Posts Tagged ‘ swedish house mafia ’

The Killers Rock Phoenix Park

The Killers in action in the Phoenix Park

The Killers in action in the Phoenix Park

Last year, a series of concerts were held in the Phoenix Park consisting of acts such as Stone Roses, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg and Snow Patrol. As we all now know, the second night which hosted the aforementioned Swedish House Mafia and Snoop Dogg was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. Several audience members suffered stab wounds and were hospitalised before the concert had concluded, others died from drug related incidents. The promoters shirked as much responsibility as possible, but as someone who attended the Saturday and Sunday night gigs last year I can say that the organisation was absolutely horrendous. Nobody was searched in any adequate fashion, I myself was in fact not searched at all. The stewards on site were children with no power to stop the violence, violence everyone but the organisers seemed to know was possible well in advance of the gig. What was more blatant was the difference the next day, when Snow Patrol and Florence + The Machine played to another packed Phoenix Park and no incidents were reported. Thankfully, The Killers last night ran more along these lines and has helped to re-establish the Park’s potential as the summer venue for concerts in Dublin. Continue reading

Tomorrowland 2012 – Romero,Guetta,Fatboy Slim & More Take Over Belgium

Rather than force anyone to wait until the end of this review in order to hear a verdict that will be obvious throughout the summary, I feel it’s better to lay my opinion on Tomorrowland out up front. It was epic. And that really is only the beginning of how to describe it. Epic covers everything though, the sheer scale of the event, the organisation, the acts and even the food! Anyone who has attended any Irish festival, as both myself and my girlfriend Sarah have several times, will just be amazed at the scale of the event. On the second day of proceedings we did two or three laps of the layout itself and were exhausted by it, it really is just never ending. The event comprises of 15 stages, encompassing over 400 acts and runs for three days. Comparisons with any other festival are pointless, not just in our collective opinion but also in that of the visitors from around the world we met whilst there. There simply is nothing like it. Upon entry to the gig you are greeted with what can only be described as Wonderland come to life. Staff members abound dressed in regal and fantasy outfits, props such as massive toadstools and water spurting flowers abound. Before you even come close to a stage the entire set up and representation of the recreation area in Boom is magical. What’s more is you then notice how relaxed the entire place is. There’s security alright, but they’re casually strolling around the venue, not much work around for them to do. Keep in mind that mere weeks before this we had been in attendance at the now infamous Swedish House Mafia concert in Phoenix Park and whilst I was personally adamant that the poor organisation played a major part in what transpired, there is also the case to be answered that everyone in attendance at Tomorrowland, that we saw anyway, was mostly interested in having a good time, nothing more.

First act up on our itinerary was John Digweed on the Carl Cox & Friends stage. Though Digweed himself was slightly disappointing (his set was a little too laid back for a middle of the day slot where some tempo was needed), the stage itself was incredible. Most who have seen videos or images from the gig will firstly note the stage with the sun face including moving eyes and video screens surrounding it, this is the stage in question. It transpired to be one of the coolest spots of the weekend, allowing us to grab some food and a drink, and just check out whoever may be playing at that time. Through the course of the weekend we caught Digweed, Ferry Corsten, Paul Van Dyk and more at this spot and for sound and comfort it was best by far. If I had only one gripe to mention it’s that not enough people ventured this direction during the day which led to unfortunately sparse crowds for the djs performing.

The next stage to pique our interest was the Q-Dance stage. This time around we were treated to Noisecontrollers and it was fun for a fleeting visit, although after a while it started to feel like being back in a teenage disco and we decided it was time to scarper. Still though, another great sign of how much variety is on offer at Tomorrowland.

On we went then to the Samsung Galaxy Secret Forest which was a gazebo placed out on a floating pier and seemed aimed towards anyone who wanted to chill out on the water, have a drink and take in the sun. It was a nice spot for retreat in the sweltering sun of the Friday let me tell you, as Belgium was reaching highs of thirty degrees on the first day of the festival!

Next stop was the main stage where we arrived in time to hear Thomas Gold finish off his set, a nice surprise it has to be said. Main stage it would be for the rest of the night, not including a few detours every so often to check out some other acts, and we were treated to Alleso, Fatboy Slim (who put in the set of the weekend it has to be said, showing all of his many years’ experience with large scale audiences) and Avicii, although the latter  it has to be said did not in any way live up to the hype his recent chart success created, with his set lacking cohesion in the transitions and he generally seemed out of his depth. All in all though as first days went it was a good one, and thankfully the weather was only to get cooler as the weekend went on.

Saturday we kicked things off back on the Carl Cox stage, which was now the Paul Van Dyk & Friends stage, starting our day with Ferry Corsten. He gave a solid set, throwing out the seemingly unwritten rule that the day time sets had to be laid back and chilled, as did Kyau & Albert before him. Both churned out up tempo hard hitting sets that set a good mood for the rest of the day. Hitting the main stage a bit earlier than the previous day then we took in Chuckie and Martin Solveig. Chuckie gave a solid showing, throwing out all the right lines to the masses in front of him, a sight to behold from the hilltop. Solveig capitalised on his set from the previous year with a powerful showing, although it has to be said he did wain slightly mid set, losing the crowd momentarily. Rain intervened and found us moving on so we wandered a bit only to return to main stage for Skrillex. Though we both agreed it wasn’t a set entirely to our tastes, there was no denying that the light show and involvement from the crowd made for an incredible sight around the packed main stage. What we didn’t do was hang around for Swedish House Mafia however, taking their appearance in Phoenix Park as enough for now. Instead we headed over to another of the many off the beaten track stages, Cocoon Heroes to see Sven Vath. It was Sarah’s call as I wasn’t familiar with him, but a call I’m glad she made as once again, the diversity of the event kicked in and from one minute experiencing the hyperactive adrenaline fuelled Skrillex set, we were then chilling out to a vastly different showing. Set under a large big top with a bitchin light show to couple it, Vath was another one of the nice surprises for myself and capped off night two well.

It’s at this point I should mention one issue with Tomorrowland and a word of warning for anyone planning to attend in future years. Unless changes are made soon, transport to and from the venue is a nightmare! Heading in the first two days, we had to endure more than an hour each time on a bus with zero air conditioning in sweltering heat. It is fair enough that Belgium wasn’t prepared for a freak heat wave, but that there wasn’t even open able windows on the buses was unbearable. Travelling back to Antwerp then the buses were very limited and though we tried to leave ahead of the crowd each night, the lack of buses meant we always ended up lost in the swarms trying to board. A small complaint, but an important one after having spent entire days, mostly on our feet, in attendance.

On then to the final night and we were main stage bound for the day. We started off with Nicky Romero, who is now firmly slotting in to my playlists for the time being, followed by Yves V who gave a serious set, mostly prompted by him having to squeeze it into an hour, with no time for lulls. Being a local boy helped too! Afrojack next then and he served as a fantastic warm up for the main event to come, Mr. David Guetta himself. Though it would be somewhat accurate to say that Guetta suffered from slight Avicci syndrome – more hype than proof – it can’t be denied that he drew the biggest crowd to the main stage we saw all weekend, the lower levels literally turning into a mash of people. His massive intro, which then dropped into Titanium, got a massive response and when he appeared on stage, headband camera included, he received a massive reception and it was clear why he is one of the top djs around at the moment. Unfortunately, just as he began to churn out some of his recent cross-over hits such as “Sweat”, the heavens opened. Not wanting to be fair weather fans we survived it as long as we could, but when you’re dressed for a summer festival, there’s only so much can be suffered! We decided it was time to head on, though at our own pace as we took in one or two more acts on the way out, then headed  once again for the rarest of buses. An early end; but a good one to what had been three incredible days of music.

All in all it has to be said that Tomorrowland has to be experienced to be believed. Even with all the waffle above, I couldn’t come anyway close to what we experienced in there. The entire thing is designed to leave you breathless and that’s exactly what it did. Any Irish revellers still lamenting the lack of Oxygen definitely need to look into making the trip to Belgium, though we would suggest camping or staying in Brussels which we found out all too late is actually twice as close to Boom as Antwerp. You live and learn!

Follow the link below for some pictures from the madness!

Florence & Snow Patrol Close Out Phoenix Park

It was a mixed weekend in Phoenix Park for this mini festival MCD threw together. Mixed in publicity, music and reception. But all in all it was three days of fantastic music for every shape and size, and though it was marred by the mindless and senseless acts of a minority, for those like myself who actually had some interest in the music it was a great weekend.

The final day of the Park Fest was a double headliner of Florence + The Machine and Snow Patrol, plus Temper Trap and a late addition in Bressie. First off the mark I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how good a show Temper Trap could put on. They have a great energy on stage coupled with good upbeat tracks and it was a pity that they couldn’t grab the attention of more of the crowd. Their big hit of course, Sweet Disposition, closed their set and injected a good dose of spirit into the muddied and wet crowd.

Ah yes, the mud. Before elaborating any further on the main acts, the condition of the park has to be addressed unfortunately. MCD have many calling for their heads after what seems to have been a total lack of foresight when organising these gigs. Most  of these calls are in relation to the acts of violence that occurred on the Saturday, but the sheer conditions people were forced to inhabit for 6+ hours were absolutely third world. There was speculation after the destruction from the Swedish House Mafia gig that the ground would be lined more adequately but unfortunately all that remained was the bare sparce dressing of the ground with plastic boarding which had sunk by about the midway point. The rest of the uncovered areas were horrendous and based on the odour, none too hygienic. Mud baths these were not. Nobody expects and outdoor gig to be clean and polished, least of all me, but this was worse than even  any Oxygen festival I have attended where it would rain non stop for days at a time. There was simply no effort made by the organisers and no amount of money received by the OPW could be worth the damage the Park has now suffered.

On then to the star turn of the night that was Florence + The Machine. Florence Welch is musical Marmite to many, a lot of people turning away at her outgoing, loving outbursts for her fans when performing live and her slightly wacky persona. Personally, I’ve never had much opinion either way but I have to say that on the day that was in it, given the madness that had come before, it did feel good to be back in that same spot hearing messages of all kinds of lollipops and happiness come from the stage. It’s a weird one, I’m fully confident that I may have found her stage play annoying under different circumstances but on the day, it was great and set a great mood in the crowd. Highlights of her set were the massive reaction from the crowd to the single note drone intro of “Shake It Off” and the closer “No Light, No Light” bringing a massive close to the set, but the Ceremonials-heavy setlist didn’t leave room for her cover of “You’ve Got The Love” which was a personal loss for myself as I had hoped to hear it. No biggie though, still a fantastic performer and a great first half to the show.

Then came an act that, to be honest, I had much higher expectations of. I had not seen Snow Patrol since 2004 at Oxegen and the following summer supporting U2. At that point they were still breaking through and they played with a genuine sincerity at showing how much they appreciated where they were. What worried me was whether or not they still had that too them. While its true though that Gary Lightbody has maybe got a little Bono-esque in his stage persona and the band’s reliability on power ballads wears a little thin, they still do commit themselves to putting on a great live show. The opener of “Eyes Open” was perfectly chosen, being an ideal “we mean business” type of track. Moving on then they treated us to a fantastic, as always, rendition of “Run” and a beautifully subtle version of “Set The Fire To The Third Bar” featuring Maria Doyle Kennedy, a big surprise given how many like myself would have simply assumed Florence Welch was the obvious choice for the track. The highlight of the night though, and contender for highlight of the weekend, was the anthemic “Chasing Cars”. It was a no brainer assumption this would bring the house down, but I could have never imagined how powerful this track becomes live. With just a few seconds of the guitar intro, the entire crowd launched into the verse and Lightbody was no longer needed. It wasn’t until the final chorus that I can remember actually hearing him sing it, and even that was just barely above the crowd. It was a fantastic moment and capped of the weekend fantastically, so much so that the remainder of their set fell slightly flat if I’m being honest. They couldn’t do better than themselves, not a bad complaint I suppose.

Swedish House Mafia Rock Phoenix Park

There was much to talk about after Swedish House Mafia’s gig in Phoenix Park last night, not least of all the persistent rumours of deaths from overdose and the confirmation of nine stabbings. Whilst these are grave concerns and everyone is obviously anxiously awaiting the outcome of the victims and the person in question responsible for the acts, I would rather if I could talk only about the performances for the majority of this review.

Arriving in time to see Snoop Dogg take the stage, the first thing I couldn’t help but notice was how much better the sound was in the park compared to previous gigs I had experienced there. Phoenix Park is not by any means an ideal venue for gigs but it has to be said they’ve got it right from the setup perspective. Snoop took the stage and I have to say, he didn’t mess around. A lot of the faffing about onstage and theatrics that can come with a Snoop set, and indeed came in bucket loads at his Oxygen set in ’06, were missing and he plowed through the hits quite efficiently. Biggest cheer of his time on stage had to have been his David Guetta collaboration “Sweat” which was fantastically received.

Next up was the set many were most eager to see, that of a certain Tinie Tempah. Tempah has slowly but surely been turning himself into the king of modern rap and pop this side of the Atlantic. This was fully evident in how he controlled the crowd for his set, injecting massive energy as he blasted out his hits, “Written In The Stars” as expected being one of the high points and he had the crowd in great form. One odd inclusion, given the presence of SHM on the bill, was Tempah deciding to do his collaboration with them “Miama 2 Ibaza” as part of his own setlist, when saving it for the main slot would have seemed more logical. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I thought it gave the impression that there wasn’t much relation between the acts on the bill, with Tinie seemingly staying separate from SHM given that they didn’t link up to feature this collaboration.

As the sun set it was then time for the headliners to take the stage for their last ever Irish show. Swedish House Mafia have had a good run of the last four years they’ve spent collaborating. It has to be said though that as farewell gigs go, this one was slightly odd given that they were barely together to begin with and it is highly unlikely that at least two of them won’t cross paths again in the future. But that aside, they certainly played as though it was their last show. There was one or two hit and miss tracks thrown in but for the most part they knew just what buttons to press, no pun intended, to get the crowd jumping. When they launched into Faithless track “Insomnia”, the light show and pyrotechnics coupled with the enthusiasm from the crowd really summed up the quality of entertainment on display for the night. Although Tinie Tempah arguably outshone them, Swedish capped of a great night of music that unfortunately doesn’t look likely to be seen here for a while to come.

And so we should discuss briefly the incidents that brewed from last night’s gig. We now have confirmation of nine stabbings and it seems there was indeed one death by overdose, with another two rumored. Ireland has a long standing problem with concerts, particularly those outdoors in the summer, where the main cause of the problem is children for want of a better word. 16 – 20 year olds who are experimenting with drugs, possibly even drinking for the first time, do not know their own limits and overdo things to the extreme. Every country is quite skilled at it, but we seem to excel at it. It looks now as though the stabbings were undertaken by one individual and the question on everybody’s lips is why would someone even want to do it? The question on mine is; how did MCD organise such poor security? When entering the gig I was barely frisked, so much so that I remained standing thinking a more thorough search was coming, only to find that lightly brushing my arms constitutes a search for weapons and narcotics these days. Even if these stabbings were taken out with a device acquired in the venue itself, where was the security? Having been at Oxygen last year and seen how well an event can be organised when promoters try hard enough, I was shocked at the lack of Garda and security presence inside the venue. Sign of the times? A sold out 45,000 crowd would beg to differ.