Words by: Lindsay Colip | Images by: Steven Walter
Frequency Festival :: 08.20.09 – 08.22.09 :: St. Polten, Austria
Frequency Festival, in St. Polten, Austria (outside Vienna), was JamBase's last stop on our European Festival circuit. For the first time in eight years, the park had been moved from Salzburg to St. Polten and the seven stages had been split into two different parks, the DayPark and NightPark. The DayPark had four stages - The Race Stage (Radiohead, Bloc Party, Kasabian, Jet, Ting Tings, Editors, Subways), The Green Stage (Grace Jones, Little Boots, Enter Shikari, Ska-P), Weekender UK Stage (Airborne Toxic Event, Official Secrets Act, The Black Box Revelation) and the Open Air Stage (bands who won an earlier online contest), while the NightPark had The Electro Floor (Crystal Castles, Eric Prydz, Crystal Method), Urban Art Forms Floor (Carl Cox, MSTRKRFT), and NME Floor (Kele Okereke from Bloc Party, Michael Mac vs. Fake Lashes, Andy Rourke from The Smiths). It was a lineup sure to be insane, bringing thousands of teenagers with raging hormones out from their parent's houses and into the dust.
|Frequency Festival 2009|
Thursday, August 20
It was bloody hot and the only appropriate attire was bikinis and boardies. Unless you came fully clothed, in which case you probably ran through the sprinklers or got hosed off by one of the security guards. The overall scene can be described in four words: teenagers on the loose. The average age was 17, maybe even younger. These kids seemed frantic to smoke, drink and make out as much as humanly possible. Which meant that at 3 p.m. on the first day of the fest people were already passing out and slurring their words. What little variety of beverage and food that existed was pretty expensive, and the venue didn't have any water stands readily available to refill your cup either, so unfortunately you had to keep buying more and more plastic. I also realized how much I appreciated the hand sanitizers that were everywhere at the other festivals but absent here. Toilet paper was also in short supply. So, a hormonally challenged crowd, bad bathrooms (for chicks), blah scenery, no free water and expensive food. My immediate thought was the music better kick ass.
Glasvegas, a Scottish alt-rock band that had previously under-whelmed me at Melt! Festival (JamBase review here), took the Main Stage first. James Allan (lead vocals, guitar) started the day saying, "Austria, I fucking love you already. The girls are incredible and they aren't wearing much!" Supporting Allan was Rab Allan (lead guitar, backing vocals), Paul Donoghue (bass) and Caroline McKay (drums). Besides a Christmas record they put out last year, they've released just one self-titled studio album. So far it has brought them plenty of press and praise, including being nominated for approximately 13 awards and most notably winning the Phillip Hall Radar Award (NME Awards). They've also supported Oasis on tour and are about to play a few dates with U2. So why do I still think this is an incredibly boring band? I simply can't get into their overly dramatic (but not in a fun Editors or White Lies way) and uninspiring sound. Am I missing something?
|Enter Shikari :: Frequency Fest 2009|
From here I went over to the Green Stage to catch Enter Shikari, the opening band on tour with The Prodigy this summer. The crowd seemed extremely amped up way before the guys even came onstage. When they finally ran out, I understood why. This is a high-octane, head banging, post-hardcore screamo band from the U.K. Electronica mixed with hard beats, dirty bass and plenty of screaming. This isn't my scene, however to be fair, they were really entertaining. Roughton "Rou" Reynolds (vocals, electronics), Liam "Rory" Clewlow (guitar, vocals), Chris Batten (bass, vocals) and Rob Rolfe (drums) played their instruments with energy and style, spinning and jumping and beating the crap out of the poor things. They played plenty of songs off of their new album, Common Dread, and I fully understand why The Prodigy would want this in your face, energetic act on the ticket.
Back to the Main Stage, where Jet had just started. This Aussie rock 'n' roll band was at its best again today. The crowd loved their old school rock sound, singing enthusiastically along to favorites "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" and "Cold Hard Bitch." They played several from their new album, Shaka Rock as well, including "She's A Genius" (which is definitely the song to download) and "Beat On Repeat." Frontman Nic Cester was singing/screaming his heart out and his scratchy voice sounded absolutely perfect live. A highlight of the show was when Cester's brother and drummer, Chris Cester, sang a few of the songs from behind his drum set, including "Holiday." The other members rounding out the band were Cameron Muncey (lead guitar) and Mark Wilson (bass). They had to play a very short set, like most of the earliest performers did, so they didn't get to play very many songs off of their new album, but I think the crowd got the idea. If you like rock 'n' roll, you will like this band. Period.
|Kasabian :: Frequency Fest 2009|
"How's everybody doin'? We're The Ting Tings. Pleased to meet ya!" Katie White said as she greeted her audience. The other half of the electro-pop U.K. duo, Jules De Martino, was already out onstage, rocking the keyboard, drums AND guitar, all on one song. These two put on quite an impressive, entertaining show. The wild outfits, the fist pumping/dancing around, the multiple instrument playing and their dynamic stage presence make them a hard act to beat, if you want to dance and sing, that is. They played catchy sing-alongs such as "Great DJ," "Shut Up and Let Me Go" "Fruit Machine" and ended on mega cult hit "That's Not My Name." Although a fantastically entertaining and enthusiastic show, it was the exact same show as Sziget Festival (JamBase review here). If you plan on seeing these guys (and you should) just don't expect to see something different from show to show. Further, good luck NOT getting "That's Not My Name" stuck in your head. Impossible.
Kasabian, an alt-rock band from the U.K., blew the crowd away. Tom Meighan (lead vocals), having just been quarantined in Sydney literally DAYS before because of Swine Flu, put on an impressive show. His other bandmates had been sick as well, but nobody showed signs of being sluggish or tired. Meighan was supported by guitarist/backup vocalist Sergio Pizzorno, bassist Chris Edwards, drummer Ian Matthews, touring guitarist Jay Mehler and touring keyboardist Ben Kealey. They played for almost two hours, including packed arena favorites "Club Foot," "LSF," "Underdog," "Processed Beats" and "Shoot the Runner," as well as newbies off their latest album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, including "Fire" and "Where Did All The Love Go?" Catchy lyrics, good beats, great guitar riffs and a nice blend of rock & roll and electronic, their new album is a definite grab if you like these guys.
Continue reading for Friday's coverage...