After a comfy night at the crew camp, where you even can hear birds sing in the morning, we set off for Aldi to buy us breakfast. You really can’t put it into words how great it is to have a huge supermarket (it’s called Aldi XXL, apparently unusually big for being an Aldi) which allows you to have a real breakfast, not something fried or fat, just a plain youghurt. Sure, it’s not possible to find even a small grocery store nearby because we’re at the countryside far from central Cuxhaven, most festivals are too far off anyway to allow for a short walk down to the local supermarket (we do not consider urban festivals to be real music festivals, it has to be located at the countryside on a field somewhere), but very few festivals offer a supermarket with “ordinary” products.
After just one day at our Deichbrand Festival debut we already start to feel quite comfy at the festival. People are friendly, the crew is very friendly and everything you need at a festival – food, ATM’s, stages, press center – area in a short walk’s distance. Usually that’s one of the major obstacles at festivals where you need to plan how and when to walk to an appointment to be there in time, but that’s really not necessary at Deichbrand, it’s all around the corner (or around the corn field as someone said). The press center doesn’t open early although we learned that it is open when it should’t be; people just walk in and start working. What’s not open is the coffee machine.
However, you don’t learn local festival rules that quick, and we started out the day to stroll around at the campsite to get us a dose of the festival feeling because it’s the atmosphere at the campsite that tells you if it’s a good festival or not. We didn’t need to walk more than 2-3 minutes to understand the grandeur of Deichbrand. Just outside the festival ground we made a stopover at a huge swimming pool, a perfect choice for a hot summer day like this but our photographer Ms K had forgot to pack her bikini and although the editor don’t mind take a swim naked we’re not sure how people, or security at the festival, would receive that message. What I don’t understand is why people were lining up for at least an hour to get a shower a few hundred meters away from poolside when there was lots of space in the pool – why?! I guess we’ll never fully understand the minds of Generation Me.
This was the day when the “real” festival started and some of the bigger bands were about to perform. Ms K was looking forward to Wanda and 30 Seconds To Mars while the editor wanted to catch Blood Red Shoes and Tocotronic. But we started out with the opening act of the day, Skindred, just because they were kind of good at their peak two decades ago and why not find out if they still had something. Let’s say Skindred are that type of band all festivals should have as an opening act, just to fire people up.
In a burning hot sun furious frontman Benji Webbe did everything to get people in party mode. If more front dudes and dudettes would have his communicational skills, performances at festivals would be way more interesting. It was sing along contests, talking to people in the crowd, doing weird cover songs (“Out of Space” by The Prodigy for instance), all coated in that heavy sound that just Skindred can pull off. I have a list of vocalists every young musicians should watch and learn from, and Benji Webbe is most definitely on that list.
A few hours later and a bit work in between we ended up at Wanda, an Austrian indie rock/rock act. Germans love German lyrics and often sing along, just like Brits love to sing at football arenas. However, when you just know a few words of German it doesn’t make sense to me and I left after 4-5 songs. Music-wise not bad at all but I need to understand the context of what I’m listening to. Indie rock is more than harmonies; instrumental music works out if it’s post-rock/post-metal or plain 80’s italo disco but not indie rock. But I was waiting for Blood Red Shoes anyway. Straight across the field and two minutes later the Water Stage appeared.
Blood Red Shoes are one of those bands I have followed since they basically were born. I was hooked already when they released their third single, “A.D.H.D.” in 2006 and the rest is a long love story, especially after Reading Festival 2008 (read our interview with them at Molotow in Hamburg this year). Although they’re very popular in Germany it wasn’t much people in the front pit, but those who were there were of the rowdy kind, and after three songs from their latest album Steve said “We’re gonna play some punk songs from our older abums now” it became even rowdeier. From that point it was mosh pits all the way to the last song (or until people couldn’t breathe anymore because of the dust). For me Blood Red Shoes work out much better in a club but for the first time it works out great outdoors as well. “Animal”, “Doesn’t Matter Much”, “Lost Kids” and the superb and punky “Je Me Perds” were all on the setlist. This was basically all I had to see today but we of course we took the time to watch a few more bands.
After a short detour for a coffee I just had to catch a glimpse of Tocotronic, mostly because a friend of mine is a huge fan and would end our friendship if I didn’t watch the show. Again a band singing in German which means that I don’t get the full context but they have a punk sound and an attitude that caught my interest. The crowd seemed to be a bit uninspired, possibly because most people were quite old and it’s a huge effort to dance in a certain age (I know!), but there were at least a dozen fans just around me (annoying when you want to snap a photo) that went berzerk. Interesting enough to stay the whole second half of the gig (I arrived a bit late) and then run across the field to watch the start of 30 Seconds To Mars.
I really don’t have any realation to the band at all and probably know Jared Leto more as an actor in the Blade Runner sequel rather than his music persona. However, it’s an impressing start with a huge digital screen thrusting out simple words about the obscurities in the world. Brother Shannon Leto is on stage alone when they start (well, there’s a dude on keyoboards hidden behind him) before Jared comes in some sort of a cloak, looking like the love child of someone from Game of Thrones and Jesus (yes, the Bible man). It’s obvious they’re huge in Germany because people go nuts from the beginning and don’t stop until it’s over, and the band do everything to keep it alive. The biggest moment – since I don’t know much about their music I review the atmosphere – is when the throw out huge inflated balls in the crowd; people had fun with those the rest of the show and on my way to the press area this morning I saw several of them in camps around the campsite. For Ms K, although it was big for her just to be picked for the photo pit, I’m sure it was when Jared asked it someone wanted to get up on stage, and I think I say a familiar hand up in the air. Well, she wasn’t picked but had fun anyways.
That was it, the day was over for me already at midnight. I know what you think “It’s festival for god sake, you have to party”. Well, not when you need to be up at seven the next day, and be fresh and plan for a very long day of interviews (and amazing concerts).