Openair St. Gallen 2010
aaamusic | On 19, Jul 2010
St. Gallen 25-26-27 June 2010
I would have never thought that such an enchanted place could host such a hot music festival! St. Gallen looks like the town of a fairytale, cows graze grass in peace, everything shines under a warm sun, but its heart pulsates of rock vibes.
After a journey by train lasted 11 hours, I arrive in this beautiful town together with my best friend as well as photographer for the festival. Unfortunately we miss the first cool acts, but we arrive just in time to see the amazing performance by 30 Seconds to Mars.
The festival is really well organized, free shuttle buses take people from the station to the Openair h24, they are never too full and they take only 10 minutes to reach the place.
Security control bags with accuracy, staff people are very kind and efficient and all is very ordered, we melt into this river of people travelling towards the Promised Land, a beautiful hill decorated with coloured tents.
The festival area is not so big as I have imagined, as a matter of fact, “only” 82.000 tickets were sold, but the main stage (SITTERBÜHNE) is amazing, while the second stage (STERNENBÜHNE) is like a big top, I love it!
So before going to the media area I want to see 30 Seconds to Mars together with other people, it’s not very crowded at the moment, so I can reach the lateral barriers.
There’s still light, but the band starts epically introduced by Carmina Burana, Jared Leto gets hold to the stage with a blonde mohawk and glaring red gloves trying to set people on fire jumping out of stage and going to the barriers to sing with them. The opening track is Night of the Hunter, a great song in a perfect 80’s style, with a powerful bassline, his vocals are very good and clear, Jared is in good form, he shouts to raise the people that are still sleeping or are thinking to the Switzerland match. He says a lot of times “I wanna see every single person jump!” while Attack starts, band are playing good but Jared is a star and you forget that there are other people on the stage, because he is never on the stage, he runs, jumps from the right to the left, he’s a crazy splinter. The show goes on with Vox Populi and Search and Destroy, people start to be involved singing along and jumping when Jared says to do it. The best moment is when the singer flings himself into the crowd pushing people to crowd surf (that is forbidden of course), suddenly I can’t see him anymore and I am afraid for him, but security manage to take him out, he’s brave and irresponsible, but he’s a fucking rockstar (for sure the best performer of the night)!
Beautiful lie comes and I enjoy this wonderful song, but This is war is explosive with its refrain and after the noise I love the moment when Jared plays the acoustic guitar, I can feel shiver on my skin.
The Kill gives people the best moment of the night, when Jared flings himself into the crowd pushing people to crowd surf (that is forbidden of course), suddenly I can’t see him anymore and I am afraid for him, but security manage to take him out, he’s brave and irresponsible, but he’s a fucking rockstar (for sure the best performer of the night)!
Closer to the edge is full of energy; it’s a perfect festival song, while The fantasy closes the set with a touch of dark rock.
But this is not the end: we are all waiting for Kings and Queens, so the band come back on the stage and Jared tells the audience to get hold to the stage to sing together. Suddenly a lot of people jump over the barriers to go onto the stage, I think 40 of them succeed in the exploit and the scene was beautiful seen from my area, it is a praiseworthy end for a stunning set!
I think it’s very difficult for next act arousing the same feelings, but The Strokes are really loved from St. Gallen audience, even if Julian Casablancas has got a different charisma compared to Jared’s.
His performance has no impetus, he lets music express feelings he felt inside, and Strokes’ music is great! Starting from New York City Cops they set crowd on fire, they are in good form and close-knit, it seems that they made the last gig yesterday. They had some technical issues at the very start of their set, but they sound great, especially the guitar riffs by Albert Hammond Jr.. Julian’s vocals are perfect, he sings hidden by big black sunglasses, but I can feel his greatness as frontman, he is not so expansive, but he talks to the audience trying to involve them. And people answer with enthusiasm, when Reptilia starts people sing along loudly and on Hard to explain they go crazy (me too), it was their first single and I still think that “Is this it” is their best album. Even if What Ever Happened is amazing, I love his scratch voice on the refrain, the set goes on with You only live once (their last single), Soma, Vision of Division, I can’t win, Is this it, and Someday came at last, Julian introduced it with a long speech, but the microphone’s volume is too low and I can’t hear what he’s saying, I know that the band performs the track very well, but I have the impression that something is missing, Julian sometimes seems far away from what he’s doing. Red light is delicious, but the end is we are waiting for Last Nite that closes the first part of an 18 track set. Between encores I listen to a wonderful live version of Under control, they play it in an acoustic version and it is very languid, then drums started to beat giving more energy, but leaving that melancholy on the background. Heart in a cage is stunning, Julian sings sweeping his voice like he is drunk, and I love this way of singing, it is very sexy. Take it or leave it ends the gig and it’s the right song, it is powerful and people start to dance and make a damn pogo. Switzerland crashes out World Cup, but they don’t care, they are spending a beautiful night!
In the meanwhile we have missed The Temper Trap, they played on the other stage at the same time, it is a pity, I think stage times should be not so coinciding, anyway, now we have to choose between Alberta Cross and LCD Soundsystem, we decide that we can’t miss them, we know that they are amazing live. And our expectations are not disappointed!
They opened with the extraordinary Us Vs Them, an 8 minute track mixing disco elements with samba and sung like a Pink Floyd song. Their set is full of strange handmade instruments, they are beautiful visually and James Murphy has a strong charisma on the stage.
They go on introducing Drunk Girls, the first single from the new album, it’s very involving with its punk rhythm, a great song to make people dance. Pow Pow is hypnotizing with its beating drums and repeated guitar harp, but it’s great because James doesn’t sing, he acts lyrics. Daft Punk Is Playing At My House is one of the most famous songs, it’s more electronic creaming up rock and punk influences plus a touch of drum-n-bass, spectacular!!
All My Friends and I can change can seem almost ballads in 80’s style, but we are talking about LCD, so no song is expected, I remember the first for the throbbing piano chord and the second for its languor, Tribulations is very electro.
But they set people on fire with the astonishing Yeah, lasting more than 10 minutes. People dance and they can’t stop, it’s an irresistible call, I can’t stop to sing yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah even if it is ended, and it’s so carrying away!
So I can’t remember the last 2 songs, because I am still in trance! My fellow says that they are Someone great and Losing my edge, two great tunes, but I think the must close their set playing Yeah!
So the first day is finished, we wait for the shuttle bus only few minutes, even if we have to reach the hotel by taxi, there’s no night bus.
Good morning people, another sunshine day, I’m ready to spend a great second day! What’s on the bill today?
We start with La Brass Banda an ensemble of five from the lake Chiemsee in upper Bavaria, which delights their audiences with a powerful and extravagant wind player emphasized mix of Funk, Soul, Mariachi, Punk, Dub, Polka, Ska, Balkan Beats and Bavarian sounds.
Next band is performing at main stage, it’s the time of White Lies. They kick off playing a powerful version of A place to hide, I love their dark rock even if it sounds better inside a smokey club instead of at the openair in a sunny afternoon. Anyway Harry McVeigh sings superbly and the band played very well. Farewell to the fairground is really appreciated by the audience; they know how to play synths to give tension to the tune. Their set goes on with E.S.T and then with Lose my life, it is a good performance but they don’t incite the audience, their strength is only their music and sometimes is enough, but sometimes something more is necessary.
After they showcase a new song called Bigger than us, it’s a good tune, but it is nothing new compared to their previous songs, it could belong to the first album. Any way it has an epic refrain sustained by synths.
They also play The price of love and Death, one of my fav.
But we are waiting for the great coming back of Stone Temple Pilots! We have some problems in shooting photos, their management has a list of authorized photographers, but we have no idea about that, so we protest, but without success.
Anyway they are amazing! Scott Weiland gets hold to the stage dressing a sailor shirt, sunglasses and holding his inseparable megaphone. They kick off with Vasoline and his performance is stunning as usual, I love the bass player too, he is a real rockstar and I can’t believe to what I’m seeing!
Crackerman set crowd on fire and they start a joyful pogo, while Scott sings with megaphone and runs on the stage with a big energy. Between the lines is the single from the new eponymous album, Scott is in a very good form, he’s chameleonic and has got a powerful charisma, the guitarist plays a great solo, it’s a very tough tune, a perfect return song.
On Plush Scott plays with his scarf bandaging his head, and sings with passion, I can feel shivers, and the band sustain him musically and emotionally enjoying the moment together with him and the crowd.
The set goes on with Big empty, another wonderful song, and I realize how I and the whole audience missed them! They are the last real rockstars, music needs them and we are happy that they have come back!
They also play Hickory Dichotomy and Huckleberry Crumble from the new album, and go back with Interstate love song to end their wonderful gig with Sex type thing, it is so amazing that I’d like to destroy a guitar crashing it on an amplifier! Simply stunning, thanks guys!
After this adrenaline rush I realize that the best moment has to come… Kasabian are headlining tonight!
They play an almost a full setlist, and I’m so glad about this, they started with the great energy of Fast Fuse and people go crazy starting pogo and enjoying the moment. Shoot the runner has got the power of an anthem, the band play with such intensity that you can only be in it, Tom performs as usual, provoking the audience and carrying them away inciting and exciting them.
Underdog and Where did all the love go are always linked and the effect is amazing because the odd guitar riff of the first melts into the tense intro of the second, Tom is wild and people sing along aloud. Swarfiga is the right intermezzo to break the tension and passing to the psychedelic ID till Reason is treason that sets crowd on fire.
Julie and the Mothman is always a beautiful surprise; this song performed live is stunning. Starting from the dark strophe it opens to the mighty refrain letting people sing and jump.
Thick as thieves is delicious, but on Take Aim Serge is extraordinary, he has got a great energy tonight, he plays his wonderful guitars vehemently and when he has to sing he doesn’t save himself.
Empire, The Doberman and Club Foot close the set, when the band shout “Stop” the audience start to jump and sing along, while the second song is darkest and ends with an amazing trumpet solo. The third is welcomed by the audience with screams and pogo.
But people want more! So here you are three stunning encores: Fire, Vlad the Impaler, L.S.F.
What I can say? They are simply perfect!
2ManyDjs aka Soulwax aka the Dewaele Brothers make people dance till 4 am. Their set is beautiful, mashing up Beethoven with disco elements, people really loved them and they celebrate the end of their set with a confetti rain.
A lot of people are going home after a great weekend, but big surprises have to come!
Under a burning sun Ellie Goulding delights the brave audience who stand behind the barriers of main stage, Starry Eyed involve people who clap their hands and are enjoying, her look is questionable, but she’s got a very thin and sexy voice, her performance is precise and gives me a good impression.
At 2 pm we are waiting for Wolfmother, but they delete their appearance and are substituted by an extraordinary guy called Jamie Lidell. He’s a soul singer from Manhattan, released four album in the last decade, Compass, the last one, this year and has got a black and powerful voice. Seeing him live is a mystical experience. He melts soul, funk, rock, electro singing with such a passion and reaching such high notes that I have no words.
Including his successes like Multiply and Another Day his set leave the audience completely satisfied.
We have the time to run to the second stage to see the amazing performance of The Big Pink, another appreciated surprise, since their live set is very particular.
Their song are always introduced by very long intro full of noise and electro sounds, they have fun playing echoes back, they are really involving, but they capture your mind not your body, it’s like a mental trip.
They started with Too young to love, a psychedelic tune carried on through guitar distortions and sounds effect, and go on rocking on heavy guitar sonic tapestries, performing Velvet, one of my fav tunes, it sounds so 80’s, smells of new wave and dark atmospheres.
Crystal visions is simply moving, one of that songs that heard live has got a biggest emotional impact.
To note a beautiful- depressed – acoustic cover of Sweet dreams by Beyoncè, it is almost unrecognizable, but my good ear’s got it, I want to hear it again!
They ended their set with the most waiting song: Dominos. People jump and have fun, this song has got a remarkable pump creating wall of sound as strong as seems to push people out!
After rock now it’s the turn of reggae, Gentleman & the Evolution get hold the main stage. His setlist is a well-balanced mix of classics taken from past albums and other tunes taken from the last one, Diversity.
He’s supported by brass section and his sound is very catchy, it is influenced by strong pop and the audience appreciate that. To note the wonderful touch of his guitarist. A very good performance.
The last but one act should be Kelis, but she deletes her appearance too, it doesn’t matter because I discover my last obsession. They are from Manchester, the debut album is due to September, but they have already released two singles and their sound is amazing. Ladies and gentlemen, Hurts.
Starting from his elegant and impeccable look, I’m in love with the singer, he looks like a Tony Hadley of Noughties, his vocals have got soft timber but are strong. Their music is a good electro – pop glancing at 80’s, Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, but looking at contemporary bands like Killers or Muse, they use of synths massively.
They play Better than Love, their debut single. It’s the first time I listen to it and it’s love at first listen, with synths craftily reminding Bliss. But the refrain is perfect to dance and sing along, it’s powerful. Blood, tears & gold, my fav one, is so melancholic that I go crazy for it, with moving few piano notes at the very end. Wonderful life s a heart-piercing future classic. Close your eyes and you’re transported back to 1987, with the pristine production and melodies. Happiness is more pretentious, with disco elements and epic choirs, but remarkable.
Can’t wait for their debut album!
The festival is going to end and Billy Talent’s punk is closing the party. Starting the show with the fuzzed-out intro to Devil in a Midnight Mass, the band came out with enough energy to match the frenzied crowd.
hen, new song Rusted from the Rain—which provoked the biggest crowd reaction yet—and recent single Saint Veronika. An early highlight came when 2004’s River Below kicked off with its antagonistic, catchy guitar riff.
Anchored by Solowoniuk, Gallant laid down a solid low end, rumbling the crowd in darker songs like Tears into Wine. By the time impossibly catchy single Devil on my Shoulder kicked off the encore, the band had the crowd fully entranced, and fully believing in the future of punk.
The party’s over, people are going home, I’m sad because I spent three wonderful days, but I don’t want go to the hotel, so what I can do? I look at my photographer and I say “Fancy a beer?”
Author: Roberta Capuano
Photos: Sara Cicchella, Roberta Capuano