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Way Out West — Day Three

  • Written by  Cat Schaupp & Mattias Kölborg

Day Three at Way Out West begins with us stuffing our bags full of waterproofs borrowed from friends and by putting on pairs of wellies (also borrowed).  We’re taking no chances after yesterday’s drubbing.  

Our first stop of the day is to see Amanda Bergman perform on the Höjden stage.  She plays lots of tracks from her debut album as an artist in her own right, Docks.  Golden' is stupendously good live and her dulcet tones are as striking as ever.  We leave her set halfway through so that we can catch Daniel Norgren and later learn that both The Tallest Man on Earth and First Aid Kit joined her onstage later in the set. Of course!

Thankfully, Daniel Norgren’s set on the Linné stage is so good that we don’t regret making a move at all. The tent is absolutely crammed full and the audience gives him the warmest reception of the weekend so far. Daniel runs through a packet set that features plenty of tracks from 2015’s The Green Stone. He’s really unassuming, humble and looks delighted by the fact that so many people have come to see him play. When he launches into closing track 'Whatever Turns You On', the tent erupts in cheers and everyone is jumping. It’s a treat to watch.

From one rollicking set to another, this time courtesy of Eagles of Death Metal. They are awesomely entertaining and it’s great to see a band who are clearly delighted to be on stage performing together. Boots Electric is as charismatic as ever, regaling us with anecdotes about being sent to a psychiatrist by the band who suspected him of being incapable of love and, at one point, proposing marriage to Davey Jo Catching. It’s a dose of good ol’ rock n’ roll, and like tipsy folks in a dive bar, the crowd is all over it.

After that raucous onslaught we tone things down by checking out Beth Orton. It’s years since I last saw her live and her voice as great as always. She appears shy at first, telling the audience that she’s nervous about she’s getting it wrong when she says "tack" (thank you), but she relaxes into things as the set continues. It’s great to hear tracks from her most recent album Kidsticks and tracks like 'Petals' and '1973' — if only everyone could release such great material 23 years into their career. After Orton’s set we check out two popular Scandinavian acts: the Norwegian Ane Brun and Swedish Deportees. Brun is wearing the kind of outfit I’d sell my granny for (an awesome orange pantsuit) and the energetic, upbeat tracks from When I’m Free land perfectly with the crowd. Deportees arrive onstage to a rapturous welcome from both the crowd and the heavens: as the crowd roars their approval, the skies open and drop what seems like an ocean’s worth of water on our heads. It can’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for tracks 'Love me like I’m Gone' and 'Islands & Shores', though.    

Our last band of the festival proper is Massive Attack & Young Fathers, who play second to last. They’re on superlative form and it’s an amazing gig, with presence of Young Fathers really turning things up a notch. It’s a heavy, industrial, grinding set accompanied by a light show that looks spectacular in the fading light. 'Inertia Creeps' is a standout, along with the throbbingly heavy version of 'Safe from Harm' that closes their set. At the end of the, the video screen flashes up “Je Suis Charlie” and then cycles through the other cities that have been victim to recent terror attacks. It’s horribly ironic that, in politicised set that challenged people’s passivity in the face of the world’s problems and their preference for reading gossip columns over headlines, the message is lost as a huge crowd rushes towards the Flamingo stage to see Sia’s headline set. As for that, we stay for about 7 ½ seconds and then decide that we’d rather swing from the chandelier of a nearby pub.  

After-hours, seeing as it’s the final night of the festival, we decide to venture out to Stay Out West. We head over to Pustervik and check out Cloves on the venue’s Lilla stage. She gives a great performance that’s full confidence and plenty of soul. The tracks from EP 'XIII' work really well with electric guitar and she takes things down a notch with a few acoustic numbers. The crowd, quiet at first, are quickly won over — if phones in video mode and raucous applause are anything to go by. After that we head downstairs to the venue’s main stage for Niki & The Dove. I’ve had their most recent album Everybody's Heart is Broken Now on high rotation since it was released and had high hopes. The gig’s a bit of a disappointment as they come over as being as much about the gimmicks as the music. There’s no need to dress up as Cyndi Lauper when the tracks are good and it’s a shame that they rely on fannying about vocoders and club beats to get the crowd on side at the start. We finish off the night by going to see punk stalwarts The Damned. This involves hopping on a tiny ferry across the river to Gothenburg Studios and being adopted by some drunk lads who interrogate us about whether we play Pokemon Go while they google directions to the gig. The Damned are just what we needed to finish off the festival: they’re aggressive, gutsy and play the hell out of their instruments as they hammer their way through tracks like “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today”, “Ignite” and “Neat Neat Neat”.  By the end of the set, no-one in the crowd is standing still. At 3.45, we stumble out of the Studios as the dawn’s first light breaks across the sky.    

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