A Bit of Pop Music was at Way Out West festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, this week and here are our 11 highlights of an unforgettable weekend.
The Australian producer and DJ Flume was one of the first to play on the main stages, which were located across from each other, at Way Out West. He was also one of the first to make everyone dance their butts off! With hits like ‘Say It’, ‘Never Be Like You’ and his remix of Disclosure’s ‘You and Me’, he delivered a smooth and swinging set!
Anne-Marie is one of the most exciting upcoming artists of the past year. With her Clean Bandit and Sean Paul collaboration ‘Rockabye’ she took the world by storm. On the first night of Stay Out West, the night program of the festival, she performed a lot of new material. Anne-Marie has a powerful voice and a confident stage presence and judging by the reactions to her hits ‘Alarm’ and ‘Ciao Adios’, Sweden loves her!
09. Regina Spektor
American singer-songwriter Regina Spektor was one of the last acts to perform on the main stage on Saturday night. Mostly staying behind her piano, she performed classics like ‘Us’, ‘Fidelity’ and ‘Samson’ while also introducing some material from her latest album Remember Us To Life. Unfortunately she skipped out on playing the more accessible and catchy singles ‘Bleeding Heart’ and ‘Older and Taller’, but Orange Is The New Black soundtrack ‘You’ve Got Time’ partly made up for that. Her voice was as glorious as ever and she even practiced some Swedish!
British singer, songwriter and producer Sampha performed in the tent on Friday night. His performance was one of the most atmospheric and musically intriguing of the festival. The build up from start to finish was well thought out as he made his way through some quiet and touching songs to the more swinging parts (with loads of percussion!) of his repertoire with ‘Blood On Me’ as a more than satisfying climax. What a way to end the Friday night with!
One of Norway’s most promising talents, Sigrid, took to the stage of Stay Out West in the middle of Friday night and she had absolutely no problem with keeping her audience awake. In a cute little red dress she danced around the stage, flirted with her fans and most of all sang her heart out. Her infectious pure pop singles ‘Plot Twist’ and ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ went down exceptionally well with the audience as every single member seemed to sing along loudly. With ‘Fake Friends’ she has another potential international hit ready and on ‘Dynamite’ she shows her voice is strong enough to convincingly pull off a ballad as well! A lot of pop star potential here!
06. Tove Styrke
For Tove Styrke, this show in her home country was her only festival appearance this summer and she clearly enjoyed it to the fullest. In a more than busy tent she performed a lot of material from her all kinds of poptastic 2015 album Kiddo, as well as premiering some brand new songs. Her hit ‘High and Low’ from 2011 still sounds as cool and current today and it was good to hear her Swedish fans know all the words to latest single ‘Say My Name’. She completely owned the stage and showed us once more why she is one of Sweden’s most exciting pop stars.
05. Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean was one of the main headliners of this year’s Way Out West festival, but his performance was definitely not without flaws. Ocean was apparently battling a cold and started over a song no less than three times. The perfectionist he is, he did not want to miss a note. Although his ambitious set started out a bit too slow paced, Ocean and his Orchestra were brilliant at times and moving throughout. The crowd was listening in awe and could finally bust some moves towards the end when the R&B and hiphop multi talent played ‘Nights’, ‘Pyramids’ and ‘Nikes’. His show perhaps wasn’t suited for a festival like this, but it was musically intriguing to say the least!
Danish pop star MØ took to the main stage on Friday afternoon and was lucky enough to make her crowd dance in the sun. She jumped around the stage to her own hits like ‘Final Song’ and ‘Kamikaze’ and of course Major Lazer collaboration ‘Lean On’. This girl has a powerful voice and knows how to deliver an energetic show. No surprise here that she ended her set crowd surfing. Festival visitors who missed her in the afternoon had another chance to catch her live in the evening when she joined Major Lazer for part of their show. The more MØ, the better the festival!
03. Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey was the first act to be announced for Way Out West this year and she had the honour of closing the main stage on Saturday night. She did so in a charming white dress, with a lot of interaction with her adoring fans. Del Rey has become a confident performer who knows how to use her vocal strengths and her effortless little dance moves had her fans screaming their lungs out. Her setlist contained a few tracks from her new album Lust For Life, the biggest hits like ‘Video Games’ and ‘Summertime Sadness’ and some interesting album track choices like the closer ‘Off To The Races’. Del Rey’s performance, the dedication of her fans and the number of people that turned up for her set, showed us she is a true super star these days!
02. London Grammar
If you can hypnotize a large audience in the pouring rain, you know you made it as a festival band. During London Grammar’s set it did not stop raining even once, but it didn’t stop the British trio from putting on an emotional performance. Hannah’s vocals cut right through the soul when performing a beautiful balanced setlist consisting of the highlights of the latest record Truth Is A Beautiful Thing and their impressive debut. Especially the bombastic ‘Hell To The Liars’, the almost a capella ‘Rooting For You’ and cover ‘Nightcall’ sounded absolutely stunning. Such a magical performance!
01. The xx
British indie band The xx gave hands down the most impressive performance on Way Out West. They are touring with their latest record I See You and this album does come alive even more on stage. The chemistry between Romy and Oliver on stage is endearing to watch and their vocals were flawless throughout. Their set perfectly balanced between more upbeat and recent material and the slower tracks from their past and the audience simply loved all of it. Their passion and the way they make you feel every word they sing is exceptional and became all the more apparent during the last song, ‘Angels’. Sublime!
As none of the recordings on YouTube do the performance justice and I was too busy crying during ‘Angels’, here is the version of the song they performed at Coachella this year for you to enjoy…