Day 6: Porto Bound
After a long lie in and a day sorting things out in a baking Lisbon (42OC) I escaped to the cooler climate of Porto. Eventually found the hotel, the one way system here in Vila Nova de Guia is bizarre! The hotel was a pretty good Mecure for the price and I managed to check in just before a big coach tour so I was lucky! I headed down to the site. It was about 15 minutes away through an out of town shopping village and this great little road which took you through a small housing estate in a valley that looked like an old typical Portuguese village. The juxtaposition between this and the concert venue, set in an old quarry, was amazing!
I found the VIP entrance and for the next hour joined the “Beautiful People” at the open bar and the buffet. After the queues for everything at the last 5 concerts this was heaven – instant service! Decent toilets, bean bags (I must try and blag one of these at the end of the concert) and white sofas and beds to sit and relax on. Also there was a fantastic early warning system for when the band is about to start – all the press suddenly darted for the exit to be taken to the front of the stage.
The night started with The Sounds, a Swedish indie rock band from Helsingborg, who produced a clean crisp rock sound. I thought they were American due to their accents, but hey! The music was great, rock where you could hear and understand the lyrics and even sing along. High energy from the band helped and for once the heavy base drowning the lyrics preferred by Portuguese sound engineers was banished, to give a great sound. Highlights included “Somrething to Die For” “Tony the Beat” and the finale “Hope your happy now”. Pleasing , high energy pop that set the scene for the evening and got the crowd warmed up. Even the bats flying round the site seemed to like the sound!
If The Sounds produced crisp pop, the australian Wolfmother were the complete opposite , heavy dirty rock which was really not my cup of tea. I listened to a couple of songs and then retreated to the VIP section, where I watched whilst lounging on a beanbag with a drink. Unlike The Sounds there was no differentiation between song types and heavy rock was the order of the whole set.
After noticing the sudden rush of the press to the exit, like hyenas to a kill, I made my way back the main stage to see Franz Ferdinand. Complete with a backdrop portrait of the man himself, the group rocked the stage for the next hour and a half. Starting with the strutting “Do you want to” and then after a whole series of crowd pleasers, the dancey “Take me out” came early in the set. The new song “Right Thoughts” provided an upbeat and melodic interlude, before “This Fire” and “The Dark of the Machine” bought the classic Franz Ferdinand sound back. A high energy “Can’t stop Feeling” followed with the band sampling the “I feel love” baseline and launching into a Franz Ferdinand- esque version of the dance song afterwards was cool. The set finished with “Michael” ending up with all four members of the band playing on the same set of drums. Classic indie rock creating a good first day for this understated festival.
Best Song : “Take me out” followed by Franz Ferdinand`s version of “I Feel Love”
Biggest Gripe: Those hats again and the uphill walk back to the hotel!
Funniest Moment: Watching the lead singer of The Sounds fall over a cable on the stage half way through a song. Mid chorus she ran backwards from the mike stand and next thing she was on her back with her legs in the air! She got up and carried on as if nothing had happened, but the crowd loved it.