21 July, 2009


Last weekend, I made the 5-hour trek across Germany to the Melt! festival.
I know, on the grand scale of things, that 5 hours isn't the furthest distance, but me it seemed FAR. But it was well worth the journey to (the former) East Germany.
Now, I'm not a festival pro at all; i've only been to Summer Sonic and I don't think the Yokohama Jug Band Festival counts... But Melt! was held in an extremely cool location (Ferropolis); an old open cast coal mine, with all the huge machines still standing there. What was even cooler was that they had HUGE disco balls hanging off them. It was extremely impressinve at night, with these massive machines towering over everything, with spotlights lighting them up. Very very cool.
On a scale of festivals, Melt! is one of the smaller european ones, with around 20,000 people. Still, that's enough to make a party, but not be too many people. It was a really good atmosphere, and despite the disappointing weather (rain, wind, thunder, lightning, with random periods of sunshine), the partying didn't really stop; although some acts early Saturday morning had to be cancelled because the ground got too wet/flooded.

So, my musical highlights (in alphabetical order) :
Bloc Party. Last time i saw them play was in 2005 when they came to Japan to promote their first album. Was really interesting to see how they've changed over time - a lot more interaction with the audience & a way longer set (well, guess they have 3 albums' worth now...)
Bodi Bill. K introduced me to this German band a while back, and i really like them. Don't know how to describe their music; they play around with genres a bit - start off with soft electronica then veer into techno. Great live performance too.
Bonaparte. It was 3am, and K & me wanted somehwere warm, so we stumbled into the tent, sat down & then Bonaparte erupted. Have no idea how they had so much energy at time in the morning, but wow. Definitely a band i want to find out more about.
Mediengruppe Telekommander. This was a band that K wanted to see but i didn't know. Again, i can't really explain what kind of music they played - sure K will correct me, but the closest i can describe it is as German Beastie Boys. Very very bouncy & K was bouncing for hours afterwards.
Wedding Present. K really dislikes this band, but he humoured me & came and watched them. 'How kind!', I hear you cry. Well, yeah, until he spent the rest of the time slagging them off. Very nearly killed him. Luckily, he saw i has murder in my eyes, and shut up until the gig ended. Was kind of sad though for me. I've liked the Weddoes since the early 90s and at that time they were headliners of festivals. At Melt!, they had a 7.30pm time slot for 30 minutes & there was a really small crowd.

And that's it. Wow. We didn't really see much, did we?
Other highlights included dancing outside at the Techno stage for most of Sarurday afternoon,
smiling a lot,
getting on a bus that didn't take us back to the camping ground but back to the techno stage,
meeting people from all over Europe (OK, well, Germans (of course), loads of Brits, a surprising number of Irish, lots of crazy Dutch people, some Spaniards & a Romanian),
falling asleep to the sound of rain,
waking up and realising we'd missed a huge storm & managed to stay dry,
meeting a group of English girls who were all called Helen,
K meeting a really odd German who was also called Kevin,
pea soup,
smiling even more,
and glitter balls.

The only real downer of the weekend was waiting in line for toilets. Why - wherever you go in the world with a crowd - are there NEVER enough girls' toilets?? Oh, and Metronomy cancelled.

So, a fabulous weekend was had by The German & me.

And, K - thank you! xx

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