Between a homeless guy stealing the show and Linkin Park having morphed into the Backstreet Boys, Pinkpop can only be described as “surprising”. After all, I had decided the line-up sucked before I even left for the festival, and was pleasantly surprised every day by the good music I somehow managed to hear. Here are the highlights of this strange little big Dutch festival (and a bit about my new favorite band):
I finally saw Anouk! Dutch people talk about her all the time. She’s kind of like a Dutch Adele, very strong-voiced and female-power. She was cool, I just wish I knew more of her songs.
I was excited to see Ben Howard but they shoved him into this awful covered stage. It was unbearably hot and crowded in there and the atmosphere was all wrong for tinkly guitar music. The few songs I managed to stay for were fantastic though.
The Cure was… kind of a joke. Too many close-ups of the guy’s old, fat, sad face covered in make-up… it was a bit like watching a retired clown trying really hard to make people laugh. We left early. (Disclaimer: I never listened to The Cure.)
The day started off strong with my new favorites: Babylon Circus. Gogol Bordello, you’ve got competition! These French guys were wearing suits, sang half punky-pumped-up music and half reggae, and put on an amazing show. Probably the highlight of the festival for me.
I also loved Racoon, another Dutch favorite – I was surprised by how many of the songs I knew!
The Kyteman Orchestra & Soundgarden were letdowns. Could have been awesome but I think the atmosphere was all wrong.
Keane was, sadly, kind of a douchebag… he takes himself WAY too seriously for how poppy his music is.
And of course the big show of the day was Linkin Park… man, they sucked. They have a new lead singer who sounds kind of like Justin Timberlake, and sings about as well. His voice is very high-pitched and nasal & they had to transpose their old songs into a higher key so he could sing them. He still couldn’t sing them. Nothing spoils your teenage memories quite like an off-key, off-time version of “Breaking the Habit”. It sounded a bit like he was singing Karaoke. And their new songs are pure pop, with a touch of Eminem. I think he said something about “black beats” at some point. He is not black.
A lot of people showed up to see Gers Pardoel, who is this silly Dutch dude who got famous with a song about a bike. His other songs (he has about 5) went about how he got famous really quickly and what kind of foods he likes to eat. Yeah. It was kind of cute though.
The next act was a runner-up to Babylon Circus in awesomeness: ex-homeless dude Seasick Steve. Apparently he`s been trying to get famous for decades and finally managed it after his retirement. He plays amazing Mississippi blues on makeshift instruments like a stick with one string attached to it.
The Hives were simply too full of themselves for me to take seriously… here is an excerpt from the guy`s stage talk: “I know you all are ecstatic because you`re at fucking Pinkpop and the fucking HIVES are standing in front of you! I know you all want to touch me! Scream if you want to touch me! We want to touch you too! But we will touch you audio-visually”…. yeah. Whatever.
Mumford & Sons were probably the big act of the festival for young people. They were awesome of course.
I was excited to see James Morrison but I lost interest in him when a) after 5 songs he still hadn’t sung one that I knew and b) I saw that he had backup singers that were GIRLS. Like on a cheesy TV show. Girls sashaying in front of microphones and singing “doo doo doo”.
And the greatest most amazing act of the festival was of course Mr. Bruce Springsteen! Just kidding. I listened to one song. He is really not my thing. But apparently an extra 30,000 or so people bought day tickets for Monday just to see him (on top of the 40,000 that were already at the festival to begin with). And I guess he put on a good show – if you like Bruce Springsteen. Which I don’t.
So basically… it was a nice festival. I`m turning Dutch. They describe everything as nice. Appropriately enough, this Pinkpop was supposedly the most gezellig in recent memory, which I can only translate as… nice.