Arctic Monkeys disappointed at Lowlands on Saturday night, but on Sunday, in anticipation of Stromae, there was a lot of beautiful and exciting music to listen to. And Froukje could finally say it: ‘Hallowlands!!!’
hangovers? Yes, quite a few lowland visitors are bothered by it on the third day of the festival. This is how it is traditionally done here: Saturday night there is serious partying, Sunday, especially during the day, there is an equally serious outburst.
The requisite visitors can also get a bit of a hangover from the Arctic Monkeys performance. To get straight to the point: the group, the biggest name at Lowlands 2022 after Stromae, was quite disappointing on Saturday night. It was a very solid show, but what good is reliability at a pop festival?
Musically, there was nothing to complain about the concert by the Brits, who admittedly were brought into their own country some fifteen years ago, as if they were the new Beatles, but the holy fire would not burn in Biddinghuizen. Rock is not a very popular genre among the current lowlanders, and many new souls will not have won the Arctic Monkeys on Saturday night.
No matter how cleverly Arctic Monkeys’ songs were put together and how competently they were played, the atmosphere at the concert, where only old songs were on the set list, was downright boring. In the performance of indie classics I bet you look good on the dance floor (from 2005) it caught fire after all, but it was almost the last song.
Early on Sunday afternoon, Froukje gives the day’s first really big show. And big means here: very big, the Bravo bulges. The singer remarkably broke through in the corona era, and says what she always wanted to say: “Hallowlands!!!” and gives a reassuring concert, where the colleague and friend S10 is also a guest.
The massive interest in Froukje’s concert not only shows the popularity of current Dutch pop music, it also shows how well women are doing at festivals these days. In this edition of Lowlands, it’s easy to choose a program where you only see and hear women or female-led bands perform. And then you have a great musical weekend.
In X-Ray, the musical festival’s most progressive venue, singer and rap star Enny shows how it goes in London’s underground scene. Not only is there a lot of soul in her version of hip-hop, you can also hear that the roots of black music in England are very much in Jamaica – Enny’s Nigerian origins don’t change that.
Authentic reggae sounds in Bravo by the performance of Jamaican singer Koffee. He is a fantastic type: small in stature, spectacles on his nose, cap backwards on his head and armed with a very powerful voice. Is it finally time for a reggae revival? At Lowlands it looks like this; the young audience more than enthusiastically ‘sinks’ to the music. And hey, it suddenly smells like weed.
Not your typical festival music
Singer-songwriter Arlo Parks, who happens to be British of Nigerian descent after Enny, made a deep impression on fans last year with his debut album Collapsed in sun rayswhere the very modest and unassuming sounding music was somewhere between soul and folk.
It’s not typical festival music, but the endearing Parkers, backed by a fine band, easily stand up in the Heinekentent. Still, this is one of those concerts you’d rather experience in a hall like Paradiso.
A greater contrast than with the music for Fever 333, which later appears on the same stage, is unthinkable. It’s amazing how much noise you can make with just a vocal mic, a guitar and a drum kit. The American group makes music that used to be heard more often on the Lowlands, but is now a rarity: a mix of punk, metal and rap (if you immediately think of Rage Against The Machine, you’re in the right direction).
You don’t have to be particularly sad that such music is not so popular anymore, but the energy that the two-thirds black trio unleashes is certainly infectious. In the Heineken tent, the public surrenders, after some hesitation, to old crafts such as slam dancing and head banging. Even more fun to see is what kind of reactions the music provokes outside the tent.
Very surprised, almost startled, it even seems to see the wild chaos inside, on the faces an expression of ‘what the hell is this!?’ It’s called rock and roll, boys and girls.