The Stone Roses are a blur of brilliance on say two of Pukkelpop

Pukkelpop 2012 review

published: Tue 21st Aug 2012

Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th August 2012
Kempische Steenweg, Kiewit, Belgium, Belgium
155 euros for a combi tickets, 79 day tickets, Saturday sold out
daily capacity: 62500
last updated: Mon 13th Aug 2012

Friday started with a performance of outrageous mediocrity from Blood Red Shoes, apparently playing their fourth Pukkelpop. Don't expect any more details because I wasn't really paying much attention. I'm sure someone, somewhere enjoyed their performance. I didn't. Whilst waiting for the next main stage act, I caught a few minutes of Zulu Winter in the Club stage. Lead singer Will Daunt excelled himself by proudly announcing "of all the countries we have played in, Holland is by far my favourite" before realising Pukkelpop is, in fact, in Belgium. Smooth.

I cruised back to the main stage for Maximo Park, who began with a riotous rendition of 'Girls Who Play Guitars'. The 45-minute show raced by, with 'Going Missing' and 'Graffiti'’ livening up the potentially hazardous mid-set, before the band finished up with 'Our Velocity' and 'Apply Some Pressure'. A solid performance from a reliable festival filler. Next on stage were Two Door Cinema Club, and without trying to sound too harsh, it was so forgettable that I had to double-check the line-up to make sure they actually performed. Zero charisma, zero pizzazz. And most of their songs sound the same. Overall, my favourite club is definitely still the 'Bombay Bicycle' variety. Next up, Eagles Of Death Metal. Compelling frontman Jesse Hughes brings real personality to the proceedings, and the entire band were fairly decent as well. I'd namecheck some songs but I didn't even vaguely recognise any of them. However, one which I've been reliably informed is titled 'Cherry Cola' was rather catchy. That's it.

For the first time ever, I reached the hallowed terrain of the front row for the next act - British band Keane. It was an exceptional performance- unbelievably emotive and pretty fun as well. All their most popular songs - 'Everybody's Changing', 'Somewhere Only we Know', 'Spiralling' - were all present and accounted for, but surprisingly it was the lesser-known ballad 'This Is The Last Time' that resonated most powerfully. Brilliant stuff. Would the next act of the day be overawed? Not Lykke Li. The alluring Swede turned in an unbelievably atmospheric show- visually breathtaking, vocally impeccable, and with a command of the stage that borders on totalitarian. Her new single 'Midnight Shining' was sumptuous, while her calling card 'I Follow Rivers' was, predictably, stunning. At the risk of seriously over-milking the comedy cow her name brings, I lykked it. Ouch.

I returned to the front row for the performance of old-school indie maestros The Stone Roses. Earlier in the evening, Keane frontman Tom Chaplin's praise for the Mancunian outfit was greeted by a notable chorus of booing, and I was perplexed. Doesn't everyone love Ian Brown? However, any fears I had that the crowd would be unsupportive were fully assuaged during the first song- apparently 40,000 people did all 'Wanna Be Adored'. The rest of the set raced by in a blur of brilliance, the only minor disappointment being the limiting hour-long set. The finale was as perfect as it could possibly be - 'She Bangs the Drums' followed by a superlative 'I Am The Resurrection' to bring the crowd to a miraculous climax. Ian Brown is hilariously extrovert, Reni is a dream at the drum kit, and the quality of the material is consistently excellent. It was always a dream of mine to watch The Stone Roses live, from the very front of a baying crowd. I've ticked that one off the list - now all I have to do is persuade Michelle Monaghan to marry me. Passing up the opportunity to get punched by some 14 year-old chav during the inevitable mosh at 'Chase and Fucking Status' (to quote their spectacularly annoying MC, Rage), I instead popped down to the Marquee for recently-reunited cult rockers, The Afghan Whigs. Frontman Greg Dulli has an incredible voice, and it was all rather pleasant, but I can't say I was particularly swept away by it. Still, it was a treat to witness such a generation-defining band.
review by: James Hyde

Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th August 2012
Kempische Steenweg, Kiewit, Belgium, Belgium
155 euros for a combi tickets, 79 day tickets, Saturday sold out
daily capacity: 62500
last updated: Mon 13th Aug 2012


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