Busy second day full of electronic pop at Flow Festival
Saturday was the most crowded day at this year’s Flow Festival as it was the only day that completely sold out. No wonder when big names like Pet Shop Boys, Róisín Murphy, Years & Years, Belle & Sebastian and the Finnish band Regina are on the line up.
Regina is an electronic band from Finland, consisting of singer Iisa Pykäri and Mikko Pykäri and Miko Rissanen. They didn’t play any gigs this year, but they made an exception for Flow Festival and turned up at the main stage. They played a nice set of their hits, all upbeat electronic pop with sweet vocals and soaring choruses. If you are not from Finland and have no idea who they are: imagine Hollywood actress Carey Mulligan turning up singing catchy tunes in a completely incomprehensable language. Sounds fun, right?!
Next up at main stage was Belle & Sebastian. The Scottish indie pop band is active since 1996 and although they are not really the kind of act to make big waves in the charts, they have built a huge fan following over the years. At Flow Festival they had a big crowd of people that knew a lot of their tracks. They released their album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance in January of which they played quite a few tracks. ‘The Party Line’ was the one that stood out the most with its upbeat electronic production. This sound does fit them well though! Of course their classics like ‘Sukie in the Graveyard’ were met with enthusiasm of the audience and singer Stuart Murdoch even invited a handful of fans on stage during ‘The Boy with the Arab Stripe’ and ‘Legal Man’. The show ended on a high and Belle & Sebastian prove they still are an inventive band after almost 20 years.
Róisín Murphy immediately grabbed the attention of everyone at main stage when she came up dressed in a long jacket, with a purse and eccentric sun glasses, singing an acoustic cover of ‘Golden Age’ by David Morales. She properly got the crowd going with classic ‘Familiar Feeling’, of the band Moloko of which she formerly was the strong front woman. Nowadays, Murphy writes and records quite inaccesible electronic pop music. She just released the album Hairless Toys and her show is focussed on the tracks of this record. The swinging ‘Evil Eyes’ comes to life even more in a live setting and the hypnotic ‘Exploitation’ with its minimal beats is a pleasure to experience live as well. Other than singing her tunes, Róisín also loves to dress up a little so she brought a diverse collection of masks, hats and other accessories to go with the songs. Although her new music is not that easy to get into and she doesn’t play her hits from her former solo album Overpowered, she manages to keep the main stage crowded with an interesting and entertaining performance. She rewards the fans with Moloko classic ‘Sing It Back’ in the end.
When you run a blog on your own and you visit a festival to write about, you sometimes have to make hard choices which acts to watch and write about. My heart broke a little when I had to decide to go watch Years & Years over Swedish songstress Seinabo Sey. She was nothing short of brilliant at Melt! Festival last month and I am positive she managed to enchant her crowd with her beautiful songs and gorgeous vocals at Flow as well. About Years & Years now! I had the honour of seeing Olly, Mikey and Emre live twice before this year, but their show at Flow Festival was by far the best I have witnessed. They had some technical issues in the two previous shows, which made singer Olly Alexander barely hearable at times, but this time around he managed to be loud and clear all the way through. He still needs some vocal training to keep up for the whole show, but he definitely is very talented and still improving. It was very clear that Finland loves Years & Years as the blue tent was packed to the max and people screamed their lungs out for every song. Their debut album Communion is full of insanely strong pop tracks like ‘Shine’, ‘Take Shelter’, ‘Ties’ and of course the hit single ‘King’. Judging by the enthusiasm of the fans, this band will get bigger and bigger.
It was a special night for the Pet Shop Boys. The British electronic pop duo had hit after hit in the 80s and 90s and over the past three years they regularly played shows at festivals all around the world. Tonight was the last night of this extensive tour and it was their job to close the main stage for day 2 at Flow. They did this with a great combination of their classics and some newer stuff that was perfect material to dance to as well. They brought two dancers, some stage props and an impressive laser show, as if hits like ‘Suburbia’, ‘West End Girls’ and ‘It’s A Sin’ weren’t enough to entertain. It appears the Pet Shop Boys have a few timeless classics to their name as well as the crowd starts screaming for ‘Go West’ before the encore. Luckily they get what they want and Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe get the best choir they could wish for on this last show. Their final track is ‘Vocal’ from their 2013 album Electric and the modern beats and explosive chorus was the perfect closure for Flow Festival day 2!