Heineken Open’er Festival – Gdansk, Poland
Onto Saturday, Day 4, and the final day of the festival. Kings Of Leon were on headliner duty today and they didn’t disappoint the crowd with a collection of hit spanning from all of their previous albums and a few from soon to be released ‘Mechanical Bull’. Taking on from Josh Homme’s crowd love-in, lead singer Caleb Followill also said, “We’re only a few songs in and we can already say this is the best crowd we’ve played to on the entire tour.”, more high praise for the Polish audience, and that was before they went bezerk for sing-a-long favourite ‘Sex On Fire’.
Nas – I couldn’t resist seeing one of my old hiphop icons from my teenage past and was certainly not disappointed. “God’s Son” was performing on the alterklub stage starting towards the end of QOTSA, he drew in a big crowd with a lot of people rapping along with every word to the career spanning set. What made it special for me was, unlike Dizzee, Nasir Jones comes with a live drummer and a DJ, no hype man required which only added to his stage presence and performance.
The National – stepping up to the main stage to replace modest mouse could be seen as a big deal, however Matt Berninger and co stepped into the furore with little worry almost making you forget modest mouse were even booked in the first place.
Devandra Banhard – sharing a stage time with Kings of Leon it was no surprise the tent stage felt a bit more intimate for once. However that only encouraged the crowd that had made it, most of which being young lovers appreciating the eerie tones of Devandra and band, however the crowd were left a little displeased when there wasn’t an encore after some raucous demand.
Silent disco – Maybe it’s because I’ve been to better ones previously, however this was possibly the only element of the festival which turned out to be a bit of a let-down. Despite being in a bunker, the 300 full capacity wasn’t exactly fair. Neither was the closing time, almost immediately after the tent stage headliner the silent disco would come to a close. This being an unusual concept to a late night party goer such as myself, when we did managed to get in one night around half an hour before closing, the 2 DJ’s didn’t seem to be battling for attention but simply just doing their thing. Low lights included some polish reggae vs. a generic deep house track.
Animal Collective closed the Tent Stage, with a pulsating set list and a spectacular light show which even Muse would be envious of, a lot of people seemed to be taking a backseat and just enjoying the atmosphere and show created by the progressive psychedelic group ‘My Girls’ a particular mid set highlight.
Despite the festival due to finish on the Saturday, we were treated to a bonus gig on the Sunday evening, of which what seemed like the whole of Gdansk to Gdynia turned up to see. It was of course Rhianna, who was to be supported by our very own Dizzee Rascal.
Dizzee got the half weary by now camper side of the crowd and the other newly washed and fresh faced rhirhi fan half of the crowd going as he so often does with a greatest hit set featuring ‘Holiday’ and ‘Bonkers’, for which even saw staff members of the various stalls and bars taking their breaks simultaneously to get involved. And then it was time for the main event, Rihanna. And then that time went, and went again. Finally she emerged an hour late, eclipsing the half an hour delay at Denmark’s Rosklide Festival a few days previously. She was greeted to a chorus of boos, drowning out the few cheers from adolescent Polish girls. The crowd quickly forgave her though and sang along to her hits as she gyrated round the stage, miming away in what seemed to be a never ending lap dance.
In summary the weather was great, the people are friendly, the girls were beautiful, and the music was amazing.
However if I never drink another Heineken again, it will be too soon.
Photographs by Tomek Kaminski and Joanna Frota Kurkowska