.
Frightened Rabbit

 

Blood Red Shoes
Blood Red Shoes

Laura-Mary Carter

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Moving on from Frightened Rabbit, in an ever so slightly different direction, was a rocking twosome Blood Red Shoes.  Yet another band from the U.K., Blood Red Shoes cut Laura-Mary Carterthemselves off from the impression you would’ve taken by watching other English bands here.  Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter refer to themselves as ‘punk’, in ethos and attitude, and it shows through.  However, even with simply a drum set, guitar and two voices, Carter and Ansell manage to create a something of considerable depth, with lyrics of frustration and anger, but by the constant murmurs through the crowd, it would seem most are more preoccupied with how stunning Carter looks.  Everything about this band is raw – their look, their mindset and most of all their music.
okay, here's a picture of the other guy

 

Villagers

Meanwhile, another greatly anticipated band of the evening Villagers were playing in the Spiegeltent – completely raw, but of a different kind.  Although they have one EP, word has spread fast about this Irish band, who was also nominated for a Mercury Music Prize in the U.K. this year.  However, the word of this band has spread further, with even Scott Devendorf of The National (see below) stating that they’re a band he’d love to check out at Haldern.  Are they good as they seem?  Their sound is sparse and eerie, and far away from what you’d typically think of when you’d think about a typical acoustic based band.  Villagers have an overwhelmingly powerful capability to create emotional connections, with tender, atmospheric inclinations.  The crowd was receptive, taken aback by the honesty and emotion by this band.  It’s easy to see how you could get pulled in to the darkness.

 

Efterklang
Efterklang

EfterklangClick image for full gallery

EfterklangOn the other hand, if dark and dreary is not your thing, then you’d be in for quite the treat, with Danish band Efterklang’s frontman Casper Clausen looking like he’d take one too many happy pills.  With a third major release on 4AD this year, Efterklang brought their blend of alternative electronic indie pop, with a combination of orchestral backing creating a robust presentation of material.  There were happy times to be had, with the band creating soft harmonies and striking organic bears.  Efterklang may often be put down as a dance or electronic outfit, but there is something much softer about them, an ethereal quality.
Efterklang

 

Bear In Heaven
Bear In Heaven

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Back in the Spiegeltent though, there’s something much darker going Bear In Heavenon, with Bear In Heaven playing, the Brooklyn-based outfit.  After reaching recent acclaim, particularly with last year’s release Beast Rest Forth Mouth (QRO review – receiving a Pitchfork 8.4 and graced many, many more ‘Best of 2009’ lists), many were excited for these New Yorkers to showcase their material, considering that the complex sounds on previous records may be difficult to emulate.  However, Bear In Heaven claimed success, setting a dark mood sprinkled with almost convoluted vocals, if that is indeed possible, and a mosaic of dream beats.  Bear In Heaven may have been able to successfully amalgamate a number of musical elements to create the ultimate band in terms of indie-cred, but Bear In Heaven still don’t seem to have the elements which make them the most easy to listen to bands.  They’re heavy on the ears, Bear In Heaven need digestion, but if you’re looking for something a little easier, you could always head elsewhere.

 

Sophie Hunger
Sophie Hunger

Sophie HungerhornClick image for full gallery

And where else is there, that the main stage – where the beautiful Sophie Hunger from Switzerland, presented nothing less than easily listenable heart wrenching folk pop songs.  Hunger appeared to throw herself into song, to a slightly more than bored crowd – it would seem that all were waiting for the next few artists appearing after her.  A slight shame, as although the recognition for Hunger’s talent was limited from the crowd, Hunger’s performance was a prime example of real song writing talent from this young starlet.  Hunger’s vocal was outstandingly strong, alongside boasting her capabilities for multi instrumentation.
Sophie Hunger

Sophie HungerflutePrimarily singing in English, with a song or two in German (Hunger studied Germany and English at University, whilst spending stints of her childhood in both German and England), Hungers songs had a real sense of urgency, desperation and sadness, captured perfectly by her performance – pitch-perfect and tone-appropriate.  Even so, on the contrary, it’s easy to see why one may have found Hunger’s performance less than stimulating, as much of Hunger’s material revolves around the same musical and lyrical themes, if you can last that long without slitting your wrists.
Sophie Hunger

 

The Tallest Man on Earth
The Tallest Man on Earth

Kristian MatssonClick image for full gallery

On a more upbeat note though, was sneaky entry onto the bill of a short stint of Swedish folk singer The Tallest Man on Earth, also known as Kristian Matsson.  Only playing a short set, Matsson was greeted by adoring fans who knew each word, each gap, every note in every song, who made the most of everything Matsson played.  Very much in line with the typical Swedish indie pop you may think of (think Jens Lekman – QRO album review), Matsson too has an upbeat, listenable sound, which has a genuine undertone of honesty and love to it.  Although this, it all gets a bit repetitive, and it’s all bit a little disappointment that he’s really not that tall after all.
ain't that tall

 

Yeasayer
Yeasayer

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Chris KeatingAs the night came closer to the end, second-to-headlining act Yeasayer took the stage, which provided to be an interesting mix of entertainment.  Opening up with “Tightrope”, the band seemed animated, followed by a gradual demise manifesting in a lack of energy from frontman Chris Keating, even himself noting towards the end of the set that his strange mood may be down to the swamp water from the lake which he swallowed.  However, fellow core member Anand Wilder did not fail to get his groove on, dancing throughout the set and providing an inspiration for the crowd who needed a little boost, considering the sound and energy was a little lower key than expected from the band.  However, the band included hits such as “O.N.E”, creating a considerable response, and played a range of material from their two albums.  There is no doubt that the hype surrounding Yeasayer hasn’t been unfounded, but from this performance, it wasn’t the greatest demonstration of their talent.  Yeasayer are a band who require an energy, a show and who need the bright lights – or at least some juice in the musical engine.
Anand Wilder

 

The National
The National

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However, one band who don’t require so much juice for their performance are closers of the weekend, The National – uniquely, they are a band where their music speaks for itself.  The New York quintet, made up of two sets of brothers and frontman Matt Berninger recited a set heavy on their most recent release of High Violet (QRO review), which was somewhat unfortunately hindered by considerable technical problems.  With large gaps whilst the bass was cut out completely for the first few songs, Berninger awkwardly tried to fill the gaps of silence.  However, the crowd didn’t come to hear storytelling, or a joke, but to see the spectacle with is The National – and it didn’t disappoint, once the problems were slowly but surely ironed out.  Although Berninger started off the set with “Afraid of Everyone” in the wrong key (all but likely yet another technical feedback fault), he was soon corrected, to progress onto a tighter and technical difficultiestighter sound as crewmembers frantically tried to pull it together.  For a band that seems to have their sound so perfected, it seemed a mighty shame, and certainly caused some calamity for the band, where the Dessner brothers – who usually come across as very light hearted- became more distressed.

However, these problems were not to hang about long, as song issues were resolved and the bass was returned to where it belonged, and alongside this was the addition of Nico Muhly – who is a friend of the band and coincidentally signed to Brassland Records (a label co-owned by the Dessners) – for the heart-wrenchingly beautiful track “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”.  By this time round, the sound was perfected, allowing for each individual track to hit home.  It was not just the slower tracks – “Slow Show”, “Sorrow” – which were more effective, though, as powerful, compelling tracks like “Abel” and “Mr. November” blew the crowd away, with Berninger briefly entering the crowd as he atypically would, such to the publics delight.  However, it was more than Matt Berninger’s exploits that got the crowd going, but the soaring, almost stadium-like guitars from the Dessner brothers, which created all-powerful crescendos to capture the hearts and minds of Haldern Pop.  Additionally, it’s not just the Dessners who can astound, but Bryan Devendorf showcased his utterly electrifying drumbeats with the extended intro to “Squalor Victoria” from Boxer (QRO review) and Scott Devendorf’s (QRO interview at Haldern) bass lines that maneuver like musical tectonic plates.
The National

what's going on back there?The National seem to have an almighty capability to create a wholly dynamic wall of sound, which has an incredible solidity to it.  It’s understandable why The National get so annoyed about technical faults – each element is so carefully crafted into a thing of beauty, that the National are incomplete without each musical fundamental.  They are something to aspire to too – with many of the weekends artists crowding round hidden corners of the stage to watch the band – including Markus Mumford of Mumford & Sons (see Day Two), and Laura Marling (QRO live review).

Matt BerningerThe most recent singles were played off of High Violet, including “Anyone’s Ghost” plus “Terrible Love” in the encore, but the closer was most highly appropriate “About Today”, a song about loss and goodbyes.  As the band closed the end of this outstanding festival and tremendous show, tears were to be had, as this intense track played out to the band leaving the stage, one by one.  There probably couldn’t have had a more appropriate closer to the night, or the weekend with a truly intense performance by genuinely one of the very best bands around.
The National

 

Haldern Pop Festival truly is a gem of a music festival.  Unlike so many of the other festivals, it really does remain a place for genuine music lovers, and one can only hope it stays that way.  With a beautiful scenic setting, and consistently spectacular line up, who knows what 2011 will bring- but it’s bound to be good.  Very, very good.

 

Haldern Pop

 

 

Haldern Pop

 

 

Haldern Pop

 

 

Haldern Pop

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