Noel Gallagher Keeps Good Kompany on Sunday at Rock Werchter

Rock Werchter 2012 review

By James Hyde | Published: Thu 5th Jul 2012

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Thursday 28th June to Sunday 1st July 2012
Werchter, Rotselaar, Belgium, Belgium
79 Euros - sold out
Daily capacity: 80,000
Last updated: Thu 24th May 2012

Having enjoyed a much-needed lie-in (the 3am finishes take their toll after a few days), I leisurely strolled down to the arena to check out Britain's band of the moment, The Vaccines. Their acclaimed debut album was called 'What did you Expect From The Vaccines?' and to be honest, I expected more. Despite finishing over ten minutes early, their material was already starting to sound samey and not even a rousing finale of 'Norgaard' could quite shake my feeling of disappointment. Shame, that.

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Not to worry, though, as straight after came a rowdy performance from Irish-American rockers Dropkick Murphys. Don't ask me to namecheck any of their songs, apart from the brilliant 'I'm Shipping Up to Boston', but the crowd loved it and I was very impressed.

One of the most surreal moments of the entire weekend came when Belgian Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany took to the stage to introduce City fan Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. While they're no Oasis, Noel's new group have enough charm to suggest they'll be a real success. Noel-sung Oasis favourites such as 'Little by Little' and 'Talk Tonight' were thrown in alongside High Flying Birds singles such as 'If I had a Gun' and 'AKA What a Life' - and by the time Noel belted out Oasis classic 'Don't Look Back in Anger' as a homage to Vincent Kompany, the crowd were in the palm of his hand.

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I stayed on the main stage to watch the phenomenon that is Florence + The Machine, and the dreamy redhead didn't disappoint. Despite some glaring song omissions (leaving out her big breakthrough single 'You've Got the Love' was a crass faux pas) her set is consistently powerful and packed with several stand-out moments that totally vindicate her enormous success. She floats around the stage as if in a dream, and the audience can't help but be swept along with her. This is a headline- quality hour, and it won't be long before she's topping the bill here. Stunning, stunning stuff.

Having watched Irish rockers Snow Patrol brilliantly close V Festival 2009 after Oasis' no-show, I was incredibly excited to see them again. Gary Lightbody announced early on that his band were merely the 'warm-up' for the night's headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, and their performance, unfortunately, showed why. Lightbody's haunting vocals send shivers down the spine, and some moments, like a tear-jerking rendition of 'Run' were just incredible - but it always felt like Snow Patrol were content to keep this very restrained. The Belfast group have the rare power to move a crowd in a way very few others can. However, when even bringing out golden boy Ed Sheeran doesn't create much of a reaction, you know it just wasn't Snow Patrol's night.

Closing Rock Werchter 2012 were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, bringing their funky brand of rock back to Werchter after three years away. While a Chilis set can never be disregarded, they didn't quite live up to my weighty expectations. There were some great moments (a roof-raising 'Can't Stop', a mellow 'Under the Bridge') but all too often it was underwhelming. Even the encore of 'Give it Away' never really happened. Red Hot Chili Peppers are modern music legends, but today belonged to a young lady called Florence, and a Machine.

around the festival site (1)
review by: James Hyde

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