Pukkelpop 2014 Day 3

Pukkelpop 2014 Day 3

Pukkelpop 2014. I didn't have the intention to visit this edition despite our list of 10 artists everyone should watch, but thanks to a lucky coincidence at work I received a Saturday ticket. Thank you MIA and web hosting company Nucleus.

At the third day it was clear that the sold out festival had suffered quite a bit from all the rain. The ground was soggy and there was not a single spot of grass to be seen anywhere. My day started with Deaf Havana at the Main Stage, a six-piece alternative rock band from England reminiscent of You Me at Six who are also playing this day. I already saw Deaf Havana a few years ago when they were playing in Antwerp with The Swellers and The Dangerous Summer (RIP). Unfortunately, I did not remember their performance. Even worse, due to the name I was expecting an emo-hardcore band. Fail. Not a lot of people came out early to see them and only a handful really knew the words to the songs. Everyone else was just battling their hangover, I guess.

On to the Club stage for BRNS, a Belgian band that seems to be getting quite popular judging by their Facebook page and their tour schedule. They have already played over 200 shows in the last two years. That's not as good as Frank Turner who played his 1600th show in only 5 years at Pukkelpop last Thursday, but still, for a Belgian band that is a big thing. According to last.fm they bring a mesmerizing experiment in dusk, dance, and the fullness of sound. I found it rather boring, except for one song called "Mexico". That song got everybody dancing. I left the gig with a smile after that song and went to see PUP.


It would have been an empty Shelter if it weren't for the rain that started pouring down just before their gig. It was the third time already that PUP, a punk rock band from Canada, played a show in Belgium this year. I attended their first gig in Ghent a month before their Groezrock performance. A lot has changed in such a short while. They officially released their album, got picked up by bigger labels, and other artists are giving them shout outs (I'm looking at you Dave Hause). I was expecting a lot of singalongs but the crowd was rather quiet. I did notice a lot of foot tapping and some people in the crowd were singing along with the "woohoo's". The set itself was very fast-paced but in my opinion they killed the energetic flow by playing Yukon. Luckily, it was followed by "Reservoir" which was definitely the highlight of their set. This song also started the first (small) mosh pit of the day.


Time for some pop punk in the Shelter. I think it was the only pop punk to be found at the whole festival (shame on you Pukkelpop!). This was the band I wanted to see the most. Neck Deep, from England, have only been a band for nearly two years. They seem to have been living life in the fast lane: they just finished playing the American stint of the Warped Tour and were the support act for a sold out Blink-182 gig in London, while the average age of the band members is only twenty. Nonetheless, those guys don't get cocky. The crowd, which was also very young, seemed to enjoy the gig too. I spotted a lot of people wearing Neck Deep shirts and hoodies. Their set was mostly filled with songs of their debut full-length album. There was a lot of moshing, crowd surfing and there was even a human pyramide! Excellent crowd. Now, if only Pukkelpop would have removed those barriers. For most of the people there it was their first time seeing Neck Deep. For me it was the third time but the first time on Belgian ground, and the first time they brought a girl (maybe it was the Laura Whiteside?) to sing the girl part of A Part Of Me. Beautiful.


Pro tip: like our fan page and keep an eye on our contest page as we already gave away tickets for their last show in Dynamo Eindhoven.


Not a lot of time to rest because You Me At Six' set already started at the Main Stage. I am not familiar with their work, but I do know that they are huge in the UK! A lot of girls in the crowd, which might have had something to do with the good-looking vocalist? During their set, which I have only seen half of, they were very unlucky with the weather. Only the real fans were dancing their asses off, but for the most part the crowd was just being pissed off with the weather. Highlight of this set was "Reckless", when the vocalist asked everyone to take off a piece of clothing (as you can see below).


Pukkelpop made us choose between Dave Hause and Jimmy Eat World. Heart-breaking. I chose to see rock hero Dave Hause in the Shelter. Dave Hause, who also played at Groezrock and Kavka Antwerp last year told us that he, if he could make it work financially, would bring a full band for the festivals so I was kind of expecting the full band festival experience. Unfortunately, he only brought a friend who played guitar and piano and sang backing vocals. His set started really slow. Maybe the crowd wasn't expecting something acoustic? Some people left his set early to see Jimmy Eat World, but I stayed until the end. Lucky me, because he kept his best for last with C'mon Kid and The Shine. Fun fact, just before playing The Shine he invited a fan in the crowd to play his air guitar. Turns out the fan was a crowd pleaser and made us all smile with his moves. This was definitely an addition to his set. Bring him with you to Amsterdam this Wednesday. Dave!


After Dave Hause I rushed back to the Main stage to catch the second half of Jimmy Eat World. A lot of people showed up to see them and the band delivered a great set filled with both old and new songs. Because the band's most well-known albums date from at least ten years ago the crowd was slightly older, which meant that especially the old classics were very well-received. Jimmy Eat World showed why they are still one of the biggest names in the alternative pop/rock world. Great.

I was expecting Jake Bugg to be playing his up-tempo rock and roll but instead he chose to play his newer, slower tunes. He didn't look particularly happy to be playing at Pukkelpop and I lost my interest after only 30 minutes. On to something more powerful: Touché Amoré.

Touché Amoré was definitely more powerful. I knew they played killed at Groezrock and a lot of my friends recommended seeing them. A hardcore band from the United States, what can go wrong? It was definitely loud and you just felt the energy of the fans and the anger they had to let go off. It seemed like they had a lot of frustrations. Maybe the bad weather had something to do with this. It was nice to hear everybody screaming along. Next time I will learn some songs so I can join the party.

Off to the first artist on my list who will not be playing the guitar. Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion came on stage with a small joint after 10 minutes of his musician friends hyping his name. His set was based on covers of other rappers, songs for which he had collaborated with other artists and his own old songs. The songs were never longer than 1.5 minutes. Fun fact: Everybody shouted their lungs out during a cover of "I Love Rock and Roll", but the Pukkelpop rock stages were rather empty most of the time.

Queens Of The Stone Age don't need an introduction since they have played a lot of shows in Belgium in recent years. This time they will play a 1:45 hour set. They started furiously. 1. You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire, 2. No One Knows, 3. First It Giveth... After that the set slowed down to give the crowd a chance to catch their breath. Unfortunately for me they slowed it down too long with their new songs and I became a little bit bored, but just in time there was "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" which gave me back my excitement and made me want to stay until the very end. Josh Homme shouted "go loose or go fuck yourself" just before playing "A Song For The Dead" which was a brilliant song to end their set and made everyone leave with a big big big smile. 


I was tipped to see Bring Me The Horizon because of the superb last album. For some reason I never got to see them although I had a few opportunities. The metalcore band from the UK has been around since 2004 and was awarded "Best British Band" of 2013. They also received a second place in "Best Single Of The Year" by Alternative Press. That has got to mean something, right? The headliner of the Shelter gave it their all and the crowd loved it. Every song seemed to be the crowd's favourite song. We got to see and got to be a part of a wall of death from the stage all the way to the PA, a full floor sit down when the band did not even ask for it, and perhaps a thousand circle pits. Add a spectacular light show to the mix and you've got a brilliant headliner. Well done BMTH.


Buraka Som Sistema 's set ended 10 minutes later after BMTH. With that in mind I took a little sprint to the other side of the festival area. I was just in time to hear Wegue Wegue, which was the anthem to close my festival. Judging by that one song, and all the girls up on stage (that's a thing they always do), it must have been a dance party too.


Despite the weather, the Saturday of Pukkelpop was a nice one. I had a lot of fun with friends and cool (new) music. One suggestion for next year: could you add more pop punk to the bill, pretty please? By the way, there was a plus side to having bad weather: everyone kept their shirt on so no sweaty bodies touched mine. Win. 

P.S. Shame on you, Studio Brussel. The Shelter is a stage too, don't ever take it away from us. It is hard enough already to find the guitar music in the line up.

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