Hultsfredsfestival – third day with Bat For Lashes, Garbage and The XX.
text: Helena Torstensson
foto: Martina Törnemyr
Bat for Lashes aka Natasha Khan is an English singer-songwriter and musician. She sings and plays the piano, bass, guitar, harpsichord and the auto harp. Her debut album ‘Fur And Gold’ released in 2006. On the third day of Hultsfreds festival, the last day of an amazing weekend, it is the first performance of the day.
Also it is the first time that Bat For Lashes plays in Sweden and I feel privileged to stand in the crowd, seeing her dance around in her long dress. She looks so cute and starts beautifully with “What’s AGirl To Do” followed by the emotional “Sleep Alone”, both me and the crowd really likes this one and. Easily you get int into the music, even when you don’t know the songs.
In the middle of the set we got the nice surprise of Natasha Khan; saying that she is going to play three new songs today. Starting with “Kiss My Eyes (And Lay Me To Sleep)”, “Rest Your Head” and “Laura”.
These songs are wel performed and good to hear live. I liked “Laura” the best with clever lyrics and I sure am looking forward to the release of “The Haunted Man” in October 2012. The set ended in a good way with two of my favourite songs “Pears Dream” and “Daniel”.
Garbage is an alternative rock band formed in 1994, all the members are involved in songwriting and production. Self titled debut album ‘Garbage‘ was released back in 1995. it became an unexpected smash with the singles “Stupid Girl” and “Only Happy When It Rains”. Latest album “Not your kind of people”is released in May 2012.
It feels pretty amazing to stand in front of the stage, waiting to see Garbage live for the first time! The set opens with the first song on the new album, it is called “Automatic Systematic Habit”. And in my ears it sounds like Shirley Manson had to struggle keeping up with the music.
So I was a bit concerned, since it almost sounded like she had skipped warming up before the show. I was honestly very relieved to hear that her voice became stronger during the set and in “Blood For Poppies” she sounds much more certain, more clear.
Manson manages to gain strength during the concert and reach a stronger vocal level. “Queer” brings massive guitars, stronger vocals and a good vibe. I simply loved hearing the intense and cool “Shut Your Mouth” live.
The last song “Only Happy When It Rains” begins slow and special, before it changes and becomes even better than on the album. Some people in front of the stage are jumping around to the catchy music.
It is funny to notice that a fine rain falls down when the song ends. A beautiful fairytale ending from this successful band. Garbage manages to perform a strong set and convince the audience today.
Automatic Systematic Habit
Blood for Poppies
Why Do You Love Me
Shut Your Mouth
Cherry Lips (Go Baby, Go!)
Only Happy When It Rains
The XX is an English indie-pop band, formed in London in 2005. Debut album ‘XX‘ is released in August 2009. It is ranked highly on many ‘best of 2009’ lists. They are currently working on their second album that will be released later in 2012. Band members: Oliver Sim (vocals & bass), Romy Madly-Croft (vocals & lead guitar) and Jamie Smith (music producer & remix artist).
At the end of Garbage a lot of people are walking over to the ‘Green’ stage where The XX are programmed to play. I did not think that they would begin before Garbage ended, but I kept an eye on that stage (and my ears).
I was glad to notice that they were not starting over there, so I was able to watch the full set of Garbage. When The XX comes on stage, they had drawn a large crowd in front. Opening with the new single “Devotion” from the coming new album ‘Coexist‘, that is scheduled to be released in September.
The band quickly creates a special atmosphere on the stage. The crowd are silently standing there and simply listening to the music. The second song “Islands” is catchy and this one quickly gets the crowd moving; I love the easy tone it brings.
When “Heart Skipped A Beat” follows, I am very pleased and it is a great experience to hear it live. Oliver Sim tells the audience that it is a long time since the band played in daylight, and that he finds it nice, to actually see the faces in front of the stage.
When “VCR” comes, the crowd recognizes it by the intro and cheers their pleasure. I was looking forward to hear “Crystalised” but the live version of this song did not work in my ears, so I was very disappointed. My total impression of this set is that it started great, but then somehow, it lost something vital and becomes too much of the same and too melancholic. That is possible; believe me.
A dark ending of a perfect festival weekend on Hultsfred. Women stood strong on this edition with ‘leading ladies’ to rock the stage. Also Slash and his band made an impression. Overall an impressive list of respectful artists. Already looking forward to next year. Thankword to the bands, fans and most of all the organisation.